I’ve never read any of the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels so I came to The House of Silk with a fairly open mind as I didn’t have anything to compare Horowitz’s story with. Quite often when someone writes a sequel or addition to a well-loved series, it comes as a disappointment as there is something about the style or the substance that isn’t quite right. I have enjoyed the BBC TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch which has been on of late (Sherlock with and iPhone!) I decided to think of it as an detective story as quite often I’d been put off Sherlock Holmes because I thought it was a bit fuddy or old-fashioned and it was so often on television – ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ was not a phrase that filled me with joy (slight spoiler – Sherlock does not say that at all in The House of Silk – yay). I like Anthony Horowitz as he has written some of good TV series (Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders) and I heard him speak about childhood at a conference once which did cause me to create a mental note to read him one day. I was heartily glad when my book group decided to choose The House of Silk
Dr Watson is staying with Holmes whilst his wife is attending to a sick friend’s son when one morning the pair are called upon by Mr Edmund Carstairs who had had made a very lucrative deal to sell some artwork to a wealthy American collector only to have them destroyed by a gang of Irish robbers en route. Carstairs together with the collector hire a detective to track down and apprehend the Flat Cap Gang as they were known which ended in a bloody battle where one of the gang leaders was killed and the other seemingly having gotten away. It is when Carstairs is back in England, he starts to notice that a man with a flat cap is hanging around outside his house and he fears that the man is one of the gang leaders, O’Sullivan, come to get his revenge. Holmes’ curiosity is piqued and he gets his gang of ‘Irregulars’ into action to track down and find O’Sullivan but on the night that Holmes, Watson and Carstairs go to confront O’Sullivan, it is found the man is already dead and one of the Irregulars runs off muttering something about money to be made from the matter. Carstairs is satisfied the case is closed but Holmes does not share this opinion and delves deeper into the matter which is increasingly implicated with the secretive and dangerous House of Silk.
I won’t go on but I loved it. I’m glad our book group chose it as our February book I may now be tempted to read more Sherlock Holmes.