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The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel (Sherlock Holmes Novel 1) [Hardcover]

Anthony Horowitz
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2011 Sherlock Holmes Novel 1
THE GAME'S AFOOT...It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks. Intrigued by the man's tale, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston. As the pair delve deeper into the case, they stumble across a whispered phrase 'the House of Silk': a mysterious entity and foe more deadly than any Holmes has encountered, and a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society itself...With devilish plotting and excellent characterisation, bestselling author Anthony Horowitz delivers a first-rate Sherlock Holmes mystery for a modern readership whilst remaining utterly true to the spirit of the original Conan Doyle books. Sherlock Holmes is back with all the nuance, pace and powers of deduction that make him the world's greatest and most celebrated detective.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (1 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409133826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409133827
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Horowitz is the creator of the phenomenal Alex Rider books and the bestselling Power of Five series. He won the 2006 British Book Awards Red House Children's Book of the Year for Ark Angel and the 2003 Red House Children's Book of the Year Award for Skeleton Key. Anthony, who wrote the script for the Alex Rider movie Stormbreaker, also writes extensively for TV, with credits including Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War. He lives in Clerkenwell, London.

Product Description


Horowitz has captured Holmes Heaven (Marcel Berlins THE TIMES)

Horowitz plays a perfectly straight bat. This is a no-shit Sherlock (Ian Sansom THE GUARDIAN)

For fans of the original tales, the game is afoot once more! (Ruth Hunter, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER)

A lifelong Sherlock Holmes fan, Anthony Horowitz is the perfect choice to pen the first new official mystery and what a triumph it is. While retaining faithfully the style of the originals, Horowitz's lively prose makes this exciting story just right for a new generation of fans (Sarah Clarke, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER)

Orion has pulled a winner out of the bag by inviting Anthony Horowitz to pen a Sherlock Holmes novel. It has the feel of a Conan Doyle tale and only the jealous will fault this superb thriller (Patrick Neale, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER)

Bravo, then, Mr Horowitz. Let us hope that the famous dispatch box contains many more cases for him to unearth (Mark Gatiss FINANCIAL TIMES)

a brilliant new Sherlock Holmes novel. The tone of voice is pitch perfect, the send of place and time spot on. I don't want to give too much away about the plot but there are clever twist and plenty of trademark Holmesian moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this (Sue Scholes, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER)

a fantastic new Holmes mystery (Emma Giacon, Bookseller's Choice THE BOOKSELLER)

As far as I can see, Anthony Horowitz has done a thoroughly professional job and reading the novel felt to me like being in the company of an old and distinguished friend - or should that be two old friends?' (Mike Ripley SHOTS)

Brimming with informed enthusiasm, this skillfully crafted homage to Conan Doyle is so enjoyable that you're sorry when it fades away to the strains of Holmes playing his Stradivarius (Peter Kemp SUNDAY TIMES)

an exciting, well-crafted novel (Andrew Lycett SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Horowitz infuses the novel with a superb eye for the detail of Victorian London but also a touching sense of melancholy, the book functioning as a subtle final coda to Holmes's adventures. Crucially, it also has a cracking plot and is a labyrinthine but eminently lucid page-turner. It is ultimately a homage and you wouldn't want Horowitz to start churning Holmes novels out but as a stand-alone this is very satisfying (METRO)

It's immediately clear how he got the full endorsement of the Conan Doyle estate. Horowitz's grasp of the creator's prose style and intricate plotting, coupled with his understanding of the dynamic between Holmes and Watson, is extraordinary (Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR - 4-star review)

Looks set to entertain Holmes traditionalists and Sherlock newcomers alike. November 1890 is the time, 221B Baker Street the place, and Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson receive an unannounced visit from an agitated gentleman. Let the fun - and there is plenty of it - begin (SPORT)

Giving none of the twists away, this is one for Holmesians who aren't sated by the new film and series (WE LOVE THIS BOOK)

Sherlock Holmes has popped his clogs (and so has Conan Doyle for that matter), but that doesn't mean there's not a hauntingly good new Sherlocky story to be told. This reworking gives old Dr Watson a chance to tell his side. Finally! (THE SUN)

a fresh take on the Sherlock Holmes tales, swirling with all the suspense of the originals (Must Read SUNDAY TIMES)

compulsive Conan Doyle tribute (WOMAN & HOME)

Yet another Sherlock Holmes imitiation? The field is crowded but with one bound Horowitz - well known for his children's books and TV scripts - takes the lead, with his perfect mimicry of Conan Doyle's style and Dr Watson's tone of voice. There is a suitably baffling mystery and the great detective is on top form. It's very good; dare I say as good as the original? (Jessica Mann LITERARY REVIEW)

this deliciously aromatic three-pipe problem (Christopher Bray DAILY EXPRESS)

The story speeds along like a hard-driven phaeton (David Robinson THE SCOTSMAN)

Derek Jacobi reads Dr Watson's last story, said to have been hidden in the vaults of a London solicitor for a century because of the scandal within. Horowitz takes Holmes deeper into the capital's dark underbelly than Conan Doyle ever did (Radio Choices THE TIMES)

It'll keep you guessing until the very end (SHORTLIST)

It's a pacy read that delights in the world Arthur Conan Doyle created while adding a little something extra (WORD)

Horowitz stays true not only to the Victorian turn of phrase, but embeds the story within the context of Conan Doyle's other tales - offering up plenty of knowing nods to Holmes aficionados, while luring in the novices too (PSYCHOLOGIES)

Impressive (Susan Jeffreys' Radio Week DAILY MAIL)

Sherlock Holmes if framed for murder by a dastardly secret society in Horowitz's inventive yarn, the first sequel ever to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate (Jake Kerridge DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Perfectly paced, entirely unpredictable, edge-of-seat exciting and a total joy from start to finish. The more of it I read, the more I looked forward to basking in Holmes's deductive brilliance at the end: the solutions that are obvious once you know them but completely unguessable until you do. I am happy to report that all the required ingredients had been added; neither Holmes nor Horowitz let me down (Sophie Hannah SUNDAY EXPRESS)

It seems improbable, if not impossible, but it's true! Holmes is back at his best (THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

'Fans of Sherlock Holmes rejoice, for the game is afoot again' 5-stars (Daneet Steffens TIME OUT)

a thoroughly first-rate job (Nicholas Lezard THE SPECTATOR 2011-11-17)

He has added a truly diverting entry to the canon. (Barry Forshaw THE INDEPENDENT 2011-11-16)

It's a brilliant pastiche, with a wonderful sense of time and place (Christie Hickman SUNDAY EXPRESS 2011-11-27)

The period detail is poured on like gravy and there are enough nods to previous cases to fill the most demanding Holmesian with delight (Mark Sanderson EVENING STANDARD 2011-11-24)

Were Conan Doyle still alive, I think he would be very grateful that Anthony Horowitz has so successfully recreated the detective he tried so hard to shake off towards the end. This is the first Sherlock Holmes novel that has been written with the full endorsement of the Doyle estate and they have evidently chosen the right man for the job (Carla McKay DAILY MAIL 2011-11-25)

Enthusiastically replicating the spirit, style, suspense and atmosphere of Conan Doyles' stories, this skilfully crafted homage is an irresistible read (SUNDAY TIMES Christmas Books 2011-11-27)

But this review is no murder mystery, so I needn't keep you in suspense as to the end result, the final summation, any longer: with no further ado, then - none at all, no sir - The House of Silk is, in short...terrific (Niall Alexander TOR.COM 2011-11-23)

This is a brilliant novel, made all the more welcome by the fact that Horowitz has stepped into the shoes of an acclaimed and beloved author and has taken time and effort to ensure this novel can stand proud next to the works of Conan Doyle (Madeleine Marsh REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE.COM)

A definite success (BIG ISSUE 2011-11-21)

Anthony Horowitz takes the mantle from Arthur Conan Doyle with grace. The tone is appropriate, without sounding too Victorian. Let's hope Mr Horowitz brings to light other unknown cases solved by Holmes (aided by Dr Watson, of course). (CRIME TIME 2011-12-05)

As teenagers really enjoy the original Holmes stories, I think they'll go for this too. Ingeniously, it adds an element missing in Conan Doyle: social comment' (Charlie Higson MAIL ON SUNDAY 2011-12-11)

This is an excellent and highly recommended addition to the Holmes cannon (THE WORD 2012-01-01)

Sherlock Holmes fans have been well served by Anthony Horowitz's new adventure, The House of Silk, in which Holmes sets down an early case too shocking to be published in his lifetime (Justine Jordan THE GUARDIAN 2011-12-03)

Horowitz, commissioned by the Conan Doyle estate, provides pitch-perfect atmosphere in a novel that's both a tribute to Holmes' creator and a grace note, with a politically damning conundrum at its heart (Christopher Fowler FINANCIAL TIMES 2011-12-03)

Within seconds of being invited by the Conan Doyle estate to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. Anthony Horowitz was off the starting-blocks, piecing together a plot as involved and involving as the best of the originals. (Maggie Fergusson INTELLIGENT LIFE 2012-01-01)

Anthony Horowitz's new Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk is superb - indeed, I would say it is better than any of Conan Doyle's own Holmes novels, which always feel padded out in comparison with the gripping short stories. (Charles Spencer DAILY TELEGRAPH 2011-12-19)

As to whether he should write another; well, the man with the pipe would nod approvingly. (RTE GUIDE 2011-12-10)

I really, really enjoyed The House of Silk, it drew me in. I loved spending time with Holmes and Watson again and was gripped and tricked along the way. I just loved the adventure of it all. It doesn't try to take Holmes anywhere new that the loyal fans will be unhappy with, nor does it become a pastiche of a Holmes novel. I knew it wasn't Conan Doyle but I knew I was in safe hands. (SAVIDGE READS 2011-11-18)

As you'd expect from the creator of Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders, the narrative is exciting and the mystery baffling. Actually, that should be 'mysteries'. Mr Horowitz presents us with one puzzle, then introduces a quite different one, and cleverly leads us through the labyrinth until, with a flourish of his magician's staff, he reveals the devilish connection between them. (THE DISTRICT MESSENGER Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London 2011-11-24)

Another adult novel suitable for this cohort is Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk. A Sherlock Holmes tale, narrated by Watson but considered too shocking for publication in the good doctor's own time, it is a tight atmospheric thriller of dismal foggy London. (IRISH INDEPENDENT 2011-12-11)

I approached this novel with some trepidation. This new adventure, approved by the Conan Doyle estate, seems to have stemmed from the same idea that led to Jeffrey Deaver's James Bond reinvention Carte Blanche, a novel so diabolically dull that it seemed to suck all the joy out of me like some kind of papery black hole - of antijoy. If such things exist. Does The House of Silk disappoint? It does not, not for one page. (THE DIOGENES CLUB 2011-12-19)

In his acknowledgements Horowitz says writing the books was a "joy" and hopes he's done justice to Conan Doyle's creation. He certainly has. (Emma Lee Potter DAILY EXPRESS 2011-12-23)

It's all very satisfying for a Holmes fan, not least because Horowitz captures Conan Doyle's style perfectly, right down to Watson's habit of referring to his friend by his full name when singing his praises. (Anna Carey IRISH TIMES 2011-12-24)

With such a daunting legacy to live up to, surely only a very bold person would take on the first "official" Sherlock Holmes novel since the author's death in 1930. Fortunately, Anthony Horowitz is that person and The House of Silk is a worthy addition to the canon. (Toby Lichtig TIME LITERARY SUPPLEMENT 2012-01-06)

Brilliantly capturing the spirit and tone of Doyle's original stories while devising a new ystery for modern readers is no mean feat, but Horowitz has risen to the challenge with absolute aplomb (GOOD BOOK GUIDE 2012-01-01)

Anthony Horowitz has paid homage to Doyle's creation in the best way possible, by writing a mystery true to Holmes. Reading his book was an absolute delight. Rating: A+ (DEADLY PLEASURES)

Here is a real treat for all fans of Sherlock Holmes: a new Holmes novel by skilled writer Anthony Horowitz (IRISH CATHOLIC 2011-12-15)

The writing flows like an original Sherlock Holmes tale, and the logic and analysis reflect the virtuosity and great mind of the singular detective. Too often attempts to recreate classics fail or end up being something else. Such is not the case with this novel, and it is recommended. (Theodore Feit CRIMESPREE 2012-03-01)

It has everything a Holmes novel should - humour, intrigue and a mind-boggling reveal that is so wonderfully intricate, you feel both awe-inspired and frustrated for missing the clues (HAMPSHIRE SOCIETY MAGAZINE 2012-01-01)

The writer is in cracking form with this welcome tribute to Holmes (CLASSROOM (NATE))

Book Description

The first official new Sherlock Holmes mystery, written by global bestseller Anthony Horowitz.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
165 of 176 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The authentic Watsonian voice... 4 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Of all the Holmes pastiches I have read (and there have been many), Horowitz has, I believe, achieved the most authentic Watsonian voice. For most of the time, it is possible to believe the book was written by Conan Doyle, the master storyteller, himself. All the regular characters are there - Inspector Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, brother Mycroft - and as a Holmes fanatic, I wasn't conscious of any of those jarring inconsistencies that mar many a Holmes tribute. The plot is complex and well written, and we see Holmes both as the calculating thinker and as the man of action. The Holmes/Watson relationship is very faithfully portrayed.

However, I felt that sometimes Horowitz allowed the tone to stray quite far from the originals. For example, Watson's concern for the contrast of rich and poor, his reflections on the street urchins, smacked more of Dickens than Conan Doyle. Suddenly the Baker Street Irregulars are no longer the cheeky, street-smart gang of old; now they are to be pitied for their poverty and the harshness of their lives. All true, of course, but not in keeping with the originals. I also felt that the main strand of the plot was well outside the bounds that Conan Doyle would have set and as a result in the latter stages it got more difficult to forget that this was not the genuine article.

In the Kindle version, there is included a very interesting essay by Horowitz where he describes how he came to write the book and lays out the ten rules he set himself, before beginning to write, to try to ensure an authentic flavour. He admits that he broke one or two of the rules along the way and I feel that was a pity - had he managed to stay within them I believe the end result would have been as close to perfect as any homage could be.
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90 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great expectations 22 Nov 2011
The marketing spiel for this book claims that it is 'the first new Sherlock Holmes novel to be published with the endorsement of the Conan Doyle estate'. I'd have thought that that honour would have gone to the collection published by Adrian Conan Doyle in the 1950s, but that's by the by. The novel has garnered a truly impressive list of five star reviews, but though I enjoyed it, I feel unable to wholeheartedly second their appreciation.

For one thing, much has been made of the authenticity, the fidelity of this book to the original canon. I should say that it deviates quite drastically in two distinct ways, one consciously, and the other less so. The first thing that grates is the twenty-first century sensibility; this is both a novel with a social conscience and a very contemporary subject matter. The grisly minutiae of the modern crime novel sits uneasily in a Holmes story, as do his new-found progressive sensibilities. Each generation remakes Holmes anew, and I have no problem with that -- in fact I enjoy it. But I do think that if you make great play of inheriting the mantle of Conan Doyle, you must play by his rules, and not your own.

My second point is less overt: I disagree with most critics about the sensitivity with which this Holmes has been drawn. One of the great pleasures for me in the original stories was the capriciousness of Holmes' character. It's one of the most delicious ironies in literature that the supposed 'thinking machine' is anything but: he's a petulant, vainglorious monomaniac, with little time for anyone or anything save himself.

This is the side to Holmes that I found sorely missing in this book. The showy deductions were there, the scenery was all in place, but where was the arrogance?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh... 3 Dec 2012
By M Arif
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With the story, I have a couple of issues. I solved a major clue at the beginning as soon as it appeared. One of the great delights of reading Holmes is seeing his deductive power in action. Even when he is puzzled, you can count on him having worked out more than anyone else. For the reader to be ahead of the detective is surely a fundamental flaw. I also thought the final revelation was not only obvious (did anyone seriously not know what was coming halfway through?) but sensationalist which was disappointing.

The style and the language were quite well mimicked although some modern sensibilities did leak in. The observations on poverty etc. were out of place as was Holmes' internal reflection and guilt - like Watson was apologising for not being conscious of these things before. It was unnecessary and only served to remind you that this isn't a 'real' Holmes story.

I also picked up on some grammatical errors like the use of 'infer' as opposed to 'allude'; something that Doyle never got wrong.

Despite all of that, I can't deny that this was a page turner and whatever my thoughts on its success or failure specifically as a Sherlock Holmes novel, I got through it pretty fast. As entertainment, it did the job; as an addition to the original set, it missed the mark for me and I imagine it will for any hardcore fans.

When I read this a while ago, I got the impression it was set up as a one-off but I notice the title now includes 'Novel 1' which presumably means Horowitz will be writing more. It won't be at the top of my reading list...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, better-than-average Holmes pastiche
As with my Holmes pastiches, The House of Silk is presented as having been written by Dr Watson in old age (and subsequently consigned, as these things are, to his tin dispatch box... Read more
Published 3 days ago by N. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock lives again!!!
Just read Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk (a new Sherlock Holmes novel).
As a true original Sherlock / Doyle fan, I had my doubts it would be a success. Read more
Published 15 days ago by MissyH
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Club Book!
I have never been a fan of Sherlock but this was chosen as a read for the book club I belong to. It was a very well written book, very descriptive with lots of twists and turns in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by HM Patterson
3.0 out of 5 stars Holmes he ain't!
A Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Horowitz tries hard but doesn't quite in my opinion pull it off. Well written but lacking the Holmesian touch
Published 1 month ago by Michael Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars The first CSI is back
Wow, Mr Horrowitz has out done himself this time!! Being a fan of Anthony I thought id give it a try, glad I did. Brilliant! Read more
Published 1 month ago by P Molesbury
4.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock Holmes
Daughter devoured this book. Since my daughter is not here I cannot ask her what she thought but she loved the book.
Published 2 months ago by celia adams
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
I bought this to read with my book group and finished it in almost one sitting (though will probably re-read before the group meets!). Read more
Published 2 months ago by MSR
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB...
Anthony Horowitz succeeds where others have failed and writes a lengthy novel featuring the one and only Sherlock Holmes as tld by Dr Watson. Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. Hay
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Throughout this book I could the voices of Jeremy Brett as Holmes and Watson and was captivated with how the author had managed to achieve this authentic feel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by terri the cook
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good style
I loved the style of writing here - just as though Conan Doyle was writing it! That is just as important to me as the story itself. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Judy A
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