Thursday, November 1, 2012

The New Sherlock Holmes Novel - The House Of Silk

Well, to begin the post let me tell you that this is the first time that I will be reviewing a book. I have reviewed many cricket matches and teams/players but this is well and truly a first for me, so please bear with me.

I came across 'The New Sherlock Holmes Novel - The House Of Silk' while I was just lumbering around in a book store recently. Though I would have never given the book a second glance as it is my belief that no one could re-create the magic and aura of a best selling novel other then the original author itself but the impressive cover made me pick up the book. It has a black background with little droplets of blood, scattered along and near the spine of the book. The second thing that caught my eye was that this book has been given the backing of Conan Doyle Estate, certainly a first!!!


Reading the outer back cover further drew me in.

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.

... From the Outer Back Cover

And I was out of the book store with the book in tow a few minutes later!!

Anthony Horowitz encountered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work at 16 and he has been inspired by the great man and his extraordinary writing skills since then. Horowitz himself is the BAFTA award winning creator of Foyle’s War and also the author of the bestselling children’s series, Alex Rider.

The book begins with Dr Watson reflecting upon the circumstances in which he and Holmes were united at 221B Baker Street. He is reminiscing about the good old days and is penning this down after the death of Holmes as this adventure is too volatile to go to print and must be opened only after a 100 years have passed by.

The writer does an excellent job in his depiction of Watson and Holmes and their chemistry is as sizzling as ever. The descriptions of the 18th century London are done exquisitely well and once you get into the novel you can imagine how the city must have looked in the 1800's what with gas-lamps and hansoms.

The story is fast paced and keeps you involved and interested and intrigued as the events flit by and the genius of Holmes is brought to the fore regularly. Many of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories are referenced to at regular intervals and all the major characters are brought back to life in the most subtle manner.

The continuing cold weather and the well tended lawn had together created a perfect canvas on which all the comings and goings of the preceding twenty-four hours had been, in effect, frozen. 'There, if I am not mistaken, goes the thorough and efficient Lestrade.' There were foot-prints all around but Holmes had pointed to one set in particular.

'You cannot possibly know they are his.'

'No? The length of the stride would suggest a man of about five foot six inches in height, the same as Lestrade. He was wearing square-toed boots, such as I have often seen on Lestrade's feet. But the most damning evidence is that they are heading in quite the wrong direction, missing everything of importance - and who else could that be but Lestrade?'

The Irregulars or the Unofficial Police Force, the street urchins, are also described in a most heart rending manner and they play an ever important role in this case. I especially loved the fact that their lives are described in detail and the circumstances in which they live and work are shown.

Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.

The story itself is much more darker in nature and the plot is incredibly sinister then anything that we have encountered so far in any of the original works. Humor is still, efficiently infused at many places!! The fact that the book kept me gripped till the very end and the fact that I kept hoping that book never ends is a testimony to the fact that I absolutely loved reading it.

It is a Pastiche done with a lot of Panache. All in all this book does full justice to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is a must read for any Sherlockian!!!

The Game's Afoot...

PS - My Friend Leo, after reading this review ordered the book and has reviewed it here. Do visit his blog.


C Suresh said...

Good work! More so for a maiden attempt. Looks like a great read

T F Carthick said...

You do a good job at reviews, DS. You should do more of them. The book sounds interesting. I like doing these too - Back story derived from another work.

DS said...


Thanks for your encouraging words. Will try to review more book from now on!!

Anunoy Samanta said...

Hi DS, come on dude it can't be your first book review ;-)
Now I'll lok for it online... and then bookstore... I think it'll be a perfect read during the end of December :-)

asteria's canvass said...

thats something new (apart from cricket)
I have been reading sherlock holmes for ages now,and I guess ill have to read this as well after reading your review.

DS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DS said...

@ Anunoy, Asteria

Do go ahead and grab the book! Its a fantastic read, you wont be disappointed at all.

Vinay Leo R. said...

Like the book so far, but its gone back in my reading list because of author review requests. :( I hope to complete it by the New Year atleast.

ra said...

man .. this is a new 1 .. and i haven't read the previous 1 as well .. :-(

Unknown said...

Now, I too will have to buy this book!