Book Review: The House of Silk

Hey, lovelies. It’s been awhile! Because lots of you said on Instagram that you would like to see more book reviews, I’m making good on that. This is the first in my new book review series. Basically, whenever I read a good book, I am going to share it with you.

I will always keep spoilers to a minimum and will mark a paragraph that has any spoilers in it. 

That being said, let’s talk about…

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz 

The House of Silk is a Sherlock Holmes novel. The problem with being a Sherlockian is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is no longer, how should I say this? No longer able to produce content. My mom bought me this book because she is a saint.

Whenever I get my hands on a book with Sherlock as a character, I have to read it. It’s the law.

A friend of mine has always recommended Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty to me but I have refused to read it. Why? I have this grudge about justifying wrongdoing and glorifying villains. And that is what I thought Moriarty would be about. However after reading The House of Silk I think I may have been wrong.

I went into this book mostly blind, with no certain expectations. The book more than exceeded in proving itself worthy.

The Story

As I have mentioned, the book is about Sherlock Holmes and his companion, John Watson. It takes place after John married Mary Morstan and vacated Baker Street but before the Reichenbach Falls, where we meet Prof. James Moriarty.

The case Watson chronicles is one that he did not make known to the public. He did not publish the adventure due to the delicacy of the crime and the characters involved.

While the case brought to Holmes and Watson starts out seemingly straightforward (an English aristocrat being menaced by an American criminal) it slowly takes us deeper into a monstrous web of crime.

There are actually two mysteries in this book, connected by an invisible thread. One starts out the book and slowly fades into the background. The second becomes more prominent and takes up most of the investigation. Not much is revealed until the end of the book but there is plenty in the middle to keep the reader hooked.

The story gets everywhere. It seems messy at first, with loose ends and unanswered questions, but this is a red herring. Horowitz and Holmes both know how the mystery will eventually connect. They simply do not let the reader and Watson know much about it.

My Thoughts

I liked the mystery well enough to keep reading. But it wasn’t until page 142 that I really got invested. If you end up reading the book, you’ll know why. 

At said page, the stakes get raised. No longer are we solving a mystery for the sake of it. A certain detective’s life is at stake.

Buddy, if you mess with Sherlock you mess with John Watson and I. You don’t want to mess John Watson and I. We love Holmes too much.

Horowitz writes Holmes & Co. perfectly. Sherlock is not an unfeeling machine but he isn’t a hyper goofball either (I’m looking at you, CBS’s Elementary.) He is a man of the mind, with a manic personality and a heightened sense of justice. 

Watson is of course, the loyal companion. Not an idiot. Not a bumbling fool. But not a genius either. He is a common man with a sense of adventure and a good moral compass. 

Detective Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes both make several appearances in the book as well. And Horowitz got them spot on too. Mycroft, the pompous big brother. Lestrade, the ever long suffering babysitter.

There are several twists in the book that had me yelling “WHAT?!” but they mostly came at the end of the book. It’s not a slow burn or anything but the real good stuff is at the end. Trust me though, it is well worth waiting for.

I will say, this book deals with some heavy topics. But Horowitz goes about it in the way he should: delicately. Guys, if you ever have to write in some dark stuff into your work, this is how you should do it.

Let’s face reality; the world is full of monsters and perversions. And sometimes those realities make their way into stories. I’ve read books and seen movies who incorporate these dark sides of humanity but do one of two things. Either they make light of it and make it seem okay or they are too blunt and unfeeling about it. Neither are okay. 

SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers

Horowitz never names the issues outright. He knows the reader is smart enough to figure out what is happening in the House of Silk. He isn’t graphic and doesn’t use any inappropriate lingo. Holmes unveils the House of Silk for what it is… “a house of ill repute.” He makes it known what certain men of power are doing to the street children of London. Holmes makes it clear he finds these crimes horrendous but he does not draw it out or speak about it more than is necessary. This type of crime is not for entertainment. It is serious and should be treated as such.

The Long and Short of It

Great book. Amazing. I couldn’t predict all of it, many reveals took me by surprise. The book is tactful, clever, and mysterious. 

Despite my past judgements on the book, Moriarty will soon be in my TBR. I trust Horowitz with Conan’s characters and I can’t wait to read more. I do not believe he is justifying Moriarty, more like…showing the man behind the monster.

Would love to see Horowitz write more Holmes novels!

Have you read this book? Or are you planning to read it now? Would love to know your thoughts!

Published by

Scarlett Mc.

Writer, artist, designer, and bibliophile. Works part time at an antique store, part time at her own business, Books of Art. Currently working on her first novel.

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