Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Adult Reads: The House of Silk

So as well as reading YA and blogging about YA I also love reading adult crime/thriller/saga books. I thought each Wednesday I would post a review of an adult book I have just read. This will be a weekly feature on the blog and something a little different from all the YA reviews. So the first book I will be reviewing for Adult Reads will be The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.

London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap - a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place.

Almost unwillingly, Holmes and Watson find themselves being drawn ever deeper into an international conspiracy connected to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston, the gaslit streets of London, opium dens and much, much more. And as they dig, they begin to hear the whispered phrase-the House of Silk-a mysterious entity that connects the highest levels of government to the deepest depths of criminality. Holmes begins to fear that he has uncovered a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society. 

I suppose most people know who Sherlock Holmes was and who his creator was, although there have been many short stories published featuring Holmes not one has been authorised from the Conan-Doyle estate until now, until Anthony Horowitz created this story. A novel that only took the author three months to write, an author that is a massive fan of Holmes and has spent most of his life writing stories for crime shows. He is credited with creating and writing for Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders and much more.Yet book fans will probably know him best as the author if the popular Alex Rider series, so yes he was indeed qualified for the job. 

The way in which the book is written is perfect you are transported to Victorian London and you feel familiar with the setting and the style the book is written in, it is very much like reading Conan-Doyle. The characters all seem to be correct, although at one point Watson rambles about poverty and you do feel a modern twist to the character, would a character in Victorian times feel like that, I don't believe they would or atleast not to the extent of what Watson did.

The plot had sub plots and dead ends, which you expect whenever you pick up a book like this, I did enjoy the way there were two crimes that didn't seem to be connected yet were and you don't find out the true details of the crimes until the very end. The book is quite short however at just over 200 pages, yet it is a slow read, the plot moves along at a nice pace, but you want to savor the character and atmosphere for as long as you can.

Holmes and Watson make a great team and throughout the book you see the dedication each character has to each other and how they develop, they story is set when the two won't of known each other that long, although it is hard to place any chronology with the Holmes novels and short stories on a hole. Many have tried, although this story is set shortly after 'The Red Headed League' as there are references to this short story in the novel.

There are a lot of different referances to the original books in this novel and I think it benefits from it, on a hole this book has a lot to offer both those like me who love the whole Holmes world or new fans that want to get into the novels. I would say that this book is a fun, enjoyable read that people should pick up.

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