Audiobook Review: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

23rd January 2012

*I bought and listened to the audiobook through Audible.

Watson begins The House of Silk by explaining why this story is just now coming to light, 100 years after being written: the mystery and the case were much too shocking for late 19th century London. When Edmund Carstairs initially seeks out Sherlock’s help because an Irish gang member, a man in a flat cap is following him, neither Sherlock nor Watson have any idea how deep and ghastly the case will become. Neither man expects one of the Baker Street Irregulars to be brutally killed. Nor do they expect for Sherlock himself to be placed under suspicion for a murder. However, both must use the height of their skills to solve the crime and help clean up the dark alleys of the great city.

I listened to the magnificent Derek Jacobi narrate this book, and he was absolutely perfect. He achieved Watson’s wistfulness for the old days as well as his unwillingness to relate the sordidness of the story he has to relate, even telling the reader right off that he is entrusting the manuscript to be published 100 years after his death.

As the only Holmes authorized by the Doyle estate, Horowitz had big shoes to fill, and, as a Holmes’ fan, I must say he did an impeccable job. The cast of characters – including Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and Mycroft – were all on target, and the mystery itself was complex and enthralling.

However, my absolute favorite parts were the beginning and the ending where Watson reminisces about his days with Holmes. His words were so endearing, and the relationship between this unlikely duo is partly what makes these mysteries so successful. Horowitz understands this in a way I’m not sure many of the other spinoff authors do, and that absolutely made this book for me.

Also, if you haven’t picked up any of Holmes and Watson’s adventures in the past, don’t worry: The House of Silk is a great read for longtime fans or those new to Sherlock.

The game is indeed afoot my friends. Who of you has accepted the challenge?

Other reviews:

Pop Culture Nerd

Linus’s Blanket

Devourer of Books

Book Addict Katie

  • My 9th grader is doing a project on Anthony Horowitz for his English class this year, so we bought him this book for xmas. He just finished reading it, so maybe I’ll give it a read soon. Good to know that you liked it so much

    • When I first read this, I thought you said your nine year old. I was thinking: Wow! What a smart kid. ๐Ÿ™‚

      But yes, it was a great book.

  • Definitely adding this to my reading list!

    • As you should. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a really great read, and I think it did honor to the series.

  • I will definitely add this to my TBR list. Quite an accomplishment – authorized by the Doyle estate. Authors really take a risk when writing something like this!

    • I agree. And he worked on it for about 8 years to make sure he was doing it correctly. Impressive, in my book.

  • Elyse/Pop Culture Nerd

    Thanks for linking to my review, Jenn. This was one of my favorite reads of 2011. Even though I didn’t listen to the audio version, it looks like we agree on pretty much everything about the book!

    • No problem! I loved your review of this book and honestly just wanted to say: Go read what Elyse has to say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Yvette

    I haven’t read this yet, Jenn, though I had heard of it. I wasn’t eager but your review made me want to take a definite look. I love the idea of listening to it too. Maybe my library will have the audio…

    • Yvette – Like that P.D. James book, I’m super nervous about picking up something that adds to an original story line. BUT this was so super well done that I quickly lost all apprehension.

    • I tried to read the latest one but haven’t been able to get into it. BUT – several have said it’s their least favorite so far, so I need to start at the beginning.

  • Anonymous

    Have you read the Laurie R. King Holmes & Russell series? That’s another take-off from Sherlock Holmes that I’ve really enjoyed.