Sunday, April 15, 2012

Page 54: The House of Silk

Sherlock Holmes is back and as good as ever.  The Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. has authorized Anthony Horowitz to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel.  The House of Silk returns the reader to Victorian London with all of its wealth, poverty, and crime.  Sherlock and Dr. Watson are back, and as brilliant as ever.

Watson is writing this as his last Sherlock Holmes story while living in an assisted care facility after World War I.  Holmes has died and Watson misses him terribly.  The story he writes is of such a sensitive nature that he has given orders that it not be published until long after his death.  He wants it published in a future age that will be able to deal with the depraved nature of the events that reached into the highest levels of English society and government.  I guess the second decade of the twenty-first century may be seen as a most fitting time for the publication.

The setting is London in the winter of 1890.  The weather is cold, foggy, and filled with the smells of Victorian London--smoke, soot, horse manure, garbage, unwashed bodies, and good old dirt.  I dare say if you picked up this book and the author was listed as Conan Doyle you would not be able to tell the difference unless you were a die hard Sherlock Holmes fan.  The story is that good. Holmes is in his intellectual prime as a detective and amazes everyone with his deductive ability based on clues he easily sees, but others do not.

Watson refers to both the adventures of The Man in the Flat Cap and The House of Silk in this story.  In the Preface to the book he writes: "They (sic) were, in some respects, the most sensational of Sherlock Holmes's career but at the time it was impossible for me to tell them, for reasons that will become abundantly clear."  After you read this you will know what he means.

The book has all the hallmarks of a Sherlock Holmes story as well as the characters.  There is, of course, Holmes and Watson, 221 B Baker Street, Inspector Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson.  Watson even recounts how he met Sherlock Holmes by chance through a mutual acquaintance.

This book is very good!  If you like the Sherlock Holmes novels of Conan Doyle you must read this one.  Once again "The game's afoot."

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