Calling all Sherlock Holmesians (Yes, It’s a Word)

A big THANK YOU to my friend, Han Sum, for reminding me of Anthony Horowitz’s The House of Silk. The book came out on November 1, 2011.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Horowitz, he is the bestselling author of the Alex Rider series. He has been chosen by the Conan Doyle Estate to pen a new, full-length Sherlock Holmes novel.This is the first time that the Conan Doyle Estate has officially approved of an addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon of 56 short stories and 4 novels. It is not a spin-off. It is not an inspired update. It is “the new Sherlock Holmes novel”. 

Keeping the many Holmesian scholars, enthusiasts, and readers in mind, Horowitz has, understandably, much to live up to. I, for one, do not want to raise my hopes too high lest they come crashing down after one read.

So here, I have assembled some excerpts of the preliminary reviews of the novel. I took the liberty of removing what appeared to be spoilers (for myself as much as for you).

From the British national daily newspaper, The Guardian:

“So, all of the elements are there: the data, the data, the data. Nothing of consequence overlooked. And yet can Horowitz, like Holmes, make from these drops of water the possibilities of an Atlantic or a Niagara? Can he astonish us? Can he thrill us? Are there “the rapid deductions, as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis” that we yearn for? Emphatically, yes. The characters are, as Conan Doyle himself would have them, as close to cliché as good writing allows…Dorothy L Sayers understood the rules of the Holmesian game when she remarked that “it must be played as solemnly as a county cricket match at Lord’s: the slightest touch of extravagance or burlesque ruins the atmosphere”. Horowitz plays a perfectly straight bat. This is a no-shit Sherlock.”

Well, this answered my first, and most important, concern: How closely can Horowitz mimic the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Sick of all the profane writings that have sprouted over the years, I cannot accept a writing style that deviates too much from the sacred path. But for now, my fears seem to be at rest.

From the Washington Post:

“Throughout the narrative, Watson and Holmes repeatedly allude to various earlier cases, and readers familiar with the Sherlockian canon will enjoy identifying “The Devil’s Foot,” “The Speckled Band,” “The Final Problem” and several other stories. Try your luck, for instance, in pegging the possible sources for the following articles found in Holmes’s possession when he is arrested by the police: “A pair of pince-nez, a length of string, a signet ring bearing the crest of the Duke of Cassel-Felstein, two cigarette ends wrapped in a page torn from the London Corn Circular, a chemical pipette, several Greek coins and a small beryl”.’”

With these two positive reviews, I’m wondering if there is anything readers didn’t like.

From the online Wall Street Journal:

“Even Anthony Horowitz’s “The House of Silk”—one of the highest-grade Holmes imitations for ages—betrays this weakness. Each of its characters talk just a little too much and reveal just a little more about themselves than the famously laconic originals would have thought plausible or desirable…Even Inspector Lestrade, the bumbling police detective, carries his pique too far…Quite a lot of ersatz Holmes betrays itself in the field of idiom, but Mr. Horowitz turns out to be notably sure-footed. I had my doubts about Watson’s use of a word like “paranoia,” despite its mid-Victorian origins, never mind such 20th-century expressions as “security guard” or the suggestion that one character had “taken to alcohol” when the standard Victorian usage is “took to drink,” but in general the linguistic detail is spot-on.”

Looks like there is much to anticipate. I’ll give my own review once I get my hands on a copy. To the bookstore!

Because it is hard to find reasons for pictures in a book review, I’ll add some pictures of the many actors of the famous detective:

Jeremy Brett (arguably the most dedicated Holmes):

Basil Rathbone:

Peter Cushing:

Benedict Cumberbatch:

Robert Downing Jr.:


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1 Response to Calling all Sherlock Holmesians (Yes, It’s a Word)

  1. asianviolinman says:

    Absolutely exquisite. Time to order!

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