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The House of Silk cover art

The House of Silk

By: Anthony Horowitz
Narrated by: Sir Derek Jacobi
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Summary

Shortlisted for: Crime & Thriller of the Year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

THE GAME'S AFOOT...

It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks. Intrigued by the man's tale, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston. As the pair delve deeper into the case, they stumble across a whispered phrase 'the House of Silk': a mysterious entity and foe more deadly than any Holmes has encountered, and a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society itself. With devilish plotting and excellent characterisation, bestselling author Anthony Horowitz delivers a first-rate Sherlock Holmes mystery for a modern readership whilst remaining utterly true to the spirit of the original Conan Doyle books. Sherlock Holmes is back with all the nuance, pace and powers of deduction that make him the world's greatest and most celebrated detective.

©2011 Anthony Horowitz (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

What listeners say about The House of Silk

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Well read but...

I have loved all the Sherlock Holmes stories since I was a child and so was interested to see what this author had made of it. The story consists of three threads which start promisingly but soon become rather sensationalist. It reminded me a lot of how ITV have treated recent Poirot and Marple televisations - by adding in sex. You can see the revelations coming a mile off and all I could think as I listened was "Really? You're going 'there' with this?". If the author had created a new character and written this story it would have been fine. Instead we get a story which will make a lovely Hollywood film giving Robert Downey Junior a chance to show his acting repertoire as Holmes cycles through the full range of emotions.

Having said that - once you give up the idea that this is supposed to be "remaining utterly true to the spirit of the original Conan Doyle books" as the blurb describes it, this is actually an entertaining story and Derek Jacobi reads it very well. But if you are looking for something more in keeping with the original I would look at Donald Thomas. His audiobooks are also well read and although he does get tied up in descriptions sometimes, the stories are interesting without being attention seeking.

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65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I think Conan Doyle would approve

I was wary of buying this book as I feared that the author couldn't match Conan Doyle's inventiveness of plot. However, I was wrong: it's an excellent, intricate and satisfyingly complicated story that kept me gripped and eager to find out what happened next. Those of you who have read/listened to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books will take pleasure in the allusions to characters from the original series that are grafted into this homage to a master of detective fiction. The pleasure of this audio version is greatly enhanced by Derek Jacobi's lively narration and ability to mimic many different accents.

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51 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • 25-02-12

a ripping yarn

Very entertaining and beguiling, Watson's tone convincingly adopted and the relationship between him and Holmes one of the most enjoyable parts of the book. There are two mysteries, one leading into the other: one is nicely erudite and typical, the other quite gothic and brilliantly unnerving - you almost believe it probably did happen (without giving too much away). Sometimes Watson is infuriatingly dim and Holmes so brilliant, no wonder he has to keep going off to prison/hiding etc otherwise the mystery would be solved in ten pages - then again, Watson is incredibly courageous and I love his pondorous, reassuringly correct and deliberate style. Some of the plot developments were heavy handed, and there were a couple of moments that stetched credibility - perhaps in this case the author was simply remaining true to the original - but don't let those glitches put you off, as it is on the whole extremely satisfying, quite haunting and unusually emotional.

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25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I thoroughly enjoyed this - probably the best fiction audiobook I've listened to for a number of years. Although I'm not a Holmes expert, the book seemed authentic enough to me and the tale was gripping, and occasionally shocking. It's just a pity he's not writing another instalment. Excellent.

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Word perfect

I really enjoyed this listen, the story was beautifully, word-perfectly read by Mr Jacobi - not just read, enacted. The book is also beautifully, word-perfectly written by Mr Horowitz, but despite the rich atmosphere and historic detail, I did feel the author's 21st century sensibilities seeping through and was disappointed with the overall premise of the story and the way some of the clues were clumsily flagged up too early. Despite that, I would whole-heartedly recommend this.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An edge of your seat book.... right to the end!

This book is the best that I have read/listened to in a very long time. I was gripped to the very end and I still never managed to guess the twists! Completely rate this book..... everyone should listen to it.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 05-12-11

A Good Listen

An inventive story that is mostly faithful to the original style of A C D.I would agree that sometimes a 21st century perspective slips in but this doesn't seriously detract from a rattling paced narrative and ingenious plotting. I did guess one puzzle straight away but not the final couple of plot twists.
Derek Jacobi's masterly narration does the story credit but who knew he can't do a Scottish accent?!

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

In the Holmes Tradition

I have throughly enjoyed lustening to this book. Dubious at first as books in the "spirit of " are usually a second class rehash I have been pleasantly surprised. The characters, sets & plot are well rooted in the Sherlock Holmes tradition. Unfortunately you do see the authors 21st century sensibilities coming out and there is the too obvious references to sex.
Sir Derek Jacobi is a delight to listen to, bringing an excitement to the story. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys crime fiction

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

If you like Sherlock you'll like this

I haven't read many of the original books but I have seen plenty of the films and TV shows so this book felt like an authentic realisation of a Sherlock story.  The story has a hint of modern sensibilities but I enjoyed it and the final revelations.  It does help that I'm never any good at guessing whodunit.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than Conan Doyle himself? Probably.

This is one of the best Sherlock Homes stories I've heard ..... and it's written by a different author than the original. It maintains that which we love most about Holmes, his almost uncanny instinct for the detection, his insights and understanding of psychology, whilst achieving a pace and drama that is more in keeping with modern thrillers. And yet the 'voice' is perfect. One never doubts that this is Dr Watson retelling the tale in the London of the late nineteenth century. Brilliantly done.

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9 people found this helpful