Audiobook: The House of Silk

by Anthony Horowitz
Read by Sir Derek Jacobi
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Content: While there’s nothing “objectionable”, it does, in the end, feature murder, and the solution is pretty tough to take. Still, I think it’d be a good book for all the teen Sherlock lovers out there. It’s in the mystery section at the bookstore.

I’ve been meaning to read this one for years, I swear. I like Sherlock Holmes, and this one is actually sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, and Horowitz has written some fun middle grade books… and and and.

I finally got around to it because Horowitz published Moriarty, and I remembered that I did want to read House of Silk. Thankfully, the library had an audio version, and so I opted for that.

And what a ride. First: I loved Jacobi’s narration, from his slightly gruff Watson to his more elegant Holmes. And the wide variations of English accents were amazing. The only time I felt he was off was when he did an American woman, but I was able to forgive that.

The conceit is that Watson is writing this at the end of his life, with the intent that it would be hidden and released in 100 years, because the scandal was too great for it to be published during his lifetime. Which sets up an ominous tone that permeates the whole book. Holmes and Watson (married now, and his wife was away so he was back at 221B Baker Street) were solicited by a man, Carstairs, who felt he was being threatened by one of the Flat Cap Gang from Boston. That leads Holmes and Watson down a tricky, twisty, dark path and into the deepest darkest secrets of some of the most powerful men in Britain.

I know I’m being vague. But, really: the less you know, the more enjoyable the ride. And the ending had me flabbergasted. I had some of it figured out — in retrospect, nothing comes out of left field, which is nice — but when the final revelation came I was sufficiently amazed at Holmes and disgusted by the depravity. As well I should be.

I don’t know if I would have liked it as much had I read it; I prefer the TV shows to the stories, and listening to it gave it the feel of one of those. Or maybe it’s just because Horowitz knows action and plotting… which lends credence to my middle grade/mystery crossover theory.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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