Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes adaptation

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : The House of Silk

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The House of Silk (Horowitz’s Holmes, #1) by Anthony Horowitz (Goodreads Author)

Amy Caudill‘s review

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then it’s easy to see why Anthony Horowitz was granted something no other author has before-official endorsement from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Horowitz was officially “allowed” to publish stories depicting the legendary detective.  Since I have recently re-read some of the original author’s short stories, I can attest that he easily captures the style of the original, including alluding in his stories to others from canon as well as current events of the day, just as Doyle sprinkled throughout his famous stories.

This tale contains two mysteries for the price of one.  Only in the final pages are readers permitted to learn what Holmes had long suspected, that the mysterious events around Carstairs and with the obscure House of Silk are connected.

We open with Holmes as he is requested to assist a local nobleman who thinks he is being stalked by a foreign gangster who he inadvertently wronged.  Unfortunately before that case is resolved, Holmes is detained and framed for murder in pursuit of another criminal.  

When a well-respected police inspector, a local nobleman, and a doctor with a reputation for charity bear witness against him, without him being permitted to speak in his defense, it appears Holmes may be doomed.  With even Mycroft’s hands tied, it appears Watson may be his last hope of avoiding a noose, especially when the latter has a clandestine meeting with none other than Professor Moriarty months before the events of Reichenbach Falls.

Watson comes to the rescue, only to find out he is too late, because somehow Holmes has already affected an impossible escape from an impregnable prison.  From this point on, Watson does his best to pursue unexplored avenues until he finally is reunited with the missing detective in time for them to make a shattering discovery as they call in police reinforcements to dismantle an establishment so evil that even the master criminal wants no part of it. 

I enjoyed this “new” Sherlock Holmes novel just as much as I’ve always loved the original works.  The name and legend of Sherlock Holmes have inspired an entire sub-genre of like-styled stories and books, as well as modern adaptations into television series and movies.  Horowitz has proven, backed by Doyle’s estate, to be a worthy successor to the detective’s legacy and I look forward to reading some of his other works.


Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows by James Lovegrove

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows (The Cthulhu Casebooks, #1) by  James Lovegrove

Amy Caudill‘s review

In one of the more creative takes on the stories originally penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Lovegrove combines the classic Holmes with stories from another period author, H.P. Lovecraft, for a detective horror fiction that pays tribute to both genres.

In the forward to The Shadwell Shadows, the first book of the trilogy The Cthulu Casebooks, the author claims to be a distant relative of Lovecraft, who “inherited” these manuscripts from his estate.  He has decided to share with the world the unbelievable and potentially panic-inducing tales as a public service, letting the readers make up their own minds as to validity.

He portray a very different first meeting for Holmes and Watson, where Watson’s war wounds came from a brush with the supernatural, and Holmes’ early cases have already demonstrated that there are inexplicable events happening in Victorian London.  He states, as the narrator in Watson’s voice, that the true events that happened during Holmes and Watson’s long association were too controversial, too fantastical, to bring to public knowledge.

The basic plot of this volume revolves around a number of mysterious deaths, mostly of indigents and outcasts of society, that Scotland Yard spend little effort on and so fail to connect.  However, Holmes does find a connection, and follows it, along with his new roommate Watson, to an opium den run by a wealthy immigrant who has delved into studies of dark rituals and old gods that are all but forgotten in polite society.  This is only the jump-off point to awareness of monsters in the dark, magic rituals and horrors that Holmes and Watson would rather unlearn, but cannot run from, because there are other lives at stake.

While this book makes references to a number of “classic” Holmes cases, the contents of this volume are written not as a collection of stories, but rather as one long continuous tale.  The epilogue also mentions the subjects of the next two volumes, hinting that this collection is one long tale of the “true” events of their joined career.

Lovegrove has done a credible job imitating Doyle’s style and characters, while placing them into situations where the paranormal is a reality that can be seductive and dangerous.  I really can’t say I’ve read much Lovecraft for myself, though I am aware of his creations from various other sources, from popular movies and other fiction.  I believe Lovegrove’s allusions to Lovecraft’s work are just as meticulous as is his borrowing of the Holmesian mythos.

I thought this a very interesting read and would recommend it to fans of Sherlock Holmes, Victorian era-fiction and classic horror tales alike.  I award this book four stars and intend to seek out the next work in the series.