Monday, June 25, 2012

Holmes for the Holidays

"Midwinter is a potent time for fans of Sherlock Holmes. Along with its evocative weather and palliative hearths, readers can expect the latest slew of biographies, criticism, reissues, bastardizations and assorted Sherlockiana that publishers traditionally lavish on the public in the long run-up to Christmas.
     [...] Only Charles Dickens has greater seasonal appeal and this winter, despite a bicentenary, even he can barely compete with the enduring attraction of 'the world’s foremost detective mind' and his oft-reluctant creator. Three 'forgotten' Doylean manuscripts, two fictional, one real, including the first 'official' Holmes novel since the author’s death, join a film, a memoir, a biography and a glut of other literature, some of it ingenious, some strained, and all too bounteous to be given due notice here, from Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy, a selection of essays edited by Josef Steiff, which explains, among other things, why the celebrated sleuth is 'like a good hip-hop song,' to Kim Newman’s Moriarty: The hound of the D’Urbervilles, which attempts a Frankensteinean splicing of gothic expectations.
     [...] With such a daunting legacy to live up to, surely only a very bold person would take on the first 'official' Sherlock Holmes novel since the author’s death in 1930. Fortunately, Anthony Horowitz is that person and The House of Silk is a worthy addition to the canon. Like the best Holmes stories, it treads the line, in both narrative and language, between cliché and creativity, and is by turns gripping, playful, tortuous and cosily predictable, though the great detective himself would doubtless dismiss it as nothing but 'vulgar romanticism.'"
— Toby Lichtig, The Times Literary Supplement

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