Friday, February 17, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Related Post 2 - House of Silk, Irregulars, Sidney Paget, Holmes related Cartoon

In the world of Modern-Day versions of Sherlock Holmes, Anthony Horowitz’s House of Silk has been pushed into the category of old news, thanks to Messrs Cumberbatch and Downey Jnr’s versions of the Worlds Greatest Detective.
So being a finger-on-the-pulse, up-to-date kind of guy, I’ve decided to write about House of Silk…

I have to be honest, before House of Silk I never read any other Book written by Anthony Horowitz, or watched much Midsomer Murders, so I didn’t know if it was a good fit, although my optimism was put in place by an endorsement of the Conan-Doyle estate… So I was relatively confident I’d enjoy it…

And I did… I thought it was well written, engaging, longer than any Conan-Doyle, Holmes Novel but that didn’t seem to matter… I thought it was a very good addition to the canon, and will enjoy a re-read as soon as I feel it needs to be read again…

But, I do have two problems that I would like to mention:

the first concerns the Baker Street Irregulars, the scruffy little urchins that are occasionally called in to help Mr. ‘Olmes, due to their inconspicuousness, underrated intelligence and loyalty… Well I get the impression that Mr. Horowitz isn’t keen on them or their use within the canon…

They are used within the story, but there are consequences because of their use, also Wiggins comes across as quite rude, uncaring and flippant when talking to Holmes. This is something I’d never have deduced from Study in Scarlet, or their other appearances in the original stories. Horowitz seems interested to highlight the dangers that Holmes places these homeless urchins when they help him… Using their appearance as a sort of moral, don’t put them in danger, message… This is a message that may have a place, but not in a Sherlock Holmes Story…

I suppose in a way I’m biased in favour of the irregulars, as my introduction into the worlds of Sherlock Holmes came in the form of the Arthur books written by the hilarious, and sadly missed, Alan Coren and also a Children’s BBC television series entitled the Baker Street Boys, that detailed the life of these lovable scamps as they solved crimes… I can’t find any clips on-line but I did discover that the future Ian Beale was in it…

And the second problem I have, is one I am almost embarrassed to mention… It is not anything within the control of Anthony Horowitz and therefore it is not an improvement that can be made by him… But I still believe the story would be better presented with some Sidney Paget style illustrations… Obviously with Mr. Paget being deceased since 1908, I’m not suggesting we channel his artistic spirit via a medium, but somebody who could produce Paget type illustrations would have been nice to have…

The reason I believe it would be an improvement, I suppose, is because of my role as illustrator and cartoonist to my own literary efforts, I guess I’m just pro-illustration… But also I do really like the illustrations of Mr. Paget, he was after all the man who placed the Deer Stalker hat in our collective connection with Sherlock Holmes, Conan-Doyle never mentioned. Also the first stories I owned of Sherlock Holmes contained no illustrations, future purchases did and I believe the illustrations add something yet remove nothing from the experience…

So all in all, the book is a pleasant and engaging read that will be read again… Congratulations Mr. Horowitz.

P.S. I would like it clearly noted that I would certainly never put myself forward as illustrator… I would not be able to manage the lifelike, intrinsic type work of Sidney Paget, you can view some of his work here, The closest I can come to a Sherlock Holmes Illustration is the terrible pun illustrated below…

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