The House of Silk: book club discussion questions

House of Silk coverPlease be aware that this post contains spoilers. It also assumes some familiarity with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories.

Did you feel that the new author set the tone of the book correctly?  What made the tone feel right or wrong?

Did the frame narrative, of Watson old and dying alone, add to the story or subtract from it?

Did the story work as a mystery, or was it too obvious, or not obvious enough?

Do you think the supporting characters differ in this modern retelling? How?  From the writer’s point of view, why?

Are child molesters overdone in mystery fiction now? Some early novelists insisted that murder was the worst of crimes: has murder been devalued so much that other things are needed to shock readers?

Is it fair to set a single sleuth against a secret society? Does it, in short, break the faith between the reader and writer about the nature of the puzzle?

Why does the House of Silk stop hounding Holmes? I mean: it’s not like they can’t just shoot him in the street, now is it?

Does the secret society make the world more or less believable?

Did Moriarty serve any plot function at all?  Seriously now…what was all that about?

Holmes’s way of looking at people, making a grand statement, and then explaining it based on his observations, is meant to convey to you the idea that he sees things that you, the reader, cannot see, and from these observations he makes calculated guesses based on his knowledge, which you do not share.  Does that still work, now that we have televised sleuthing, and we are used to seeing the evidence that the detective sees?