Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Anthony Horowitz's Ten Rules for Writing a Sherlock Holmes Novel

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

The first Sherlock Holmes story officially sanctioned by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle is published today: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. Also posted today on the publisher's website is a list of ten rules suggested by the author for writing a Sherlock Holmes novel.

"If you were to ask what has made Sherlock Holmes the most successful and best loved detective of all time," says Horowitz, "I would argue that it is not in fact the crimes or the mysteries. It seems to me that the appeal of the books has much more to do with character, the friendship of Holmes and Watson, the extraordinary and very rich world they inhabit and the genuine and often under-rated excellence of Conan Doyle's writing, a touch melodramatic at times but still very much in the tradition of gothic romance."

Most of the rules have been broken time and again by other writers as they have expanded on that world, but we think Horowitz has succinctly defined what makes for a good Holmes story by simply listing the guidelines he used when writing The House of Silk. Of course our favorite is "the most important rule of all … When publicizing the book, never, ever be seen wearing a deerstalker hat or smoking a pipe."

Read Horowitz's most entertaining guest post on the Mulholland Books website.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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