Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: Moriarty

Anthony Horowitz

Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty have seemingly fallen to their deaths at the Reichenbach Falls. In the aftermath, two avid followers of Dr. Watson’s accounts, American Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase and Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, have come to Switzerland to confirm events and view Moriarty’s corpse. Chase is hoping to find a clue to the identity of secretive criminal mastermind Clarence Devereaux, an American who may have been collaborating with Moriarty to bring vicious New York crime to England. Soon enough Inspector Jones reveals a keen analytical mind, reminding Chase of Holmes himself and the two of them are on their way to London in pursuit of the elusive Devereaux. Chase feels like Watson to Jones’ Holmes.

Moriarty is clearly a book for Holmes aficionados. The places and the characterization evoke the sensibility of Doyle himself. The narrative unfolds with the same inevitability, but something feels wrong. Is Holmes really dead? Moriarty? Is this all a fantasy blooming in the mind of an inspector obsessed with the Holmes legend? As we read to uncover the secret hiding beneath the surface, we are led into the very belly of voracious London, and the narrative approaches the edge of horror.

Nonetheless Pinkerton agent Chase and Inspector Jones remain interesting and sympathetic characters. We very much hope they survive their case. The twist, when it unexpectedly arrives, like that of any great detective story, causes us to rethink everything we thought we had carefully read.

Moriarty is Anthony Horowitz’s second Sherlock Holmes novel. It follows The House of Silk, published in 2011. A popular mystery writer, he was chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write a Bond novel, Trigger Mortis. He also wrote the Gatekeepers series for young adults.

Check it out!

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

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