Moriarty

Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 4.33.21 PMArthur Conan Doyle did not want to be remembered only for Sherlock Holmes. Doyle thought Holmes was merely a derivative of Edgar Allan Poe’s sleuth C. August Dupin (“Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” and “The Purloined Letter-).

Doyle did not create the detective story genre, but he did fill it with its most memorable characters, starting with Holmes himself. But also Watson, a list of recurring characters (Mycroft Holmes; Mrs. Hudson; Inpectrors Lestrade, Gregson, Jones, et. al.; Wiggins and other Irregulars), as well as some very memorable one-time characters, of whom Irene Adler and Professor Moriarty stand out.

Just as Doyle created a world derived from Poe’s Dupin, many writers created new worlds derived from Doyle’s characters. The archnemesis Moriarty inspired more stories than any other Doyle character except for Brother Mycroft.

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Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty appears only in one story in the “canon” (the 4 novels and 56 short stories by Doyle). Doyle grew tired of Holmes, and wished to turn his public’s attention to weightier matters, like spiritualism. So he threw Holmes and Moriarty into the Reichenbach Falls. Needless to say, the demise of their hero did not slake the public’s demand for more Holmes stories. So after a real-time hiatus of ten years, Doyle relented and resurrected his hero, assigning him only a three year fictional hiatus.

Fans never cease pointing out the awkwardness of the death and resurrection of Holmes. Which makes it a subject of unending interest to the purveyors of “Apocrypha” (Sherlock Holmes stories not by Doyle). Anthony Horowitz is the latest to take up the cause with his just-out “Moriarty.”

The story opens with three characters, one a corpse fresh from the Reichenbach Falls, English Inspector Athelney Jones, and the narrator. The game is afoot: murder, mayhem, and many plot twists ensue.

Readers may not find Horowitz’s re-spin of “The Final Problem” any more probable than Doyle’s original. But it is a fun ride.

Phil Neches

[Note from the Host: For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Anthony Horowitz, he is one of the UK’s most successful writers — books (over 40), films, plays and television series. But he’s not only prolific, he’s good. His “Foyle’s War” is among the very best TV series we’ve ever watched. He created and wrote the series, and we are forever indebted to him for doing so. And thank you, Phil, for the alert on “Moriarty.”]

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