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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: MORIARTY, Anthony Horowitz

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“It contains the mother of all double-crosses. I gasped aloud.”


Sherlock Holmes is dead.

Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place.

Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.

Author of the global bestseller THE HOUSE OF SILK, Anthony Horowitz once more breathes life into the world created by Arthur Conan Doyle. With pitch-perfect characterisation and breath-taking pace, Horowitz weaves a relentlessly thrilling tale which teases and delights by the turn of each page.

The game is afoot...


Authorised by the Conan Doyle estate, this novel has a lot to live up to. I admit, I wasn’t looking forward to reading it. On principle I am against people taking on characters made famous by other writers, and then randomly cashing in on their success after their death by writing ‘sequels’. It always seems lazy to me, and lacking a certain amount of imagination.

It was from that critical viewpoint that I started reading Moriarty, purely because I had been asked to by a national newspaper.

Oh, how glad I am that I was forced to. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Moriarty is a totally different take on the Holmes’ genre, and written from a unique and previously unexplored perspective. It opens by outlining the famous moment at the Reichenbach Falls when Moriarty and Holmes do battle – then picks holes in how improbable the story is, disbelieving everything which Watson wrote on the subject. Instead, this novel claims to tell the true story…

As this is about the period of time when Holmes faked his own death, he is only name-checked, rather than being a central character. Instead, it is up to one of his Scotland Yard devotees to take on the role of ‘he who can look at a speck of dust and extrapolate from it what someone had for their tea on Wednesday’.

This is a fascinating, detailed, well thought out plot which had me absorbed from the start. It rolls along at high speed, and vividly captures Conan Doyle’s tone. There are disguises, red herrings, honest thieves, coded messages, and every other device which the original author used so well.

What’s more, it contains the mother of all double-crosses. I won’t say more than that I gasped aloud when it was revealed. For this reason alone, I urge you to read this book!

There is more blood and gore in Horowitz’s creation than in the original Sherlock Holmes books, but it didn’t feel gratuitous. This is a dark and grimy London, one where you can fully imagine the likes of Jack the Ripper stalking. Some true Holmes fans may also feel disappointed that their favourite character is very much conspicuous by his absence. For me, though, this novel was a triumph – and my appetite for Horowitz’s Holmes has been whetted enough that I am now planning to buy his first effort: House of Silk.

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