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Moriarty: A Novel Paperback – September 1, 2015
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The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.
Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty—dubbed the Napoleon of crime” by Holmes—in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.
Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty’s death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in “The Sign of Four”, must forge a path through the darkest corners of England’s capital—from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks—in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor.
A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from one of the only writers to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle’s estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’s dark and fascinating world.
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“Ultimately, the dastardly deeds, the cleverness behind the crimes and the detailed narrative spark multiple echoes of Holmesian elements while producing something new: a pleasurably imaginative theory of what might happened immediately following the showdown at the Falls.” -- Boston Globe
“A tour de force quite unlike any other fruit from these densely plowed fields… canny Sherlock-ian Horowitz still has more tricks up his sleeve.… A rare treat, a mystery as original as it is enthralling.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Though Horowitz dishes up the gore and violence with relish, he also offers all the tropes one might expect from a Holmes yarn, including baffling coded messages, impossible murders and clever red herrings... its plotting just as brilliantly gnarly but its tone more self-aware and laced with in-jokes.” -- Financial Times
“The author turns up the suspense, the sleuths turn up the clues, and crooks end up dead all while Moriarty’s specter hovers. Anything but elementary, this clever thriller is sure to please Sherlock fans.” -- People Magazine, Book of the Week Review
“A stunning riff on the Holmes-Moriarty clash. It’s full of allusions to the Holmes cannon that Sherlockians will congratulate themselves for spotting, then wince moments later when Horowitz gently reveals the prank.... Horowitz spins his tale in pitch-perfect Watsonian prose…setting readers up for a finale that is truly jaw-dropping.” -- Booklist, (starred)
“Prolific thriller writer Horowitz, whose last Holmes book The House of Silk was backed by the Conan Doyle estate, returns to the famous Reichenbach Falls scene, where Holmes and his arch-nemesis fall to their apparent deaths. But if you’re expecting a return of the great detective, you’ll be disappointed. This one is squarely about the bad guys. The death of Professor Moriarty leaves a power vacuum in London’s underworld that only detectives Athelney Jones (a Holmes obsessive) and his partner Frederick Case can solve.” -- New York Post
“[Horowitz’s] new novel, Moriarty, begins with a bravura dissection of Doyle’s story “The Final Problem” in which he points out all the discrepancies, loose ends and improbabilities of behaviour. The remainder of the book is partly an ingenious exercise in explaining them away. ...An often excruciatingly exciting pursuit, and there is much casual slaughter, with hints of torture; nothing gratuitous but, as in The House of Silk, Horowitz’s Victorian London is a much darker place than Doyle’s.” -- Daily Telegraph (London)
“Is there nothing Anthony Horowitz touches that doesn’t turn to gold? ...He captures Conan Doyle’s narrative technique to perfection. Gory murders, honest thieves, brilliant disguises, breathless chases and red herrings abound.” -- Daily Express (London)
“In this skilfully executed follow on, Horowitz takes up the Conan Doyle baton and creates a suitably stylish and twisty detective story.” -- Sunday Mirror (UK)
“Thrilling and compelling, with a stunning twist, this is written as if Conan Doyle were at Horowitz’s shoulder, and is―in my view―the finest crime novel of the year.” -- Daily Mail (London)
“An unpredictable and twist-filled mystery from start to finish. But what do you expect from the man penning the next James Bond novel?” -- Shortlist (UK)
Praise for The House of Silk: “Horowitz unfolds an intricate and rewarding mystery in the finest Victorian tradition. Admirers of [his] TV series, Foyle’s War, and Sherlockians will delight in equal measure.” -- Vanity Fair
“A book firmly rooted in the style of Doyle, faithful to the character as created and with just enough wiggle room to allow the author to say all the things he’s been longing to say about the world of 221B Baker Street...THE HOUSE OF SILK will satisfy.” -- Huffington Post
“Nicely captures the storytelling tone of Holmes’ inventor in a galloping adventure that boasts enough twists, ominous turns and urgent nocturnal escapades to make modern moviemakers salivate ... Author Horowitz delivers some dramatic tableaux in these pages, including a railway robbery, a prison escape and a horse-drawn carriage chase ... the Holmes we see here is just as cryptic and clever as we’ve come to expect.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“The hype surrounding what’s being billed as the first pastiche ever officially approved by the Conan Doyle estate is amply justified ... authentic. Horowitz gets everything right-the familiar narrative voice, brilliant deductions, a very active role for Watson, and a perplexing and disturbing series of puzzles to unravel-and the legion of fans of the originals will surely be begging for Horowitz to again dip into Watson’s trove of untold tales.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[In The House of Silk,] Watson’s elegiac voice should silence the objections of even the most persnickety Sherlock scholar.” -- NPR
“Horowitz seems to have mastered that tricky balance between respecting the original and keeping things fresh. Disguises, fakes, twists, red herrings and violence—the game is afoot!” -- Bookpage
“…deliciously twisty new novel…” -- Columbus Dispatch
From the Back Cover
Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.
Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into the waterfall's churning depths, Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sign of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.
Riveting and deeply atmospheric, Moriarty is the first Sherlock Holmes novel sanctioned by the author's estate since Horowitz's House of Silk.
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (September 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062377191
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062377197
- Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I gave the book two stars mostly because I did finish it and it was well written. I have two major criticisms of the book that cost it a higher rating.
First, I agree with the comments posted earlier that the ending was absurd. I can see echoes of some of the less successful episodes of Midsomer Murders in the ending (and, indeed, in other places in the book). There are more echoes in the speed at which the corpses pile up, a plot device that shows up in all too many episodes of Midsomer Murders. This is actually a very violent book.
Second, I figured out the basic trajectory of the plot about a third of the way through the book. I kept reading in part to find out if I was correct, which I was. This was disappointing, although how the author handled it was clever.
In short, I cannot recommend this book, It was frustrating to read it, as I know the author can do better!
Top reviews from other countries
What if – when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Moriarty plunged to their ‘deaths’ into the Reichenbach Falls – the Baker Street detective was not the only one to survive? It is this fascinating premise which forms the basis of ‘Moriarty’, a novel that takes place during the so-called ‘great hiatus’ when Holmes continued to fake his death whilst rounding up more evil doers. Thus, here we have a Sherlock novel minus Sherlock. That ‘Moriarty’ (being the tale of a supposedly-dead villain, minus the star of the series) works so well is a testament to Anthony Horowitz’s panache and creativity. As his previous ‘House of Silk’ succeeded as a Dr Watson-penned tale that could NOT have been told in the fictional writer’s lifetime, so its sequel (albeit in the loosest of terms) scores a hit by being something other than just another Sherlock Holmes homage.
The central plot of the novel revolves around the attempts of Inspector Athelney Jones (he of ‘The Sign of [the] Four’) and American Pinkerton agent, Frederick Chase (also the story’s narrator) to prevent the ‘deceased’ Moriarty from joining forces with the loathsome gang leader, Clarence Devereux. Devereux has just arrived in London, looking to expand a criminal fraternity responsible for countless atrocities in the United States. In their efforts to avoid this hellish union, Jones and Chase become embroiled in a series of sub-plots featuring pubescent throat-slitters, child kidnappings, bombings and murders galore.
From this list of crimes, you will gather that ‘Moriarty’ is set in a far grimmer version of Victorian London than the one created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Indeed, Horowitz is quite willing to convey the more seedy and gruesome side of late-19th century urban life. One murder scene (in which an entire household is eliminated) is particularly grisly and is clearly catering for a 2014 audience. Whether this adds anything to the immortal world created by ACD, I’m not sure.
Despite its rather bleak realism, ‘Moriarty’ scores on two levels. Firstly, Clarence Devereux is a truly memorable villain. Handicapped by crippling agoraphobia, he nevertheless orchestrates a catalogue of pitiless crimes whilst hiding behind a mask of respectability and political immunity. Should the novel ever be filmed, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Toby Jones playing this squat, damaged demagogue.
Secondly, ‘Moriarty’ offers a jaw-dropping twist towards its finale that ultimately rewrites the tale that the reader has been engrossed in. Although not truly original (the best of the quartet of original Holmes novels ‘The Valley of Fear’ contains a similarly effective bombshell, not to mention Agatha Christie’s ‘orReg rAoCydk’), I was definitely caught off guard by the sudden and brutal revelation.
Thus, whilst it cannot be classed in the same bullet-proof vein as the finest of the original Sherlockian canon of 56 short stories and 4 novels, ‘Moriarty’ is a worthy side dish to the main course. Will Anthony Horowitz continue to pen yarns in the series? Could he come up with a 3rd new spin? Now that’s surely a two pipe problem.
Barty’s Score: 8.5/10
I bought another (female) author's book (a 'new' Agatha Christie) and was so disappointed that I didn't have much faith in yet another author writing a 'new' Sherlock Holmes book: boy, was I wrong!! I was well and truly gripped from the very first page, so much so that I found myself reluctant to switch the bedside light off, even though it was nearly 2 am - I literally didn't want the book to end - and if there had been another 20 chapters, it still wouldn't have been enough. I've been a fan of Anthony Horowitz's work for many years and so shouldn't really have been surprised it is as good as it is, and I pray he is commissioned to write more of these Sherlock Holmes books, because if anyone can bring the man himself to 'life' on the written page, he can. I did figure out the 'twist' but only because I've been reading whodunits and crime fiction for over 50 years, but anyone new to the genre will have no problem in being shocked at the outcome. Don't even hesitate - buy it.
Holmes and Watson are barely mentioned, instead the narrator is the detective Freddie Chase from the American agency Pinkerton's, who has followed the fiendish Professor Moriarty to Reichenbach Falls, where Holmes and Moriarty apparently fought and met their doom. He plays Watson to Inspector Athelney Jones's Watson as the pair follow the clues in the aftermath of those dramatic events and bid to stop a shadowy criminal mastermind from the USA who has come to London to fill the void left by Moriarty's sudden death.
What follows is a violent, shocking thrill-ride of chases, brutal murders, kidnapping and deception, culminating in a quite devastating twist that will take your breath away.
Horowitz has penned some absolute crackers if you like your crime mystery, he is a devout fan of Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle and all the great mystery writers; that much is evident if you have read The Magpie Murders or the Hawthorne novels. But this for me is his finest work, it is devastatingly vivid, set against the backdrop of a truly dark and menacing Victorian London.
The pace is relentless, the narrative is perfect, the sucker-punch absolutely stunning. It's essential reading. 10/10.