on March 4, 2012
In the original Doyle stories, many of his adversaries, to my mind at least, tended to take a leisurely view of the thorn (Holmes) in their midst. Recall In "The Final Problem" when Professor Moriarity came to 221 B and indicated Homes's attentions were becoming intolerable. Taking a risk of attempting to instill some reality into fiction, the truth of the matter would have been that someone with Moriarity's position and resources would have simply nodded his head and Homes and Watson would have been swatted like flies and that would have been that.
The Lovisi story deals with a former adversary who is intent upon revenge and wants it to be sure, final with humiliating aspects everywhere. He has a plan, a program and resources to carry it out and total ruthlessness. There is no chess game here. Holmes cannot even be considered as a pawn. He is destined to be a victim only.
This is one of the stories where each page brings new twists and turns and it looks like Homes is going to lose this one big time. Also worthy of note are the descriptions of London and other environs where this all takes place. It is easy to focus on the plots of stories without being reminded of the squalor, desperation and hopelessness of the realms where these plots unfold. Also, the utter disregard for human life exhibited by the various petty criminals, crime bosses or ordinary individuals mired in poverty who see an opportunity to get enough to make it another day paints pictures of environments where hope is never believed to exist.
In short, a cracking tale although it got a bit wobbly toward the end. The writer gets a pass on this one if he was not wanting the story to end. Neither did I. Hopefully this writer has many more stories in the works.