Moriarty Hardcover – Deckle Edge, December 9, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, December 2014: Like a caretaker who’s been given the keys to the castle, Anthony Horowitz has been entrusted with the legend and legacy of one of fiction’s greatest characters, Sherlock Holmes. The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle endorsed Horowitz’s 2011 thriller The House of Silk, which was the first new Holmes novel in more than a century. In Moriarty, Horowitz explores trickier, uncharted territory: carrying forward the world of Holmes, without Holmes. Moriarty begins where Conan Doyle left off: with Holmes and his evil nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, having tussled right off the edge of Reichenbach Falls. The action begins when Pinkerton detective Frederick Chase and Scotland Yard inspector Athelney Jones meet in a Swiss village days after Holmes and Moriarty have disappeared. The two collaborate in their search for the ruthless Clarence Devereaux, a depraved criminal mastermind seeking to fill the void left by Moriarty’s drowning. But, as with all good Holmes tales, things are not always what they seem. Horowitz proves himself a worthy successor, packing this violent, energized tale with foot chases through Victorian London, clever disguises, encoded messages, feints and fakes, plus buckets of blood and a platter of red herrings. Horowitz’s fresh take on the legend of Sherlock Holmes pays homage to the original while infusing it with his own slick and twisty style. No surprise he’s been tapped to write about James Bond next. --Neal Thompson
“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))
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062377183
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062377180
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.01 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Harper; First American Edition (December 9, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #266,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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!
I would even say that this novel works best only if you are deeply familiar with the main Sherlock Holmes volumes. This knowledge adds extra appreciation. The author handles the time, setting and mood in an authentic way. It made it a pleasure to read.
I want to spoil nothing at all, but the real fun is that it becomes clear that something must happen in this story, just because we generally know the Holmes-lore. Yet, that knowledge does not tell you what trick is pulled. It was nice
It is a wonderful, pleasant and brisk read -- for the first 90-percent of the book. Then the rug is pulled, or more like the lever on a trap door is pulled. At that point it all goes askew and it is as if the author was just playing a horrible joke on the reader.
If I could go back in time I would never have read this book. It's too bad one can't "unread" a book as easily as it can be deleted from a Kindle.
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.
Although it is a good story (mainly down to the twist at the end), it did feel laboured at times. I think this is mainly down to the fact that it isn’t really a Sherlock Holmes novel, as it states in the brackets after the title. Holmes never actually appears in the story, he is merely mentioned now and then. I did at times feel a little cheated because of this, having enjoyed The House of Silk immensely.
I would still recommend, but I don’t think anyone will be blown away by the book.