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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
“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)
“Anthony Horowitz throws down the gauntlet in his infernally clever Sherlock Holmes pastiche.” (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)
“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))
“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))
“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)
“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))
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Top Customer Reviews
There were parts of Moriarty that I liked. Horowitz's enumeration of the problems with the events in The Final Problem in the beginning of the book was brilliant, and I had high hopes for the rest. But the tone changed almost immediately, and the rest of the book was, as another reviewer put it, long-winded. I found myself skimming some of it. I twice had issues with events not making sense. The villain the protagonist is after is just purely ridiculous. The ending didn't reveal anything I hadn't expected.
I don't want to go into more details in case I spoil the mystery. I'll just say that Horowitz offers an alternative series of events here which should have been more compelling than they were. I read to the end of the book because I'd started it, not because I cared what happened to any of these characters or was engrossed in the plot.
NB - I am not a professional writer, and certainly not as skilled as Mr Morowitz, and I understand fully well that its easier to comment and crticise than to do something, especially a fresh take on an established classic.
That said, as a reader, I felt that perhaps the end result was a tad overcooked, like a song being played even as the melody has been lost.
A few dramatic devices, while logically acceptable, did not quite feel just right.
And the last chapter seemed contrived, almost as if various end scenarios had been debated over and this was the winner.
And therefore the assessment would be broken up into -
1. Getting the tone and atmospherics right ( not too much deviation from Sir ACD's world)
2. Reasonably paced.
"Force fitted" dramatic devices
End too contrived.
I think a short story / novella on the same premise would be a much better format for the idea.
Choice : Buy/Borrow ?
Recommendation : Strongly - Borrow.
I do have to say that I read this before House of Silk (on that one now and it's moving along at a great pace).
Athleney Jones is a particularly good fit for the main detective in this novel, as he is a minor character who did exist in Doyle’s original work. Jones is best known for his role in “Sign of the Four.” In which, he arrests an entire household on a murder crime but is shown to be embarrassingly wrong through Sherlock’s expertise. He is called “an imbecile” and “tenacious as a lobster” in a later story. The premise of the current novel is that Jones has taken to heart the criticism given to him by Sherlock and Watson, and has studied and studied until he has achieved a level similar to Sherlock. Frederick Chase seems to prefer Jones’ work and skill over that of Sherlock’s, but this may or may not be influenced by his bias.
If you are worried that someone other than Doyle is writing Sherlock stories, let me calm you. Horowitz is not writing “fan fiction,” but he is writing something called a pastiche (which means an imitation of someone else’s writing). And his pastiche (his first, being The House of Silk, and now his second, Moriarty), is the first pastiche ever officially approved by the Conan Doyle estate. At this point it is basically canon.
Also, it is known that Doyle wanted to focus on his historical novels and did not like writing Sherlock stories. Doyle wanted Sherlock dead, and so he tossed Sherlock off the edge of Reichenbach Falls. He only brought him back because of the immense pressure coming from the public, and even then he resented the famous detective. Horowitz, on the other hand, has no such ill-will. Maybe readers will enjoy Sherlock more from an author who is not only capable but also loving; I know I did.
Read this book if you are a fan of Sherlock, because it will not disappoint. Read it if you want the legend and lore of Moriarty to achieve a new level in your mind, and to gain a completely new perspective on whether or not Sherlock and Moriarty are truly equals. Can you follow the clues, or will you be deceived? The game is afoot!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anthony Horowitz is a craftsmen, his prose is spot on ....it seems as though this story is a continuation of the Holmes sagas...