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--dubbed "the Napoleon of crime"--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--from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the 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.
Riveting and deeply atmospheric, Moriarty is the first Sherlock Holmes novel sanctioned by the author's estate since Horowitz's House of Silk. This tale of murder and menace breathes life into Holmes's fascinating world, again proving that once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however im- probable, must be the truth.
A summer read two years ago, Anthony Horowitz' The House of Silk was an interesting, if not particularly ground breaking, addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon, an authorised continuation of the adventures of the great detective and his 'assistant' Watson. Set somewhere within the latter part of Holmes' adventures, The House of Silk was well written, exciting and faithful homage to Conan Doyle, which boded well for any more novels Horowitz might write in this world.
Which brings us to Moriarty, Horowitz' new novel set in the Victorian London of Doyle's hero. Where in The House of Silk Horowitz played things safe, giving us an adventure clearly meant to slot neatly into canon, in Moriarty he has broken the mold, giving us instead an enthralling look at the world that existed between Holmes and Moriarty fateful fall at the Reichenbach and the reappearance of Holmes a few years later. With Holmes and Watson off the stage, Horowitz turns his attention to two new characters. One, Athelney Jones, is actually a character from Doyle's work, a Scotland Yard detective who appeared in The Sign of Four. Here, Horowitz is able to develop the character much further, using what Doyle wrote about him to give the man a clever backstory that explains his devotion to Holmes' methods. Jones becomes our Sherlock Holmes surrogate, but instead of just creating a cliché, Horowitz breathes life into the detective by giving him a family, something that Holmes obviously lacks.
The second character is Frederick Chase, an investigator for Pinkertons, the legendary American detective force, sent to Europe to pursue an American crimelord determined to step into the gulf left behind by Moriarty's death. This investigation brings the two men together and from there the story escalates, from Reichenbach to London, through the darkest corners of the criminal underworld. Brutality and terror stalk the streets of the capital and it seems that only Chase and Jones will be able to bring the true culprit to justice.
What was already an enthralling, exciting, gripping mystery tale takes on a much greater dimension, though, in the last third of the novel. Horowitz pulls off a fantastic coup, setting up and delivering on an absolutely terrific twist that caught me totally by surprise but made perfect sense once it was revealed. I won't give anything about this twist away, but suffice it to say, I personally found it totally unexpected. Horowitz really delivers with Moriarty, showing that there are still interesting and surprising tales to be told in the Holmes universe. I hope he gets the opportunity to do so in the future.
I gave Moriarty 4 stars.