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Stay away from this clumsy criminal mess

  • Apr 5, 2009
Continuation of Arthur Conan Doyle's arch-villain Moriarty, who apparently died with Sherlock Holmes when both plunged over the edge of the falls in a case mid-career when Doyle was trying to kill off the fictional Holmes and take his writing career in a different direction. Foiled in this attempt by his demanding public (see The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Holmes brought Moriarty back, and provided some additional detail to create a master criminal whose own fame and career were to continue to attract curiosity beyond the framework of Doyle's fiction.

This is Gardner's third trip to the Moriarty source, and other authors have been there as well. This was not, as I had hoped, a mystery tale where Moriarty matches wits with a private detective like Holmes, a Scotland Yard professional, or even a fellow criminal genus. Instead, this is basically a retelling of a mafia crime family story, much condensed and reset in Victorian England, with writing that is pedestrian and dated; this feels like a 1970s straight-to-paperback knockoff of "The Godfather." This has nothing to do with and no similarities to the Holmes' mysteries in either style, pacing, or skill.

Unless you really want a clumsy retelling of a mafia crime family story, much condensed and reset in Victorian England, stay away from this criminal mess.

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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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A derivative plot mars the long-awaited sequel toThe Return of Moriarty(1974) andThe Revenge of Moriarty(1975), in which Gardner reimagined Sherlock Holmes's arch-nemesis as a Victorian godfather, and radically revised Doyle's account of the two men's fateful confrontation at the Reichenbach Falls. After surviving that encounter, Moriarty rapidly resolidified his hold on the London underworld in the first book and embarked on an audacious attempt to disgrace the sleuth in the second. In 1900, the professor returns to London, as he did inThe Return of Moriarty, where he again pursues a traitor in his ranks. Fans of the previous volumes may notice some problems of continuity as well as passages of the professor's reminiscences that appear lifted almost verbatim fromReturn. Holmes himself barely gets a passing mention. A reference at the end suggests Gardner (1926–2007) was planning a fourth and final reckoning between Moriarty and Holmes.(Nov.)
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ISBN-10: 0151012520
ISBN-13: 978-0151012527
Author: John Gardner
Publisher: Adult

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