Mostly entertaining, but Moriarty left this Sherlock fan disappointed. 3.5/5 stars.
The blurb: Sherlock Holmes is dead.
Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place.
Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.
I enjoyed the first of Anthony Horowitz’s new Sherlock Holmes stories – The House of Silk – back in February. And, for the most part, I really enjoyed Moriarty, which is the second book he’s written with the permission of the Conan Doyle estate.
This is an entertaining mystery adventure set in a vividly-described Victorian London. The villains are thoroughly nasty and bring a decent level of menace and peril to the story. So I was incredibly disappointed when the last twenty or so pages of this book ruined my previously positive experience. All the way through the story there are little hints of what may be at the heart of the mystery. I was expecting a complex, surprising resolution. And, to be honest, I was really hoping it would involve Sherlock in some capacity. I think it’s worth saying that Sherlock and Watson are entirely absent from this book. At this point you might all be thinking, “What did she expect? It says in the blurb Sherlock’s dead!”. But this story is set just after Holmes goes over the Reichenbach Falls and, as fans will know, he doesn’t die but vanishes for 3 years before reappearing. So I had hopes he’d turn up at some point, even in disguise.
A few times I thought, “Oh, I suppose that could be the answer to the mystery,” before dismissing my idea as daft. But no. Turns out my suspicions were correct and I was so disappointed by the big reveal it undermined all the fun I’d had reading the previous 98% of the book. This is why I gave Moriarty 3.5 and not 4 stars. That’s not to say you would find the ending a let down – it could just be me!
Overall: if you like Sherlock stories because of the great detective and/or Watson, you might want to stick with The House of Silk or Conan Doyle. If you’re not too bothered about Sherlock/Watson being AWOL and fancy reading a mystery set in the original Sherlock universe, it’s worth giving Moriarty a try. After all, the twist might just blow your mind! 🙂