By: Sue Piazza – 3/23
Book Review: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
© Anthony Horowitz 2014
Harper Collins Publishing 2014
Bookmarkers: 5 of 5
Tasked with writing a novel in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anthony Horowitz does a fine job of mimicking Conan Doyle’s style. This Sherlock Holmes novel reads as if the master himself created it.
The invitation to this great mystery starts with the book cover.
Simple yet elegant this one effectively draws the bibliophile in to witness the stark realities of life and death. This book, a follow-up to House of Silk, is not a sequel but a well-crafted stand-alone novel.
Reichenbach Falls. This novel takes place immediately after the battle between Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
Both men are presumed dead. Found, only one body. Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, (originally introduced by Conan Doyle in The Sign of Four) a practitioner of Holmes’ techniques, travels to Switzerland to investigate. Inspector Jones encounters Frederick Chase, who is introduced to us as a senior investigator with the Pinkerton Investigation Agency in NY. Chase is to Jones as Watson was to Holmes.
Presumed to be Moriarty’s body, this master villain’s death leaves a void in the world of crime. A new syndicate emerges with a deadlier, more vicious class of criminals. The two detectives attempt to uncover the members of this organization and put an end to the grewsome murders plaguing Victorian England. London 1891.
The visuals and the words used to portray 19th century England are elaborately detailed becoming as much a character as are the individual people. Only a few odd British words make the reader pause. One such example is: “…Holmes goes haring off …”
The author’s sentences are vivid. In describing the falls, Horowitz writes: “It was as if the world were ending here in a perpetual apocalypse of thundering water and spray rising like steam, the birds frightened away, and the sun blocked out. The walls that enclosed this raging deluge were jagged and harsh and as old as Rip Van Winkle.”
Another example of his interesting sentence structure and word choices is the way he conveys information regarding the person dredged from the water. Instead of simply telling us the man is dead, we are told: “The third man is tall and thin with a prominent forehead and sunken eyes which might view the world with a cold malevolence and cunning were there any life in them at all.”
One segment, that I understand is necessary to propel the plot forward, disturbs me. Jones finds a note in the bloated dead man’s wet jacket pocket. How is it that the ink has not faded?
Had the paper been typed and not handwritten this evidence might not have removed me from the storyline. But instead of continuing to read, I was left to ponder how, after a spill from the fall’s height and sloshing around prior to being found, that this paper would still be pristine enough to read, and its cryptic contents capable of being deciphered.
This was the only issue I had with this novel.
The narrator/chronicler sprinkled hints throughout, but skillfully placed wording masked their true meaning. I never saw this end coming.
A definite must read, especially for a Conan Doyle fan.
Susan Piazza, a Navy veteran, is an author, columnist, and blogger. Book One in her Ongoing Indigenous Tale series, “A Bird Call That Isn’t,” can be found on Amazon at:
A Bird Call That Isn’t: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0829MHLRX
Her second book in the series, Destiny’s Daughter, will be out in 2023.◊