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Book Review : Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (Orion Books)

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One of the UK’s most successful writers and screenwriters, Anthony Horowitz returns to the world of 19th century London and the world of Sherlock Holmes with his new novel Moriarty.

The novel is set a few days after the events at the Reichenbach Falls which resulted in the death of Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty.  The death of Moriarty creates an opportunity for other criminals to fill the criminal mastermind vacuum in London and Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase travels to London in pursuit of a new criminal mastermind with murderous intentions.

Chase also travels to the Reichenbach Falls pondering on the death of Holmes and Moriarty and relates his meeting with Detective Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard in the crypt of St Michael’s church in Meiringen, within the crypt lies the body of James Moriarty.

Chase informs Athelney Jones that although one criminal mastermind may be dead, another American criminal mastermind had relocated in London and was planning to extend his corrupt empire. Altheney Jones, a student of Holmes’ methods of detection and Frederick Chase eventually  decide to form an alliance to fight the new mysterious mastermind. Chase proposed a toast ‘ To the capture of  ‘Clarence Devereux’ and ‘to the two of us, Scotland Yard and Pinkerton’s working together. ‘

What follows is a series of incidents that lead our heroes deeper into the darkest corners of the capital hunting for the shadowy mysterious figure of Clarence Devereux and his associates.  Some savage murders shock the two detectives, Chase arriving at the scene to an awaiting Altheney Jones remarks  ‘ his face – pale and disgusted – warned me that this was a scene of horror which he , with all his experience, had never encountered before’.

A dinner with the Altheney Jones in Camberwell gives Chase some insight into the Detective Inspectors character when Mrs Altheney Jones confides that it was her husbands failure to impress Sherlock Holmes in their meetings that drove him on to try to replicate Holmes’ success.

However as body count rises and the net closes, the ghosts of Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty pervade the ongoing developments  leading to a shocking denouement.

Anthony Horowitz manages to create an homage to the world of Conan Doyle’s ‘great detective’, but also produces a thrilling plot with a series of twist and turns. Followers of the original Holmes stories will be familiar with a number of characters  that reappear in this book which add to the sense that the Victorian world of Holmes is being recreated faithfully.

However for all the Holmes’ references, it is the unlikely partnership of Altheney Jones and Frederick Chase that is central to this intriguing mystery. The different approaches of the Pinkerton man and the Holmes’ disciple compliment each other and provide considerable impetus in the investigations. An ingenious touch is that Altheney Jones himself features in a couple of Holmes’ stories, one real and one invented and featured at the end of the book.

This book will appeal to the many Holmes aficionado’s  but can also be read as an exciting and fast-moving thriller, Howowitz brings all his writing  and dramatic skills to structure a well paced, intricately plotted and knowledgable book that will delight and surprise in equal measure.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

if you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Orion website here

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