ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels

Moriarty, by John Gardner -- A Book Review

Updated on October 22, 2015
Source

Sherlock Holmes was known for many years as an unstoppable detective, almost supernaturally intelligent who could solve any case. However, every great protagonist needs an equally great antagonist. In the case of Holmes, that antagonist was the devious Professor James Moriarty.

Moriarty is back. It was thought that he died in a momentous fight with his arch-rival, Holmes, but in fact he merely went into hiding for a while. Moriarty travelled abroad, finally returning to his "family" in London. His once-great criminal empire has crumbled under the machinations of "Idle Jack" Idell, a crime boss whose primary trade is in children for prostitution. Idell managed to convince many of Moriarty's family that he was not coming back, causing a shift in loyalties for many. In the midst of piecing his massive crime family back together, Moriarty is faced with the daunting task of rooting out a spy in his inner circle. All signs indicate that the spy is one of his "Praetorian guard" made up of four extremely dangerous men whom Moriarty has laid his trust.

When the stories were first released, readers of Sherlock Holmes did not want to accept that this ingenious hero was, in fact, fiction. Holmes' death caused such an uproar that he was, under unlikely circumstances, resurrected. Along with this same theme, Gardner presents his story as a "non-fiction" chronicling of the life of Professor Moriarty based on the professor's diaries. The book is complete with in-text notes which serve to resolve the contradictions in the original Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as explain away differences between those stories and the one in this book.

Moriarty is the third in a proposed five books, preceded by The Return of Moriarty and The Revenge of Moriarty. This is the first of these books I've read, having happened upon it in a recent library trip. It seemed to do well as a standalone book, but I have heard that Moriarty veers from the path of the previous books and that there are considerable conflicts between the story of the first two and this third.

Since I haven't read those other two, I can't say anything personally about the continuity, though I can offer my commentary about the book itself. I went into this story with little expectation, having never heard of the author before, though I had hoped for an interesting supplement to the Holmes stories I enjoyed so much in my younger years.

For most, this book will likely not stand up to expectation. The first 50-75 pages were rough, difficult to follow and seemed thrown haphazardly together. Dialog between the characters seemed stilted and stereotypical. As I read on, I did get into the story a little better even though it started so slowly. The bulk of the book was easy to read and progressed fairly steadily, except as mentioned below.

The story itself was decent, though will undoubtedly raise the hackles of some die-hard Holmesians for its varied take on the story. The author does explain away much of this variation as Moriarty's "personal bias" in his diaries or in a variety of other ways. What bothered me most about the story is that there just isn't a whole lot there. It starts slow, remains a simple plot throughout, and then wraps up quickly in the last 40 pages.

Overall, this is not a bad book for a bit of empty-headed reading on a lazy weekend. If you're looking for any kind of literary stimulation, thrills or suspense, or any other such perks of reading, you may be disappointed. I enjoyed this book enough to check the library for the other two books to see if I can piece together more of the story that I may have missed, though will likely not pursue them if the library doesn't have them. My measure of a good book is one that makes me feel, this book did bring a tear to my eye once but otherwise really didn't do anything for me. It's not bad, but certainly far from a gem.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)