Last year I embarked on what must only be described as a formidable journey: I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes for the very first time and since I entered that rabbit hole I haven’t looked back since (apologises about the garbled metaphors). Not only did I ‘encourage’ my sister to go out and purchase The Complete Sherlock Holmes for my birthday, but Paul also got me onto the television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, a series which surprisingly, does credit to the books.

Unfortunately, although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did manage to rack up a number of stories starring Sherlock (even after he attempted to kill him off), alas, since he’s dead I assumed that no more were forthcoming. It was a grim moment.

And then I spotted this: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, which had surprisingly good reviews considering it was a ‘remake’ of sorts. Dare I dream? Does Sherlock Holmes live on?

Set days after Moriarty and Sherlock fall to their (apparent) deaths at the Reichenbach falls, Moriarty introduces American investigator Frederick Chase, who has travelled to England to uncover a group of criminals who wish to replace Moriarty. While in Switzerland he meets Inspector Athelney Jones, a man who had been previously spurned by Holmes and who has since dedicated his career to learning and perfecting Holmes’s deduction methods. The two men work together to uncover the sinister man who is trying to take Moriarty’s place in London’s criminal underworld.

Written in a style similar to Conan Doyle, Horowitz has successfully created the traits of Sherlock Holmes’s stories that make them so compelling. Longer than many of Conan Doyle’s stories, Moriarty had enough twists and turns to keep me entertained throughout – a not-so-easy task with a crime novel, particularly one set at the turn of the 20th century.

Of course, the most amazing thing is that Horowitz pulls off a Sherlock Holmes novel without it being trite or coming across as a money-making scheme. In fact, if the name on the cover had been Arthur Conan Doyle, I probably wouldn’t have suspected that it wasn’t written by him. From the perspective of someone who has read way too many ‘modern day spin-off’s’ (Jane Austen springs to mind) and who had been, at best, disappointed and, at worst, horrified, it was a welcome relief. And while the writing style was a large aspect of this, it was also Horowitz’s ability to describe aspects of 20th century London, dress and customs that made it authentic. His inclusions of Inspector Athelney Jones as a Holmes-obsessed detective worked as a plausible back story and he even brought up and explained aspects of the original Sherlock stories that were slightly lacking.

However, there was one aspect of Moriarty that stopped it from being its very best – it didn’t have Sherlock Holmes in it! While I enjoy his detective skills, descriptions of London and the partnership between him and Dr Watson, it is Sherlock himself that makes the books such a pleasure to read. Obnoxious, condescending and yet so very likeable, his presence is what takes Conan Doyle’s stories from entertaining to truly memorable.

If you’re a Sherlock nut like myself, then definitely pick up Moriarty. Not only is it entertaining as heck, but it would do Conan Doyle proud. I personally can’t wait to pick up Horowitz’s first foray into the world of Sherlock – a book I am sure you’ll soon hear me raving about!

Have you read Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz? Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes? Let me know!

moriarty by anthony horowitz

Moriarty – (image taken from http://www.ladyfancifull.files.wordpress.com)

Advertisements