Review: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

MoriartyAHPublished by: Orion
ISBN: 1409109488
ISBN 13: 9781409109488
Published: October 2014
Pages: 310
Format reviewed:Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
Related Reviews: 
The House of Silk (Sherlock Holmes, #1)

‘Moriarty’ by Anthony Horowitz is the second in his Sherlock Holmes series, though they aren’t connected in any ‘series’ sense, meaning you can pick up either independently of the other, and read in any order you choose. Horowitz may be well known to you, as the BAFTA-award winner creator of Foyle’s War and Midsummer Murders, or as the adapter of many Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels for television. He has written over fifty novels, possibly most well-known for the very popular Alex Rider series.

As I said in my review of the first novel, as a great lover of the original books as well as the many television series ranging from Rathbone and Brett to the latest series by Moffat and Gatiss, I felt I had sampled enough of the range on offer to wonder how could anyone live up to the greatness that was Doyle and the classics. Sherlock Holmes is possibly one of the biggest and long-running fandoms around, with so many adaptions and even so many well-known names in the fandom world, what could this mean for someone to have been given approval by the Sherlock Holmes estate to do so?

I was cautious mainly because approval isn’t everything. The Guy Ritchie movie starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law is enjoyable, yet not always true to the canon and certain aspects certainly have an American feel to them, purely to engage the paying audience.

Despite my caution and, to be honest, nitpicking throughout the book, I discovered while reading the first book that Anthony Horowitz is worthy of the estate’s approval. I was ready with a notebook and pen to mark down any changes to canon or, dare I say ‘mistakes’, and yet all I noted was that Lestrade has finally been given a first name (George) and really, that was it. The House of Silk was an excellent, engaging read and I then proceeded to throw it at everyone I could, spreading the enjoyment – more Sherlock Holmes goodness to have, and it’s actually a damn good book! Sick and twisted to be sure, but written in such an excellent way. Back then I concluded my review to say I hoped he’d write another, and now, three years on, we’ve been gifted with exactly that.

Moriarty opens from the view if a man known as Frederick Chase, a senior investigator from America from a firm known as Pinkertons. He has come to Reichenbach for reasons fans will know well, and it’s here that he meets a fellow from Scotland Yard – Athelney Jones – an ardent fan of Sherlock Holmes who is becoming quite an excellent member of the police thanks to his faithful learning of our favourite detective.

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, while referenced in this novel, aren’t seen. Sherlock has recently tumbled over the falls, and the body of Moriarty has been found with a coded note.

They join forces as they follow criminals Chase has followed from America, and from here we have an excellent plot that has a detailed and complex set of observations that is reminiscent of Doyle himself yet again. There is a wide cast of characters, some from the canon (such as Lestrade once more, among others), and also criminals we know from the canon also – these are varied and act in their own manner, something that Horowitz has pulled off well. Surely it would be hard to make them seem individual whilst also evil and thuggish – they’d all sound the same after a while – yet in this they all have their own voice and mannerisms, which should be noted.

This book was hard to put down. At 300 pages it’s of decent length and I read it in two sittings – and then only because I started it too late to stay up through the night reading, as I would have preferred to do.

The ending of this novel certainly took me by surprise, in the ‘want to throw the book at the wall’ sense, which doesn’t happen often! As crime novels go it certainly succeeds in the requirement that the reader is trying to solve everything also – if you can tell what’s going to happen next then a crime novel is dull and boring. That’s certainly not the case here.

It seems there is also a short story available – 27 pages long, The Three Monarchs (Sherlock Holmes #1.5) but other than that, no word about whether there’ll be a third book. We can only hope.


3 thoughts on “Review: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

  1. I just finished this book, and one thing is really bugging me: do you have any guesses about who the coughing man was in the room next to Chase’s room? He is mentioned several times, but all that is said is that he isn’t Sherlock Holmes…

    • A few friends and I have been discussing this one! Half of us reckon it was Holmes, and that Chase is simply assuming as always that he knows more than Holmes does in this part.

      Half of us aren’t sure, and one is reading through the book again taking notes on all the side characters and mentions and such.

      I reckon it was Holmes after all though – coughing from his near death in the water and undertaking the work he does in his years of absence. (But then I’m always wrong with guessing who’s done what in mysteries!)

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