A relentlessly fast-paced and entertaining read.

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Alias Chase and Jones

“Does anyone really believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls? A great many accounts have been written but it seems to me that all of them have left something to be desired – which is to say, the truth.”

Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard travels to Meiringen, Switzerland to view the body of one Professor James Moriarty, which has been pulled from the waters at the foot of the infamous Reichenbach Falls.

He is joined – unexpectedly – by a Mr Frederick Chase of the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency who has pursued Clarence Devereaux – a notorious New York criminal boss – across the Atlantic to a planned meeting with Moriarty. Together they return to London tracking their quarries’ last movements and known associates to a fateful nexus at the heart of the London underworld.

Horowitz first returned Holmes and Watson to us in “House of Silk”, a thrilling and complex adventure and a masterful addition to the canon. His next offering – “Moriarty” – remains within that canon but takes an intriguing sidestep, insofar as neither Holmes nor Watson appear at all within the story. Of course, Holmes could not, could he? having died in the icy waters of the same waterfall that claimed his nemesis Moriarty.

As it becomes clear that neither of our heroes will be taking part in this story, there is a mounting sense of disappointment. This does dispel to some degree as Jones and Chase take on the mantle of the famous detective and his faithful companion, however they are a pale imitation. Indeed perhaps too much of an imitation and it feels like Horowitz is trying a little too hard to fill Holmes & Watson’s boots.

Apart from this, this is a cracking yarn, written in an authentic Conan-Doylesquean voice and remaining true to ACD’s ideals. It’s a simple, linear tale – the original Holmes tales were a good deal simpler than one might have expected, following a standard formula: The Setup, The Hunt For Clues, A Chase Through The Streets of London (‘Hurry Watson! The game’s afoot!’) and The Denouement.

I spent much of the book predicting the sort of twists and turns that we were treated to in “House of Silk”. Being more a Watson than a Holmes, I failed spectacularly, although that’s not to say that the story doesn’t have a sting in the tail – a particularly delicious sting… but that would be telling.

 

Reviewed by:

Campbell McAulay

Added 26th June 2015

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Campbell McAulay

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