By Charles Veley
Rating: 3.5/5 Stairs
Publication Date: 19 May 2015
There is a phrase used by a local radio talk show host that comes to mind as I am getting ready to write this review of The Last Moriarty. He says, “Tell me where you sit before you tell me where you stand.” I feel like before I write my review of this book I need to let you know where I sit with Sherlock, especially for any Sherlock-purists who may read this.
The original Sherlock stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are classics. I think there are some readers who feel like people shouldn’t mess with a good thing. That is, leave Sherlock in the hands of Doyle and not to modern authors who continue to tell Sherlock stories. I personally love Sherlock – I love the idea of this brilliant detective who solves terrific crimes based on the tiniest clues. I love film and television adaptations (you don’t want to get me started on the love I have for BBC Sherlock). I have only read one original Sherlock story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. I know the basics of the Sherlock canon, but not necessarily all the specifics. I enjoy reading contemporary author’s take on Sherlock. I am not particularly bothered if the language doesn’t feel quite right to the original, or if they try writing in a completely unexpected way. If they take liberties with the Sherlock canon I probably am blissfully unaware, unless it is something big.
The Last Moriarty takes place four years after Holmes and Professor Moriarty had their final showdown at the Reichenbach Falls. Watson is back at 221B Baker Street with Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson. Apparently, Watson has not yet published his next story to let the world know Holmes is still alive, so Holmes is a bit incognito.
“I should like to have more facts before making a hypothesis. You know my methods.”
The Last Moriarty sticks with the formula of the original Sherlock and is told from Watson’s perspective. Mr. Veley has Holmes investigating a few cases at once, but of course they all have ties to each other. The plot moves quickly. Mr. Veley does a great job in capturing the essence of the original characters, while adding his own characters into the mix. I liked how he included real historical figures in his plot as well.
While I enjoyed the book, there were a few things that I didn’t like. I felt that sometimes Holmes made a leap that seemed impossible (and ultimately correct) and the author really didn’t supply compelling reasoning for the deduction. I also felt that there were some personal revelations that seemed out of character. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Overall this was a fun outing with Sherlock Holmes. At the end it seemed to me like Mr. Veley may be setting the characters up for the next book, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.