The hidden life of Sherlock Holmes’s most famous adversary is reimagined and revealed by the finest crime writers today.
Some of literature’s greatest supervillains have also become its most intriguing antiheroes—Dracula, Hannibal Lecter, Lord Voldemort, and Norman Bates—figures that capture our imagination. Perhaps the greatest of these is Professor James Moriarty. Fiercely intelligent and a relentless schemer, Professor Moriarty is the perfect foil to the inimitable Sherlock Holmes, whose crime-solving acumen could only be as brilliant as Moriarty’s cunning.
While “the Napoleon of crime” appeared in only two of Conan Doyle’s original stories, Moriarty’s enigma is finally revealed in this diverse anthology of thirty-seven new Moriarty stories, reimagined and retold by leading crime writers such as Martin Edwards, Jürgen Ehlers, Barbara Nadel, L. C. Tyler, Michael Gregorio, Alison Joseph and Peter Guttridge. In these intelligent, compelling stories—some frightening and others humorous—Moriarty is brought back vividly to new life, not simply as an incarnation of pure evil but also as a fallible human being with personality, motivations, and subtle shades of humanity.
Filling the gaps of the Conan Doyle canon, The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty is a must-read for any fan of the Sherlock Holmes’s legacy.
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Few stories in this Sherlockian anthology do full justice to its intriguing concept of elevating the ur-criminal mastermind to a central role. Bizarre events are common (e.g., transplanting a dog's eyes into a human), and purple prose mars too many tales, such as Lavie Tidhar's "Dynamics of an Asteroid," which inserts Moriarty into H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds: after the professor's banker, no less than Ebenezer Scrooge himself, is tortured by the aliens, Moriarty screams, "Step away from my banker's body, you Marsian bodysnatcher!" Still, there are some impressive entries. Martin Edwards is successful at pitting Mycroft against the Napoleon of crime in "The Case of the Choleric Cotton Broker"; Keith Moray plausibly speculates in "The Fulham Strangler" that Moriarty would have had a mole inside the Baker Street Irregulars; and G.H. Finn's "The Perfect Crime" cleverly supports its title. This volume serves to highlight the difficulties of fleshing out Moriarty, who's more of a shadowy concept than a three-dimensional character.