(A Sherlock Holmes novel)
Fiction, Historical Fiction/Mystery
DESCRIPTION: At Reichenbach Falls, detective Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, had a most fateful meeting, one that sent shockwaves through both law enforcement and criminal networks around the world. For one American, Pinkerton agency inspector Frederick Chase, the timing couldn't be worse. An American criminal mastermind named Clarence Devereux - every bit as powerful as Moriarty, if a good deal less scrupulous - had been about to meet the late professor to negotiate a pooling of resources. Devereux is already in London, and has already killed one Pinkerton agent who came too close, and Chase has no intention of losing the trail now - not with Moriarty's death creating a vacuum in European crime just made for a scoundrel like Devereux to fill. With the help of Scotland Yard detective Athelney Jones, who has devoted himself obsessively to studying the late Holmes's techniques, he sets out to bring the man to justice.
REVIEW: After Horowitz's impressive Holmes novel The House of Silk, I was eager to read this work. On the whole, it maintains the feel and style of that earlier book, creating a tangled mystery that might have baffled Sherlock himself in a London straight out of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works. Some characters from the great detective's career come into play. Athelney Jones himself was mentioned twice in Doyle's works, always as a bumbler overlooking obvious facts; here, he is shown to be a man determined never to come in second-best to Holmes again, even after the man's death, even adopting the detective's mannerisms. Chase tends to be the Watson of the pair, someone for Jones to impress and explain his observations to. The tale takes many twists, often bloody, on its way to the grand finale... and it is this finale, unfortunately, that dropped Moriarty in the ratings. I don't deal in spoilers, but I found the final reveal rather unsatisfying, not to mention frustrating. Aside from that, I considered it a decent read, but I preferred The House of Silk.
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