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"Does anyone really believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls?"

To some, this question will not have any special meaning. However, for fans of the immortal Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's canon of Holmes tales that continue to inspire imitation today, this question will allow them to reflect fondly on one of the most pivotal moments in the history of this fictional detective.

Allegedly, both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, plunged to their deaths at the Swiss waterfall known as the Reichenbach Falls. Fans realize that Holmes did not die but rather disappeared from sight for three years. Doyle's intention was to kill off his most famous character and move on to other tales. It was only due to the outpouring of rage from fans around the world that Doyle eventually revived Holmes and continued his stories.

"In the nimble hands of Anthony Horowitz, this mystery moves along at frightening speed and is a worthy entry in the continuing saga involving characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

The fate of Moriarty is not nearly as clear. Most feel he did indeed perish in the aftermath of his famous fall with Holmes. In Anthony Horowitz’s latest novel, MORIARTY, the action picks up just days after the Reichenbach Falls incident. Horowitz has visited this territory before as his previous novel, THE HOUSE OF SILK, was a Sherlock Holmes adventure. Horowitz's bio indicates that he may have committed more fictional murders than any other living author. In addition to his fiction work in print, he has achieved fame as the TV screenwriter of such series as “Midsomer Murders,” “Foyle's War” and various episodes of “Poirot.”

MORIARTY is voiced by a new narrator to the Holmes series: American Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase, who has arrived in London hot on the heels of a dangerous criminal mastermind known only as Clarence Devereaux. Word has it that Devereaux has traveled to the UK to fill the void left by Moriarty’s death. While no body has turned up for Holmes, there is one that appears to be Moriarty's as the water-sodden corpse had a letter of his in its coat pocket.

Chase has teamed up with Scotland Yard Detective Athelney Jones, who has competed with and against Holmes on previous cases. Chase and Jones get along well enough, but their pursuit of Devereaux has them running in circles. Brutal murders --- some involving groups of people --- are left in the wake of Devereaux and his criminal associates. Every time Chase and Jones get near to the truth, they are thwarted.

When an attack at Scotland Yard, apparently intended for Jones, rocks the area, it looks like the law is no match for this new evil. A visit to the U.S. legation, under the leadership of the late President Abraham Lincoln's eldest son, Robert, shows that Devereaux may be using the embassy for asylum --- even though none there claim to actually know the man. It is only when Jones' young daughter is kidnapped that he and Chase are impelled to square off against the faceless Devereaux. None will be the same after this confrontation.

While reading MORIARTY, it is easy to become so engaged in the tale that you forget the fact that the title character is nowhere to be seen. Or could he actually be operating right under everyone's nose? In the nimble hands of Anthony Horowitz, this mystery moves along at frightening speed and is a worthy entry in the continuing saga involving characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The novel wraps up with a serialized Strand Magazine story penned by Dr. John B. Watson, in which we get to enjoy a case worked by both Holmes and Jones that will portend the events within the book’s pages.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 12, 2014

by Anthony Horowitz