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Literature / Moriarty

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Moriarty is the second Sherlock Holmes story by Anthony Horowitz which, oddly, doesn't feature the detective at all.

Set immediately after the events at the Reichenbach Falls, American detective Frederick Chase arrives searching for an American crime-boss: the mysterious Clarence Devereux.

With Moriarty dead, a power vacuum has been left in England's underworld allowing Devereux to smoothly fill the void, leaving Chase only a small window of opportunity to apprehend the villain before he disappears back into the safety of anonymity. Joining Chase is Inspector Athelney Jones, a follower of Holmes' methods, who won't allow such evil to fester in his homeland unabated.


Tropes found in Moriarty:

  • Absence of Evidence: Even after finding Devereux's lieutenants, Chase and Jones have nothing on them that connects them to wrong-doing.
  • Adaptational Nationality: During the book various details of Professor Moriarty's life are brought to light by the man himself directly informing the reader including the fact that he is Irish. While Moriarty being part or entirely Irish has always been a common fan theory - 'Moriarty' was and is a common Irish surname but was almost unknown in England and Conan Doyle, himself of Irish descent, would have known this - in the canon his nationality isn't commented upon beyond the implication that he's not 'foreign'.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Moriarty describes his friendship with the late Jonathan Pilgrim in terms that are at least easy to interpret as romantic.
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  • Ascended Fan Boy: Athelney Jones is this to Sherlock Holmes.
  • Asshole Victim: It would perhaps be easier to give a list of people who died that weren't completely irredeemable. That said, Scotchy Lavelle's torture was enough to maybe give you a tinge of sorrow.
  • Audience Surrogate: Chase plays the Watson to Jones' Holmes. Emphasis "plays", as both are assuming a role.
  • Call-Forward: When all the Scotland Yard inspectors are discussing their experiences with Holmes, the youngest, Stanley Hopkins, comments that he never met Holmes and wishes he had. He gets his wish following Holmes's return, appearing in three stories.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Jones is told to meet in an old one that has being disused.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Chase sent in Jonathan Pilgrim to be Leland Mortlake's "traveling companion."
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Perry manages to get into Scotland Yard by pretending to be a delivery boy.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Leland Mortlake.
  • Detective Drama: Well, Detective and Inspector Drama at any rate.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Chase certainly thinks this about Leland Mortlake; he used this against him to get Pilgrim into his inner circle.
    • When the duo go to interview him for a second time, he's found with a good-looking boy kneeing down before him. The only remark he makes is "don't you knock?" before putting everything back in.
  • Even Evil Has Standards Moriarty is completely shocked and unprepared for the vicious American crime-lords.
    "...They were not gentlemen. They were Americans. They paid not the slightest attention to the rules of sportsmanship and civility..."
  • Evil Vegetarian: Clarance Devereux has been a vegetarian since his childhood, and is very vocal about it.
  • Dramatic Irony: Your average reader might easily suspect the forces working against Devereux's organization and the police are the remains of Moriarty's organization, especially when bad guys start dying to silenced shots, like from Moran's famous air rifle.
  • Evil All Along: Chase is really Moriarty who has faked his death and is stringing Jones along for his own reasons.
  • Evil Counterpart: The entire book is Moriarty's investigation of Devereux's organization while pretending to be dead, which is his version of what Holmes investigating Moriarty's organization while pretending to be dead. He even notes the odd coincidence; they both faked their deaths using the same event, though Holmes ascended while Moriarty descended.
  • Faking the Dead: Sherlock Holmes is busy doing this following his battle with Professor Moriarty, which is why he's only mentioned in the story. In the end, it turns out that Moriarty had the same idea...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As "Chase" points out after The Reveal, "whose name is on the cover?" Turns out he's actually Moriarty.
    • Jones assumes the role of Holmes. Why wouldn't his Watson also be assuming the role?
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Although Devereux and his organization have committed tons of horrific crimes, they aren't actually guilty of the murders of Lavelle and his household or the bombing of Scotland Yard and protest as much to the authorities.
  • Hidden Weapons:
    • Edgar has one hidden up his sleeve that he uses to great effect. Of course Perry is never without a blade of some sort that seems to magically appear in his hand.
    • Jones has a special cane that doubles as a one shot gun.
  • Handicapped Badass: Jones is a middle-aged man with an ailing condition that rears up any time he does anything more than a gentle walk. He still manages some surprising athletic feats though.
  • Hidden Villain: Perry's mysterious benefactor.
  • Karma Houdini: Moriarty. He survives his battle with Sherlock Holmes, kills many of Devereux's associates, bombs Scotland Yard, kills Jones, and has plans to take over Devereux's organization in America.
  • Loony Fan: As revealed by Jones' wife, after his humiliation by Holmes/Watson and subsequent mental breakdown and physical illness, Jones started keeping a Stalker Shrine to Holmes and his cases and attempted to model himself as the equal of Holmes down to assuming his personality traits.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • Jones, following on from Holmes, is this; forcing Chase to dress up as a sailor so they could easily scout out the docks without being noticed. Although as it's later noted he's not as good as he seems, as Chase tried hard not to laugh at Jones' costume.
    • Moriarty is one as well, being noted to have used make up and shoes with lifts in order to create the unnerving appearance described by Watson in contrast with his actual more normal look. Also, despite being Anglo-Irish and having lived his entire life in Ireland or England, he convincingly passes himself off as an American detective.
  • Mister Big: When Clarence Devereaux finally makes an appearance, he turns out to be a surprisingly small man, who Chase compares to the puppet Jones bought for his daughter. He's also small enough to be packed in a steamer trunk.
  • Necessarily Evil: Moriarty is fully aware of the evil acts he has committed; he says that he is "not a monster, but chance compelled (him) to do monstrous things".
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After the final reveal Chase recaps the events of the book explaining how it pieces together.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Chase, which explains the international focus of his investigations. Several characters both British and American also bring up the Agency's less savory associations as an unethical and often violent group of strike-breakers. Chase invariably protests that he has had no involvement in these kind of activities. Which is completely true since Chase is not actually a real Pinkerton Detective.
  • Red Herring: The coughing man Chase mentions several times, apparently nothing to do with anything.
    • That being said, Chase suspects it's Sherlock Holmes.
    • One might easily think Holmes assumed the identity of Athelney Jones - an actual minor character from the Holmes Canon - to act while he's supposed to be dead. This is swiftly disproven, however.
  • Sherlock Scan: When Jones first meets Chase he performs one of these.
  • Slasher Smile: Perry has one of these when ever he has his blade out. Made even worse by the fact he's only around 14.
  • Torture Cellar: Underneath a meat market is where the Mortlakes perform their "interrogations."
  • Unreliable Narrator: There's an undercurrent of this throughout the novel, underscored by the fact that Chase always tells the reader what he said but less often what he thought at a particular time. The novel is called Moriarty for a reason...
  • Victorian London: The bulk of the book is set in 1881 London.
  • The Watson: Chase is one to Jones, and even lampshades the extent to which he doesn't do much detecting of his own and acts as a soundboard to Jones. This is mostly an act to humor Jones, although Moriarty/Chase does genuinely admire Jones' deductive skills.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A big one occurs at the end between Jones and Chase. Jones really wanted to set up that detective agency together.
    "Jones looked at me and I think I saw shock, dismay and finally resignation pass through his eyes."
  • Wicked Cultured:
    • It's not clear how much this is genuine interest, but Devereux and his organization fund a lot of civic and cultural institutions as part of maintaining a Villain with Good Publicity with their names.
    • As per usual, Moriarty is presented in this light, being a mathematical genius and reading untranslated German philosophers for fun.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Athelney Jones thinks that he's in a conventional Sherlock Holmes novel with Frederick Chase as The Watson. Unfortunately, Chase is really The Chessmaster, and as he reminds the reader towards the end, the title of this manuscript is important.


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