Moriarty

Any Sherlock fan will want to read this book. Horowitz received the approval of the Conan Doyle Estate for this story, thus the seal at the top of the cover. The book was first published in 2014 and follows The House of Silk, a Sherlock novel.

Moriarty is not a Sherlock novel but is written in Doyle’s style to explain what really happened at Reichenbach Falls. The person telling the story is a Pinkerton agent from New York who teams up with an Inspector from Scotland Yard to track down Clarence Devereux, the American version of Moriarty.

They first meet over the body of a man fished out of the river. the Inspector determines that the body is that of Moriarty. They discover a note written in code asking for a meeting between Moriarty and Devereux in two days time.

That note sends them on the chase after Devereux. Along the way, they investigate the mysterious and brutal deaths of a household of Devereux lieutenants. They chase two more lieutenants before the inspector and agent face certain death at Devereux’s hand.

Horowitz is a master craftsman of mysteries and thrillers. He created and wrote one of my favorite TV series (on PBS in the US), Foyle’s War. He wrote episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid, all British shows and many shown on PBS. Alex Rider is his most successful book series. There are many others that you can look up.

If you want to know how to write a mystery, Horowitz is a great author to study. He uses many styles to achieve the same end: to keep us reading. For this book, he channeled Canon Doyle. For the Rider series, he writes action like Die Hard. In Foyle’s War, DCI Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen) was so low key you might suspect he had no clue, but then his eyes would open a bit, or look around the room, and you knew he knew. Horowitz maintained our attention by dangling many story bits in front of us, without much action, and then have Foyle make the arrest.

Back to Moriarty. It is a great read. The ending was a shocker, but not out of character.

Mike Lawrence

The Cater Street Hangman

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected a cozy, or possibly a Holmes imitation. Not having read Anne Perry before, I did not realize that she believes in character development.

Characters are as important as plot. I have read some books that are all plot and they always leave a sense of incompleteness, even when it gives a good read otherwise. Frankly, I struggle with character development, so I need to read more of Perry and others who create whole human beings for their stories.

I will warn you not to make a judgment on the first chapter. It is all about character development.  We meet Charlotte and her whole family in their natural world of a well-to-do family in Victorian London. My thinking as I read it was: I don’t need to know so much about the married older sister and her less successful husband who live in the house; the younger sister who is out to catch a man and keep him; the caring mother; or the stern father who rules the house.

But all that information was important, none of it was a waste of my time. Every detail provided clues as early as the first chapter about how the story might end. Even so, I was well along before I began to suspect the right person.

I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed following the complex lives of Ellison family.

Mike Lawrence