The World After Reichenbach Falls

Moriarty: A Novel, by Anthony Horowitz, (Harper), 304 pages, released December 9, 2014

One of the big questions for fans of Sherlock Holmes is the events of the three-year gap between the “death” of Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls and the Great Detective’s reappearance three years later. Anthony Horowitz, author of Moriarty, gives us a glimpse of this time, the first few weeks after Reichenbach when the disappearance of Holmes and Moriarty has left a gap at the peak of London’s criminal world.

Crime in London is spiking, becoming more violent and less “honorable.” A Pinkerton agent called Frederick Chase, recently arrived in London, may know why: he’s on the trail of American crime boss Clarence Devereux, who originally planned to partner with Moriarty and now hopes to take control of Moriarty’s criminal network. Chase finds himself partnered with Inspector Athelney Jones—a figure who appeared in several of the original Holmes stories and who has enthusiastically studied Holmes’ methods.

Watching (if reading can be described as watching) these two men build a relationship of increasing trust and grapple with crimes of international importance (before the book is over, they’ll have met Robert Todd Lincoln, the U.S. legate to Britain) is a delight. Jones is the quicker of the two, reading signs that Chase misses, but Chase is the more athletic. Eventually, these two men find themselves discussing the possibility of setting up their own consulting detective agency to fill the gap left by Holmes’ death.

Horowitz is a master of the just-one-more-chapter style of writing that makes a good detective novel so hard to put down. He parcels out information bit by bit, simultaneously feeding his readers and keeping them hungry.

If you’re a fan of Holmes, you’ll want to read Moriarty and start piecing together the tale of a London that’s lost the Great Detective.