Number of pages: 310
This is a book that I was keen to read for a while after I read about it.
To explain this one, I have to give some background, regarding the character of Professor James Moriarty, regarded as the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. For the benefit of any Sherlock Holmes newbies who might wish to read the books without being spoiled, I'll put this behind a spoiler cut, although what it reveals is quite well known. This is just a fail safe to make sure I don't get complaints.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Sherlock Holmes books, he decided to kill off his main character in a story called "The Final Problem". This story introduced Professor Moriarty, and ended with the apparent death of Holmes, plunging down the Reichenbach Falls in a struggle with Moriarty.
Following the public outcry, Doyle eventually resurrected Holmes, with the story "The Empty House". This book fills in some of the gap between the two adventures.
The story is certainly set within the canon of the Sherlock Holmes novels, only here the main characters are Frederick Chase and Athelnay Jones. Moriarty is apparently dead, which might make it seem strange that the book is named after him (you'll have to wait and see - it all becomes clear).
Following the discovery of a body believed to be that of Moriarty, Chase and Jones are required to track down a new criminal mastermind, who is now replacing Moriarty in his arch-villain role.
Right from the start, I found this book to be gripping, with sharp dialogue and well-rounded characters. I enjoyed the writing style, told in first person by Chase, and it gives a good sense of his personality right from the start. It also made the story feel very true to the original stories, which were mostly narrated in first person by Doctor Watson.
I enjoy reading any story of Sherlock Holmes, including versions by modern-day writers (Stephen King has also written a Sherlock short story, "The Doctor's Case"), and I loved the way that Anthony Horowitz made reference to other stories in the series (word of warning: there are a lot of spoilery references to "The Sign of Four"). I also loved the gritty way that London in the 1800s was portrayed.
I also loved the fact that, when it looked like things could go nowhere, the ending took me completely by surprise and also felt completely right and satisfying. It really is something you won't see coming.
The main story was followed up by a short story narrated by Doctor Watson, involving him and Holmes, which was loosely connected to the main story, and felt just as authentic.
Overall, I loved this book and now want to read Horowitz's Sherlock novel, "The House of Silk".
Next book: Why Christians Should Support Israel (Mike Evans)