Anthony Harowitz breathed new life into the literary world of Sherlock Holmes back in 2011 with The House Of Silk, and later this year he’ll be doing it again for the Arthur Conan-Doyle series in his new novel, Moriarty. With BBC’s Sherlock still a firm favourite the world over, Holmes is more popular than ever, but the character seemingly ruled out of the new book, does it stand as much of a chance of success as Harowitz’s first entry.
The hardback release of Moriarty has been confirmed for the 23rd October 2014, so it’s setting itself up to be one of the big literary gift options in the run up to Christmas and the winter holidays. However, if the success of the first book is anything to go by, we’re expecting the new work to build a lot of anticipation in the build up to its release, irrespective of the synopsis’ talk of the end of Holmes and he beginnings of new investigative hero in London.
The story takes place just a matter of days after the climactic fall that sent Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. The events coincide with the arrival of Pinkerton agent, Frederick Chase, in Europe just as the void left by Holmes and Moriarty’s departure starts to congeal into a ball of acrid criminal frenzy and spawn a new mastermind for the authorities, and world at large, to face.
With Holmes out of the picture, Chase finds himself thrown in at the deep end, with a little help from Scotland Yard’s young radical, Inspector Athelney Jones, who has devoted his study to the investigative methods of deduction of Sherlock Holmes. However, the duo will be on the back foot throughout as they try to pull together the pieces of the puzzle in the heart of London’s darkest corners to find the feared and enshrouded man behind the series of murders and general mayhem that have engulfed the capital city.
It’s a refreshing slant on the series from the bestselling writer, and a brave one to rule Holmes and Moriarty out of the sequel quite so boldly in the book’s synopsis. However, if you know your Arthur Conan-Doyle you should probably rule nothing out if you’re planning on reading the book when it’s released in October.
Harowitz, who’s perhaps most famous for the creation of Foyle’s War, did an impressive job of bringing Holmes back in a literary sense, but in Moriarty he’s got the more difficult task of making it through without him, but still maintaining the feel of the origins of the story. It’s no mean feet for the writer, but a lot will ride on the construction of the central characters, which have once again been inspired by their appearance in the Conan-Doyle series. If he can turn them into an effective team, while also delivering a sinister focal point in the new protagonist, then it could be another big release.