Riju Ganguly's Reviews > Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

Professor Moriarty by Kim Newman
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Oct 18, 11

Read from October 16 to 18, 2011

Wise men (and women) have considered literature as mirror of society. That presupposition inevitably leads to several pesky questions, one among of them being: "who is getting reflected into whom"? If the Victorian world seen through the eyes of that faithful Army Pensioner and highly respectable Dr. Watson of 221B Baker Street and presented as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is the 'real' thing, then the 'virtual' must be this book: the view from Conduit Street, as depicted by Colonel Sebastian 'Basher' Moran. In every imaginable (and unimaginable) manner, Kim Newman creates this unique 'inverted' world that is known (with tantalising glimpses of the 'real' world and comfortably known things mentioned in the said "Adventures" and numerous other exploits of heroes and anti-heroesand) yet unknown and horrifying, repelling and fascinating, 'fun' and sombre. But let me mention the "bad-ventures" included in this book, and check if the titles rattle a few tumblers in the safe of your mind:

(*) Preface: the incidents that allow the unearthing of the manuscript, after the collapse of the "Box Brothers" where it had been kept.

1) Chapter One: A Volume in Vermilion: induction of Moran in Moriarty's orbit, and the prequel to "A Study in Scarlet".
2) Chapter Two: A Shambles In Belgravia: Irene Adler had not rubbed only ONE mastermind the wrong way, as you would know after reading this piece.
3) Chapter Three: The Red Planet League: Moriarty getting one over his arch-nemesis (no, NOT Holmes).
4) Chapter Four: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles: the most gothic & chilling story in this collection.
5) Chapter Five: The Adventure of the Six Maledictions: an one-line summary would be insulting for a story of this complexity, and yet so enjoyable. You better leave this story for a slow and relaxed reading, just to appreciate it over a long time.
6) Chapter Six: The Greek Invertebrate: a Moriarty family reunion, our first introduction to several enigmatic charatcers mentioned in other most memorable adventures (NO, I am NOT going to list them here, but this adventure also deserves your utmost attention), and our only look into Moriarty's childhood. And YES, THAT is utterly terrifying.
7) Chapter Seven: The Problem of the Final Adventure: a neat clearing-up of the mess created by "The Final Problem", "The Empty House" and the interpretations proposed by all & sundry, with an unexpected degree of seriousness, and the right amount of ambiguity at the last line, allowing us to draw our conclusion.

This book does not present Moriarty as a likeable fellow, going against Michael Kurland's conception. But it portrays a neglected and foot-noted character in brilliant & vivid shades: Colonel Moran himself. I can only pray that Da Man feels inspired enough to conjure a few more anecdotes from the pool of this narrator's memory, in whose presence all other narrators of Sherlockiana (& Moriartiana??) are bound to appear colourless. Highly recommended would be a huge understatement. Go, get the book!
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Reading Progress

10/16/2011 page 248
78.0% "Began this book today, while acting as observer in one of the Departmental examinations! Simply unputdownable, and devilishly enjoyable so far. One has to read this book to believe how terrific a pastiche can be created without invoking the name of Sherlock Holmes at all. If that sounds not even improbable, but altogether impossible, then I can only advise you to pick up this book, and get reading!"

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