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Moriarty (Professor Moriarty, #3)
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(Professor Moriarty #3)

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  60 reviews
John Gardner's Moriarty is a posthumous novel, and that is a shame -- for several reasons. One, because it is the last book we will see from one of the most protean of crime thriller writers, a man who made a mark in a variety of different genres and whose prolific output never suffered a slackening of quality (as was the case with so many of his contemporaries and predece ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 10th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1974)
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  404 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Readable, not not something I'd recommend. The novel didn't really capture the sense of Holmesian Victorian London that I was hoping for and it seemed to rely too heavily on a mixture of fan-ish interpretations of the inconsistencies in Conan-Doyle's short stories and an ill-conceived notion that quoting lyrics from the popular songs of the day would somehow create a sense of authentic atmosphere. As a piece of fan-fiction, it's a decent enough attempt; as a professional novel I felt it fell far ...more
Apr 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Whew. This was not good. Posthumous, perhaps. I think it was not edited before being released. Our protagonist is a bad guy, but once that's been developed we find the guys against him are child slavers and "baby farmers" (wtf?). There are hundreds of period songs injected seemingly at random into the text, and no suspense created before major plot advancements. Truly weak work. No Sherlock, and NOT in the style of ACD.

May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery

SHERLOCK HOLMES FANS DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. It's crap--one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Admittedly Sherlock & related pastiches are always a gamble, & this book was a losing one. There is only the thinnest of plot lines thru the entire novel, & Gardner endlessly introduces character after character, while only developing Moriarty himself. Furthermore, Mr. Gardner seems much too fond of prurient sexual topics & descriptions, many of which would have made his 007 b
Stuart Douglas
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The big list of Stuff I Like includes Doctor Who, David Bowie, historical fiction, seventies telly and classic crime novels (a combination of all of these in one would be the perfect product for me). So I'm inclined to be attracted to things like John Gardener's 'Moriarty', the third and final book in a series which tracks the career of Sherlock Holmes' nemesis after he (allegedly) survived his encounter with the Great detective at the Reichenbach Falls.

Don't be put off by the fact this is the e
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The very meaty story of Moriarty's return to London and his attempt to regain his influence as the crime emperor of The Big Smoke. Be prepared. Found it rather uncomfortable at times.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not badly written, but this book has no redeeming message. There is no good force battling against evil, only two evil forces each seeking to gain control over the underworld. Moriarty has returned to London only to find that his nemesis Idle Jack has been taking over his enterprise bit by bit. Through threats, bribery, and terror he wins back and controls the various fear-stricken boys, men, and women who work for him in order to survive. There is some effort to humanize Moriarty, but it is les ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Continuation of Arthur Conan Doyle's arch-villain Moriarty, who apparently died with Sherlock Holmes when both plunged over the edge of the falls in a case mid-career when Doyle was trying to kill off the fictional Holmes and take his writing career in a different direction. Foiled in this attempt by his demanding public (see The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Holmes brought Moriarty back, and provided some additional detail to create a master criminal whose ow ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
So wanted to like this, but I simply couldn't. I spent well over a week with this, and given that I am normally a very speedy reader, it was so disappointing that I found it very, very difficult to enjoy this. The characters seemed stilted and forced, Moriarty himself was more like a supervillain of the comic variety (not as in funny but as in strip cartoon mode), seemingly invincible and rather more like a Mafia boss. Gardner has researched the period impeccably but the actual plot of Idle Jack ...more
Brad McKenna
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Everytime I see a book about Sherlock Holmes, or in this case his nemesis, I have to pick it up. I just wish I picked up the first book in this series first. Not that I couldn't follow along, it's just I'm not used to footnotes in non-classical fiction.

This book Moriarty does battle with a new kingpin, Idle Jack, who encroached on The Professor's territory whilst he was away. We see Jack only thrice in the whole book and the main action centers around Moriarty trying to find the mole in his "fa
Marthe Bijman
Sep 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
John Gardner established himself by writing spin-offs of another more famous literary character, James Bond. It takes a special skill to avoid odious comparisons to the original author and Gardner does not always distinguish himself. In “Moriarty”, he starts the novel by an attempt at authentication, describing the unearthing of the original journals of Prof. Moriarty, in a style reminiscent of the announcement of the “Hitler Diaries” in 1983. The problem is of course, that Moriarty was a fictio ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting reading... Moriarty as a Victorian-era Godfather. Don't expect any adventures with Holmes; this novel focuses squarely on his nemesis, James Moriarty and his numerous dark adventures. The book wrapped up with something of a let-down, almost as if Gardner was nearing the bell on a timed essay. That aside, a good, fast story that will leave you very grateful you weren't there in person.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Almost. The plot is great, the characters interesting and full-bodied, and Moriarty is one of the most interesting characters in the entire world of fiction. Sadly, the author's need to show off his research into the era's slang stilts dialogue and detracts from the plot. The end result is choppy writing and poor flow in an otherwise enjoyable book.
Kay Robart
Jun 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
A book about Professor Moriarty without Sherlock Holmes? That's not the only disappointment in this dull novel that features brutish and uninteresting characters.

See my complete review here:
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
eh, I just don't see the point of a book set in the Sherlock Holmes universe, but lacking an appearance by Holmes himself.

The book itself was kind of slow-moving, especially compared to Conan Doyle's stories and books. There just wasn't enough dramatic tension.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
OK but nothing to write home about. Probably the death of the author had something to do with the abrupt ending. He was planning a 4th book in this series but didn't make it. Unless you were a fanatic about reading variations on the Sherlock theme - I wouldn't bother.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
slow slow slow
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Not worth the effort; quite cartoonish characters and plot - Moriarty would not be pleased, Holmes would have used it to light his pipe.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
A very badly written book. The only thing that kept me going was the semi-interesting plot.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Apart from having no real, three-dimensional characters, no plot arc, and nothing for the reader to care about, there’s nothing wrong with this book.

That said, here are the biggest annoyances in the book:

- There is nothing at stake. Moriarty is never in anything resembling real danger, and (despite what characters say), it doesn’t seem that he’s lost much of his criminal empire, and merely returning to London is all it takes to regain that. Since he seems to have superhuman abilities and fanati
Feb 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book, for me, was a choppy, clunky, uneven slog. The backstory given to Moriarty is so outside of what I understand from the Doyle books as to be completely ludicrous. There are zero redeeming characteristics to any characters in the book; they are all sociopathic assholes. It isn't even particularly well written or maybe it was badly edited after the author died. Either way, I won't be bothering with anything else in this series or by this author. Disappointing.
Dennis Wales
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Surprisingly intriguing material. I've never read something wherein the protagonist is such an infamous antagonist elsewhere in literature. It was more bawdy than I expected but then we are dealing with a book about a major crime lord, and a good portion of his empire is involved in brothels.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting novel, with a twist I quite didn't expect. Well two twists.n As a Holmesian this novel is right my street, although this book was the final book of a trilogy it seems. I am now looking for the other two novels in the series now.

Would I recommend the book? Yes I would
Nov 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Started great; then became a novel about sex workers and the occult. Really...just why though??? :/
Jay Rothermel
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Garner's last novel. Filled with excitement and great satiafactions.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sherlock Holmes isn't the only one who survived Reichenbach Falls. After a long absence, James Moriarty returns to London to discover someone has taken over while he was gone...Idle Jack Idell, an impoverish baronet. Now it's up to the Napoleon of Crime to get his lost sheep back into the fold, dispatch those who refuse to return, and discover the traitor in his midst.

This novel reads like a Victorian version of The Godfather with plenty of turn-of-the-century turns for criminals and crimes so t
Charles Turek
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone over 17
Shelves: read-enjoyed
It's January 1900, and Professor Moriarty is getting up there in years. He's got a son at Rugby and he's just decided to make a return to London and reclaim a criminal empire that has gotten a little frayed around the edges. No longer at constant odds with the police or one Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty is more interested in finding out who among his Praetorian Guard is a traitor and how many of his former criminal family he can coerce away from his competitor in the evil genius game, Idle Jack Idel ...more
Graham Tapper
Spin-offs are always a contentious issue. They exist solely on the reputation of the main character and none are more famous or well-known as Sherlock Holmes. So, to base a series of stories around his most infamous opponent, Dr James Moriarty, takes some courage and inspiration.

I admit that this being the third book in the series, my lack of having read the first two may have influenced my impression. The story, as it progresses, does contain some back-story and explanations, almost as if the a
Jim Richards
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
... I picked this up having slithered through "The Return ..." and "The Revenge ..." ... being a Star Wars fanboy (funny at my age) my trip through the "dark side" would have felt incomplete had I been satisfied with just that ...

... this was NOT a reprint ... it was published to complete the trilogy (interest leading to the subsequent reprints), despite Gardner not having FINISHED it, quite ... nonetheless, it does its job ... BUT, surprisingly, it succeeds as a stand-alone novel, taking place
Jul 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
After suffering though not one but two prefaces explaining the backstory of the fiction of finding and decoding the Moriarty journals, I finally got the first page of the story which was overwritten and tedious. Then the next page had footnotes. That's when I bailed.

This reminds me of Michael Crichton at his worst. I know a lot of work went into this project and I'm sure the research is amazing but I can't be bothered. It feels like more work went into the research and engineering than went to
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Before coming an author of fiction in the early 1960s, John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer and a journalist. In all, Gardner has fifty-four novels to his credit, including Maestro, which was the New York Times book of the year. He was also invited by Ian Fleming’s literary copyright holders to write a series of continuation James Bond novels, which proved to be so s ...more

Other books in the series

Professor Moriarty (3 books)
  • The Return of Moriarty (Professor Moriarty, #1)
  • The Revenge of Moriarty (Professor Moriarty, #2)