Craig
Craig asked:

Is Moriarty given too high a status in the leagues of literary villains....or is he truly the mastermind we love to loathe?

Gavi
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rolls Eyes What a good question: To me, Moriarty's infamy is only bolstered because of the way that Holmes cautiously admired and respected him in the ACD novels, however brief the references or appearances by the arch criminal throughout the series of adventures. But I don't believe him to be any more than a facet of Holme's character, a thread in his fabric, a face in his mirror.

Moriarty is never as fleshed out in the books as you wish him to be -- that's where the films come in (be them Rathbone, Downey Jnr et al). I suspect that a lot of his status is from the film side of his 'life', rather than the written one.

I think he's always made a more substantial / evil genius film villain than a literary one.
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