Sunday Book Club: The Last Moriarty by Charles Veley

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favourite characters of all time. I’ve read every single book on Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and probably more than once each. So suffice to say that I was super excited when I saw that there was a new Sherlock Holmes book, albeit written by a different author – obviously, since the original author is long gone.

I read the Sherlock Holmes series when I was a young child, so I don’t remember every detail in the books but it has kept me company and my mind in the right place when life gets too tough. Books was the one place I could hide in for as long as I can remember, away from everything else that was not going right for me at that time.

Even through high school and university, there were a series of books that I keep going back to when things get too tough – and Sherlock Holmes was one of them. So in a sense, I grew up with Sherlock Holmes (and Hercule Poirot, which was actually inspired by Sherlock Holmes, as well as Harry Potter, when I need a lighter escape).

**This part of the review consist of Spoilers

The Last Moriarty follows Sherlock Holmes after The Final Problem, where thanks to the writing of his partner, John Watson, everyone thinks that he has died at the Reichenbach Falls. However, one day a young actress named Lucy James from the famous D’Oyly Carte Opera Troupe knocks on his door at 221B Baker Street, begging him to find her true parents. Sherlock accepts the case.

Sherlock and Watson are also tasked on a case by high officials in England to find out who murdered a high-ranking assistant; more men connected with an upcoming summit that will change the face of travel and trade for both America and England are also turning up dead. It appears that a criminal organization on par with the now-defunct Moriarty gang is behind it. Meanwhile, the successor of the Moriary gang, Colonel Sebastien Moran has also escaped prison, and it appears that he has a hand in these murders.

Initially, it appears that Lucy James is Moriarty’s daughter, after James Moriarty forced himself on her mother who is also the love interest of Sherlock Holmes back in the day. As it turns out, Lucy James is actually Sherlock’s daughter and Moriarty knows that – he has duped his brother, who is very serious about family, that Lucy is his daughter so that the brother kept on supporting Lucy monetarily. Sherlock, Watson and his daughter saves the day by taking out everyone involved in the plan to destroy the summit.

Final Thoughts

As a book itself, it wasn’t too bad – there were some mystery and some sleuthing around, and a rather reasonable plot to back the story. The writing is quite nice, not too convoluted, sounded like it was in the right era, and at an easy readable pace that wasn’t to slow. However, the story was rather predictable except maybe the final ending, which was maybe more of a romantic twist than a sleuthing one. There were also too many characters and it was rather confusing towards the end.

Now, as a Sherlock Holmes book, this sadly fails to meet my expectations. I really hate the final plot twist – Sherlock Holmes with a daughter? Moriarty tries to get back at Sherlock Holmes by pretending that he has won over the girl that Sherlock liked and had a child with her? Is the author writing a chick lit? Does he know who Sherlock Holmes is? What about Irene Adler – “The Woman”? Also, Veley’s Sherlock seems too happy and quick to lay out the twists rather than hint at them, which immediately removes any mystery.

Now, I would say that it’s not a terrible book but expectations are high because this is a “Sherlock Holmes” book. The book would have been better if the author renamed all the characters and just made it a normal novel – it would have been an average book on its own. So if you’re not such a crazy Sherlock nut like me, I think it could be a relatively enjoyable read (if you don’t mind the rather Victorian language).

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