by John Gardner

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780151012527
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/10/2008
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

JOHN GARDNER (1926–2007) was the author of forty-three books, including the acclaimed Boysie Oakes series and fourteen James Bond novels.

Read an Excerpt


Back to the Smoke


DANIEL CARBONARDO could not distinguish the house until he was almost upon it. Daniel killed—that was his job in life: death. He killed for chink; murdered for geld; a few sovereigns and the person named was dead, while Carbonardo disappeared like smoke on a zephyr. Yet his favourite interest, next to murder, was obtaining intelligence—putting people to the question.

It was said that Daniel had learned the trade of torture from within his family, who traced their ancestors back to the Tower of London: people who were begetters of truth, one of whom had come over in the retinue of Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, first wife of Henry VIII.

Catherine of Aragon ended up in a convent; many in her retinue, including the Carbonardos, ended up broke, staying in England to work for the royal household, where some became great exponents in the extraction of truth from unwilling tongues. That particular work, gaining intelligence by torture, threat, pain, or promise, was on Daniel’s mind tonight; and he knew it all, from the rack and the boot to Skeffington’s daughter, and even more esoteric methods of prising the truth from people disinclined to talk.

"She knows," the Professor had said. "She’ll give you the name. There are three of them and Spear."

Daniel felt he had heard words similar to those many times before. "From your Praetorian Guard?" he asked, incredulous. "You can’t mean your Praetorian Guard, Professor!" and Moriarty nodded, slowly. "The very same," he muttered. "We have a traitor, Daniel. Right at the top, among my most trusted. A traitor who has burrowed, like a little animal into my organization."

"But who would . . . ?" Daniel began.

"To whom would some turncoat sell his soul? Who?" Moriarty chuckled.

"Sherlock Holmes?" Carbonardo asked again and the Professor laughed louder, a high, animal bark.

"Holmes? Holmes? I think not. Holmes bothers me little these days. We had our moment of conflict and I think came to a mutual understanding. I doubt if I shall ever hear again from Mr. Holmes."

"Then who?"

"There is one." He rested the nail of his right thumb just below his eye, then ran it down to his jaw, tracing a line down his cheek. "Angus Crow. Crow is a skilful policeman who has sworn to trap me. Indeed, it is his one aim in life. I am his one big case." He paused, his head moving forward like the head of an old turtle, then swaying from side to side. "And of course there are others. One in particular who has used my recent absence to plunder my former organization, my family."

Carbonardo shook his head in puzzlement, finding it hard to believe that one of the Professor’s closest lieutenants could be a turncoat.

The four men who comprised Moriarty’s so-called Praetorian Guard were Ember, Spear, Lee Chow, and Terremant, who had been inducted into the Praetorians following the disappearance of the fine big lad Pip Paget.

Ember was a small, foxy, unpleasant little man, who acted as a contact, running between Moriarty and the lurkers, demanders, and punishers, the street men, the patterers, the magsmen, the dodgers, whizzers, dips, nightwalkers, dollymops, gonifs, and those who specialized: the petermen, confidence sharks, fences, assassins, and jewellers.

The two main members of the Guard were the Professor’s true lieutenants, the distinctive Albert Spear and Terremant—Spear with his broken nose and the telltale forked-lightning scar down his right cheek, and the big tough known only as Terremant. This pair were leading street gangers, mobsters, men who made decisions and had the final say-so, most feared out in the highways, byways, and alleys of London.

Last, and possibly least, of the Praetorians was the evil Chinee, Lee Chow, who dealt with the Eastern foreigners and lowlifes, running opium dens and dispensing cruel justice. He was feared by all because he would do Moriarty’s bidding, no matter what, and never turn a hair of his pigtail. It was known that one of his best tricks was to cut the cheeks from a man or woman, leaving the victims appallingly disfigured and unable to use their mouths as normal persons.

The Professor locked eyes with Carbonardo, who felt a nudge, partly of awe, partly fear, as he looked deeply into the dark, knowing, glittering eyeballs that had seen much evil and knew even more. Like many, Daniel tried to avoid looking straight into Moriarty’s eyes, for they held a mesmeristic power that it was said could remove a man’s own will and command him to do unmentionable things.

His gaze dropped, and he saw that Moriarty was smiling. A slight, cynical raising of the corners of his lips, an evil smirk that in no way crept up the face to bring warmth to the eyes.

Copyright © 2008 by The John Gardner Estate

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Table of Contents


Author’s Introduction xi

Before the Tale Begins xvi

Chapter 1: Back to the Smoke 1

Chapter 2: Return of the Guard 15

Chapter 3: Questions and Conversations 27

Chapter 4: The Professor Reminisces 44

Chapter 5: Plot on the Boil 60

Chapter 6: Decimated 71

Chapter 7: Death of a Courtesan 87

Chapter 8: At Home with the Professor 103

Chapter 9: Resurrection 122

Chapter 10: The Lifting of Billy Jacobs,
and What Happened to Sarah 138

Chapter 11: The Hanged Man 154

Chapter 12: Benefit Night at the Alhambra 170

Chapter 13: The Monkery 194

Chapter 14: The Pagets and Their Future 214

Chapter 15: Georgie Porgie 229

Chapter 16: Little Boy Blue 246

Chapter 17: Holy Week 257

Chapter 18: Summer Term 268

Chapter 19: The End Game 280

Chapter 20: Sal Hodges’s Secret 294

Glossary 299

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Moriarty 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
horacewimsey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite good. Not at all what I was expecting, though. I was sucked in by the title character's having been the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes and was expecting a tale with similar characteristics. Not for this book the cool calculation of Sherlock Holmes. And no John Watson in sight. An altogether different sort of story about an altogether different sort of man. But quite good, indeed.