Labeled the "Napoleon of Crime" by an obsessed Sherlock Holmes, Professor James Moriarty is a prominent scientist, a keen analytical mind, and a dabbler in less than savory doings. Two friends and former associates of Moriarty - Benjamin Barnett and his wife, the former Cecily Perrine - are travelling in Europe in early 1891 when they realize that they have become objects of scrutiny from persons unknown. Things turn deadly when they find themselves in the midst of an attempted assassination of a German prince. Meanwhile in Vienna, the younger son of a British nobleman - indulging in what was then known as "The Great Game" of amateur spying - finds himself framed for the murder of his paramour and the assassination of an Austrian Duke. In London, an unknown caller arrives at Moriarty's door on a matter of great urgency. But before Moriarty can be summoned to speak with him, the stranger is shot by a crossbow bolt loosed by unseen hands.
While a lesser man might be daunted, Moriarty is merely intrigued and begins to investigate. What Moriarty uncovers is a cabal that seems to be using assassination to destabilize the rule of the crowned heads of Europe. But he also senses that there is something even bigger than this operating - a conspiracy behind the conspiracy - and detects the workings of a mind quite possibly as clever as his own. Using his contacts, friends, and the not-so-desired help of his often nemesis Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty must save his friends and outwit his most cunning opponent while the fate of history hangs in the balance.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The ingenious Professor Moriarty admits to having performed some illegal deeds, but nothing even remotely close to the claims of the drug addicted Holmes. If any of it was true, Moriarty knows that the international intelligentsia would not enter in scientific debate with him. To Moriarty, the cocaine has turned Holmes¿ deductive logic into paranoia perhaps because the professor is the only person in England who is Holmes¿ intellectual superior. Karl Strassenkopp visits Moriarty to warn him that his agent in Vienna is in danger, but someone kills Karl with a crossbow bolt. Unable to ignore the homicide and the warning the victim passed to his servant, Moriarty begins an investigation that is not concerned about legalities in order to learn the truth. With Holmes on his tail, Moriarty starts to uncover a clever and devious plot to cause World War I to break out in 1891 Europe unless he can find a way to checkmate his wise yet unknown opponent while keeping Holmes at bay. The third Moriarty mystery is an entertaining historical fiction mystery that brings world events of the last decade of the nineteenth century to the front stage. The story line is fun though at times light as Moriarty comes across as a brilliant mathematician with intellectual tastes rather than the mastermind criminal. Purists may object to the depiction of Holmes as a foot behind his arch enemy, but most readers will enjoy Michael Kurland¿s novel and probably will purchase the previous Moriarty tales (THE INFERNAL DEVICE AND DEATH BY GASLIGHT) being re-released in August. Harriet Klausner