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The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls [Hardcover]

John R. King
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2008
Probably the most infamous story in the Sherlock Holmes canon is "The Final Problem" as it relates the facts of the death/murder of the master detective at Reichenbach Falls. On May 4, 1891, the detective met his archenemy Professor Moriarty on a ledge above the falls; the two became locked in a titanic hand-to-hand struggle before both tumbled over the precipice, presumably to their deaths, as witnessed afar by Dr.Watson. The outcry against the death of such a popular character was so great that in 1901 Conan Doyle was forced to give in to the pressure of his fan mail. He resurrected the detective by claiming that Holmes had managed to grab a tuft of grass during the fall into the "dreadful cauldron" and so had lived to solve another mystery. But what really happened that infamous day at Reichenbach Falls and why did Holmes disappear in the aftermath? And what of the infamous Moriarty? How did a noble mathematician become the Napoleon of Crime?"The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls" provides these answers and more. It turns out that the events were not just witnessed by Watson but by another young detective of the Victorian era - Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Carnacki rescues an amnesiac gentleman from the base of the falls only to find himself and his companion doggedly pursued by an evil mastermind whose shadowy powers may reach from the bloody crime scenes of White Chapel to far beyond the grave.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st Hardcover Ed edition (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318015
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,544,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for "The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls""From the first page I was hooked ... This is a marvelous read!"--Elaine Bergstrom, author of "Shattered Glass" and "Mina...the Dracula Story Continue"""The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls" is a rousing mystery-adventure wreathed in the smoke of Holmes's meerschaum pipe and bathed in the eerie light of Carnacki's electric pentacle. Deftly told and exciting."--James Lowder, author of "Prince of Lies"

About the Author

John R. King lives in Wisconsin and is a life long Sherlockian. He has written in the paranormal field for various RPG companies.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No ghosts need apply 8 Sep 2009
From the very first page I was gripped by this story but I started to get a little concerned as soon as the author wove Jack the Ripper into events. Then I was disappointed when the author also introduced demons and exorcism into proceedings.

In my opinion, if you are going to write a Sherlock Holmes pastiche you should write it in the spirit (no pun intended) of the original stories. The moment King brings demons into the story that spirit is lost. The story from that point on was an interesting semi-supernatural tale that happened to feature Holmes, Watson, Moriarty and other characters. One is left with the inescapable impression that Conan Doyle's characters are simply being used as bait to attract the reader to a story they might otherwise have overlooked.

This story could have stood largely as is, but without the demonic parts, and been an excellent read. As it is it is an entertaining read but fails as a pastiche.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a Sherlockian romp with a twist 15 Aug 2011
By Wolfers TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I think the last reviewer was a wee bit harsh on the Ripper aspect of the novel.I thought it was a great sequence and it explains one possible scenario as to why Moriarty became the man he was and why Holmes became his nemesis.I will not proceed with any spoilers etc but suffice to say that if you are a Holmes or Carnacki fan you will love this romp.I literally read this book in 2 straight days.I loved the evocation of the period (excellent) and the story wollopped along and kept me hanging off the edge of my own particular Reichenbach until the end.The settee anyway.BRILLIANT!!!!!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Exciting opening, mildly interesting middle, deteriorating to absurdity - not Holmes, by any measure 22 Nov 2008
By ginnyk - Published on
I'm really glad I got this book from the library. It starts out with excitement, the struggle at Reichenbach Falls, the rescue of a drowning man who turns out to have traumatic amnesia and turns out to be Holmes. Then there is the rescue from a doctor, blackmailed by Moriarity, who attempts to kill Holmes, and other rescues from Moriarity himself. Key actors are Anna, Moriarity's daughter, along with Carnacki, who is writing this letter to - Watson, I guess. The book then segues into Moriarity's biography, in which he recalls his history and why he turned to crime. He turned to crime when he tracked and killed Jack the Ripper who - oh horrors! - turns out to be demon-possessed, and the demon possesses Moriarity. Things plod along, Moriarity conducts his life of crime (using research created by his wife, who was killed by the Ripper), battles with Holmes, the events of this story occur, Moriarity is killed, and the demon possesses Holmes, who then turns to crime. In the end, Holmes is rescued by Carnacki dissipating the demon through an electricity driven pentacle.

This is so far from what writing about Holmes should be, I can't find enough derogatory words. If you want to read stories much closer to Holmes, postulating his post-retirement life and without supernatural beings, try Laurie King's novels. But don't, please don't waste your money on this book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not Holmesian 16 Jan 2009
By W. Wirtanen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Proported to be the story of Sherlock Holmes right after his fall at Reichenbach Falls with Prof. Moriarty, it is disappointing.
Mr. King starts out with Moriarty chasing an amnesiac Holmes and deftly inserts Moriarty's life and his rise to be the king of crime that makes for a good story.
The whole thing then goes off the tracks when the book started to be the Exorcist.
Sherlock Holmes' fan will be as disappointed as I was.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Toss It Over the Falls 1 July 2009
By Larry Latham - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In retrospect, I'd have gotten more enjoyment from setting my twenty bucks on fire, plus I'd only be out a few minutes time rather than the several hours trudging through this mess.

The iniital idea sounds exciting, but the writer pushes that over the falls, too, almost right from the beginning. Even given that Carnacki is a younger version of the one in the Hodgson stories, I never for a moment buy the protagonist of this story as the same character. Holmes spends most of the novel lost in amnesia, and King is at such great pains to not reveal who he or his nemesis is that it sets up the expectation of a twist. It never comes. Amnesia, I suppose, is an excuse for Holmes not acting in any way that you would recognize from Doyle's stories. Midway through, the narrative switches over to the diary of Moriarty -again, a totally new character stamped with a famous name. It's tedious and rambling, with the occult shoehorned in so forcefully near the end that my feet hurt.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish & Dreadful; save your money! 10 Jan 2010
By johnnyeye - Published on
A ludicrous book, replete with demonic possession, an amazing, all-purpose machine; is it an electro-shock therapy device or an exorcism gadget- (Why, it's both! ... or whatever the story needs it to be at any given time) - and a thoroughly un-Holmesian Holmes. It's as if the author couldn't be bothered to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Laughable dialogue and clunky, farcical, amateurish writing complete the picture. A waste of time and money.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock meats Carnacki, the ghost finder 11 Nov 2008
By Philip K. Jones - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book presents a revised version of the events in "The Final Problem." It begins beside a rubbish heap in Meiringen with a young Thomas Carnacki, William Hope Hodgson's "Ghost Finder," negotiating with a fat old rat for a lump of moldy Gruyère cheese. Later in the day Thomas is piknicing near the Reichenbach Falls with one "Anna Schmidt" when they witness a struggle atop the Falls and rescue a fallen combatent.

The other combatent pursues them in an effort to shoot his rival and events take off from there. "Anna Schmidt" turns out to be "Anna Moriarty" and events move on to Bern and then to Paris. Dr. John Watson appears and saves Thomas from an assassination attempt and the truth about Professor Moriarty, his wife and their daughter is revealed. The end of Jack The Ripper is explained and the creation of the Professor's criminal empire is related along with some details of the struggle between Holmes and Moriarty.

The writing is very well done and the characters are clearly and precisely drawn. The action is intricate and complex and the story is engrossing. The reason for the inclusion of Thomas Carnacki becomes clear about halfway through the book. Events take a supernatural turn with the confrontation between the Professor and Jack The Ripper. From that point on, the action revolves around the cause of the Ripper murders and their effects on the Professor and his life and, ultimately, on Holmes through the Professor.

The events in the book are crafted with careful attention. For example, although Dr. Watson saves Thomas Carnacki from assassination by his prompt medical actions, Holmes and Watson are kept separate and the continuity of the events as known to Watson is maintained. The entire tale is revealed to the good Doctor in this manuscript, sent some twenty years later by Carnacki. For readers who follow the motto "No ghosts need apply," this tale will be a disppointment. Hodgson fans will, no doubt, be delighted.

Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones; October, 2008
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