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3.6 out of 5 stars23
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, this little (and it is little !) book looks gorgeous. And then I opened it, only to find a collection of Moriarty's musings regarding his involvement in the life of his arch nemesis Holmes. No great story, just a collection of faux jottings and diagrams. What a disappointment - and what a missed opportunity. I can only surmise that it's been published to coincide with the release of Game of Shadows,but it's probably missed it's mark, as it looks - and reads - like a stocking filler.
Strictly for the die hard Holmes afficiandos only I think.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I liked the idea of a James Moriarty manifesto, being a fan of Sir Arthuur Conan Doyle stories and what we have here is a small, neat hardback book printed to look like old, faded papers telling the other side of the time of Sherlock Holmes.
Unfortunately, what we have is something that shows that most of the Sherlock Holmes investigations were of Moriarty's design and that Holmes only seemed to thwart these evil plans by accident.
I liked the included map and the idea of the 'found' pages, but the faux hand-written script is difficult to read. The book is also interspaced with odd drawings and clippings, that reminded me more of one of The Goodies annuals (or Monty Pythons, as another reviews has stated), than the mind of a criminal genius.
I think this book is a missed opportunity and should only be considered a curio for the die hard Holmes fan.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I bought this book thinking it would be a proper novel - or at least short stories - tellikng the story of Moriarty as told from the viewpoint of his second in command, Colonel Sebastian Moran (the best shot in London, as Conan Doyle described him).

The first thing that struck me about the book was its size. Whilst it is made of high quality material - thick boards, and quite luxurious paper - this serves merely to disguise the fact that the book, measuring only 6" by 4" or so, only has about a hundred pages. However, on opening the book, it becomes clear that, rather than containing stories, it contains a series of diary entris by Moran, in which he briefly describes some of the Holmes stories from his point of view. Whilst this sounds promising, in reality these take up no more than half of the already small book, the rest being padded out with various maps, sketches and illustrations.

The icing on the cake, however, is the fact that the diary entries attempt to rewrite just about every official story in the Holmes canon as being a dark and devious plot flowing from the mind of Moriarty. For instance, we learn from a two page map of Cornwall that The Hound of the Baskervilles was a plot by Moriarty called 'Operation Mad Dog', complete with a picture of some phosphorus powder, a picture of a dog(!) and twenty or so words. Hmmm.

As long as one doesn't try to take the book too seriously, it's probably a good fun read, but for anybody remotely serious or knowledgeable about the Holmes stories, the book is an annoyance.
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VINE VOICEon 11 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, not just the canonical stories by Conan-Doyle but also the expanded universe adventures. I can read such stories as Holmes meeting zombies or Jack the Ripper and the wonderful Moriarty series of graphic adventures, The Dark Chamber and The Lazarus Tree.

These stories all take advantage of placing Holmes, the characters and situations outside the normality of where they generally take place, that does not necessarily mean that they are bad or second rate. They should be taken for what they are and this one is reasonable if nothing spectacular.

It's just a collection of letters, pictures, drawings and memos supposedly rescued and published by Colonel Sebastian Moran after the death of his mentor Moriarty in The Final Problem.

It suggests that Moriarty was in some way behind virtually every crime that Holmes investigates in the canonical stories, such as A Study In Scarlet which has revelation that Moriarty had a hand in guiding Jefferson Hope into tracking down and murdering Drebber and Stangerson because they were jeopardising his own operations.

There are such concepts that Mrs Hudson is secretly a spy for Moriarty and is working against Holmes, in short there are situations that rub against long established beliefs in the canon, such things don't make easy reading.

The book is well done but it does have problems that's bound to rub some fans up the wrong way. It's OK but it could have been better by immersing it more within the established guidelines rather than the 'What if? scenarios of the worlds of Sherlock Holmes.
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on 30 October 2012
What can I say? Almost all of Holmes's cases briefly reviewed from Moriarty's point of view (he was behind all of them, because of course he survived Reichenbach Falls too). That is entertaining although vaguely repetitive after a while. And of course all of Holmes's "supporting cast" were under Moriarty's control. Mrs. Hudson? Check. Dr. Watson? Check. Inspector Lestrade? Check. Even Mycroft Holmes. A bit overdone. Also, the fact that Moriarty's notes are not in chronological order (because compiler Colonel Moran was unable to arrange them - even though they are all carefully dated. Moran or moron?) makes the book confusing to read. And of course the speckled band (and the giant rat of Sumatra, for which the world is still not ready) are artificial constructs, of course created by Moriarty. And then there is the "tongue-in-cheek" side, that doesn't fit too well with the rest of the book - the names of many of the bit-part players in Moriarty's evil empire (yes, he gloats about how nice it is to be evil) are simply anagrams of "James Moriarty". And they are supposed to be real people, not simply fake names created by Moriarty himself to pretend he had an "inner court".
I expected better.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a lovely little book, with the emphasis on both lovely and little. It is a slim volume and about the same size as a Kindle, ironic because this is one of those books that would never translate to the electronic format.

It is hardcovered, with a fold out map of London in the front, an old-fashioned ribbon to keep your place and lots of faux-handwritten diary entries with drawings and photosincluded in a sort of scrapbook style. It is most definitely not a novel. If you want to read a brilliant novelisation of Moriarty then search out John Gardiner's excellent trilogy; this book is more for dipping into and being entertained - and just enjoying as a well-put together artefact.

I'm really not sure how much fun this will be for anybody who hasn't read all the Conan Doyle stories several times. It is very much one for the fans, but there are a lot of us. The whole thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek and includes reports of well-known Holmes stories like Silver Blaze, the Engineer's Thumb, the Speckled Band from another point of view, revealing an involvement by Moriarty that Holmes and Doyle were unaware of at the time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a rather silly but very enjoyable little book, presented as Col. Moran's scrapbook of items regarding his employer, Moriarty. In its pages we discover Sherlock Holmes's many adventures were not quite what they seemed. The master criminal was enraged by quack doctor Arthur Conan Doyle's writings about this Baker Street buffoon. Apparently Moriarty was behind most of his adventures - it was Moriarty who wanted to install himself in Baskerville Hall. It was Moriarty who wanted to bring down Jephro Rucastle and even sent Irene Adler in the disguise of Violet Hunter in "The Copper Beeches". Even Sherlock's trusted sidekicks were Moriarty men. Even Lestrade, and Mrs Hudson - who was really a Dutch actress. A lot to swallow obviously - and great fun. I don't know if people devoted to Doyle's works will enjoy this or hate it - I think it's an entertaining read as long as you take it for what it is. It's nicely produced and peppered with photos, sketches of Moriarty's inventions and lots more. Good fun and a good gift for anyone familiar with Sherlock Holmes canon.
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on 31 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hmm...

Professor James Moriarty was a character from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes' arch enemy and described as the "Napoleon of Crime". Holmes claimed to have detected Moriarty's hand behind much of the more significant organised criminal activity in London and indeed England. He's passed into the canon as a sinister and coldly evil criminal mastermind, despite only ever having "appeared" in two of Conan Doyle's Holmes stories (and those being indirect appearances at that). This book purports to expose the true nature of the man, described by his lieutenant, Colonel Sebastian Moran.

I had expected a novel of sorts, and one that stuck reasonably well to Conan Doyle's vision. What arrived was presented more in the way of a scrapbook, with diary entries, sketches, maps, theatre tickets and the like. That in itself would have been no particularly bad thing and the format may provide some amusement, but it does give the book (a small one to be sure) the air of a Christmas stocking novelty (along the lines of those Monty Python annuals or the like) rather than a serious book.

To compound matters, it does rather spoil the well-developed Holmes-Moriarty brand. Now, I'm no Holmes purist (indeed it's been quite a few years since I ploughed through my dog-eared, broken-backed compleat Holmes) but I do believe that Conan Doyles' universe has a moderate degree of sanctity. I have no objection at all to modern attempts to add to the richness of the canon, but they must make an attempt to remain consistent and faithful. To digress slightly, the publicity posters for Guy Richie's recent sequel bear the tagline "Bigger, Better, Funnier" (or something similarly crass). As if Sherlock Holmes is a comedy figure! /That/ concept I cannot bear, and I'm afraid that this book /also/ commits the heinous crime of trying to be funny.

So, instead of the implacable, calculating, ascetic and icily sane evil genius, Moriarty becomes a deluded, obsessive, slightly loopy buffoon with a Napoleon complex AND a persecution complex. His diary entries retcon his shady involvement into ALL of Holmes and Watson's adventures: that was never the case in the original stories and in my opinion the canon is not up for grabs. There are sketches of Moriarty's crime-perpetrating inventions, Wile E Coyote-esque and annotated with rather immature scribbles such as "secret plan pocket - can also carry pipe tobacco" and childishly defaced photos of his Baker Street enemy.

As a result, I can only conclude that it is a rather misguided attempt to ride the wave of Holmes' recent popular resurgance and, while it may appeal to those who have never read Conan Doyle, it cheapens the value of the real Holmes/Moriarty story and I doubt that it will please many "real" Holmes fans.

A /generous/ two stars.

Afterword: Just think. For less than four times the cost, you could own the excellent Granada TV adaptation box-set. It would certainly last a good deal longer than this and Eric Porter makes a diabolically excellent (or excellently diabolical) Moriarty.
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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a small book - you see dozens of this type of thing at Christmas, quick cash-ins cobbled together in an afternoon. Having said that, this one is a little different. It is, undeniably, a cash-in - thrown into the world grabbing at the coat-tails of the BBC's Sherlock and Guy Ritchie's new Holmes film. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, as a lot of thought has gone into this slim volume in terms of design and layout. It's a beautiful book, designed to look like a well-thumbed pocket journal, full of notes, pictures, clippings and scribbles. The content is a little thin, and as I am not n die-hard Holmes fan I cannot vouch for how accurate or "canon" some of it is, but it is an entertaining sideways look into this world from the other side of the mirror, as it were. Not essential, then, but not throwaway either. I enjoyed it, but I suspect Holmes buffs may be a little more dismissive.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This small, perhaps slight, book is meant to be a riposte to the well documented stories concerning the consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. There are many references to Moriarty in Watson`s (Conan Doyle`s) stories. Moriarty is the arch criminal mastermind who becomes the detective`s nemesis.
I had been looking forward to this book. For a long time I`d thought Moriarty deserved a more comprehensive history, not just a foyle upon which Sherlock could prove himself. Sadly I thought the book was too slight. Often I found I wanted to read more. The diary did not give much proof of Moriarty`s brilliance or ruthlessness.
On a more positive note the book is physically attractive. The cover, fold-out map and illustrations are eye-catching.
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