cover image Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

Kim Newman. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-85768-283-3

Stoker Award%E2%80%93winner Newman (Anno Dracula) pulls out all the stops in this delightfully roguish alternate take on the Sherlock Holmes canon, with Moriarty's number two, Col. Sebastian Moran, in the Watson role. Clever send-ups of canonical highlights abound. When the pair first meets, Moriarty, echoing Holmes's first encounter with Watson, tells the colonel, "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive," though the professor's knowledge comes from background research rather than deduction. Regarding Irene Adler, Moran writes, "To Professor Moriarty, she is always that bitch." By denigrating Moriarty's magnum opus, The Dynamics of an Asteroid, a rival academic sets off an elaborate revenge scheme with elements familiar to H.G. Wells's readers. The rapidly paced narrative, with its rich atmospherics and chills, will appeal even to those few completely unfamiliar with Doyle's works. The author also brilliantly exploits canonical plot holes (e.g., although Holmes fears assassination, he leaves his Baker Street lodgings "open to any who might wander in"). Sherlockians who don't regard the originals as sacrosanct will clamor for more. (Oct.)