Friday, 9 February 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of: Moriarty Takes His Medicine Anna Castle

AMAZON UK £4.10 £12.20
AMAZON US $5.48 $14.99

(A Professor & Mrs. Moriarty Mystery Book 2)

Victorian era / Sherlock Holmes spin-off

It’s a daunting thing to take up a beloved story series and add one’s own spin to it, but just as the recent Sherlock video series has reinvigorated the visual narrative and atmosphere when viewers like me would have thought Jeremy Brett the definitive Sherlock, so has Anna Castle shown us what might be done in our era with the stories that got generations of readers hooked on detective fiction in the 19th century. I was able to jump right in with the second volume of the Moriarty series—testimony to Castle’s writing skill.

As the tale opens, Moriarty is thoroughly domestic and thoroughly harassed. His fussy wife is redoing their newlywed home to her taste, harrying him from room to room and then to his club, and we wonder just how someone as important and complex as Holmes’s nemesis could be in such insubstantial circumstances, attached to such a fluttery creature. But then we learn that perhaps “nemesis” is an exaggeration, and perhaps there’s another way to look at the characters we’ve known, or thought we knew, all along.

For with pretty deft handling, we get glimpses of the story from Book 1, and tantalizing peeks at Mrs. Moriarty’s sister, a woman of questionable character. All that’s just in the background, though soon to be brought into the foreground as the game comes afoot. For it seems some wealthy women are dying at an alarming rate, and soon after their special treatment for the nervous disorders of the Victorian era. And it seems only some wily women might be able to infiltrate the facility—Holmes’s famous disguises just won’t do.

The rollicking story is satisfyingly predictable, and this easy read entices us to pick up Book 1 and to also look forward to the next in the series.

© Cindy Rinaman Marsch

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