I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
In this tale drawn from the note books of Dr Watson, the deadly hand of Professor Moriarty once more reaches out to commit a vile and ingenious crime. However, a mole in Moriarty's frightening criminal organization alerts Sherlock Holmes of the evil deed by means of a cipher.
When Holmes and Watson arrive at a Sussex manor house they appear to be too late. The discovery of a body suggests that Moriarty's henchmen have been at their work. But there is much more to this tale of murder than at first meets the eye and Sherlock Holmes is determined to get to the bottom of it.
***2019 The Summer of Sherlock***
And so ends my Summer of Sherlock. While reading a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, I realized that I had missed this installment of Holmes and set about correcting that deficit. It reminded me a lot of A Study in Scarlet--with the action originating in North America, leading to a puzzling ending in England.
ACD is wordsmithing at his best in this tale. Holmes receives a cipher, but not the key. Does this dissuade our sleuth? Of course not.
”There are many ciphers which I would read as easily as I do the apocrypha of the agony column.”
Within minutes he has produced the correct volume and he & Watson have translated the string of numbers into a message. No need to parse the agony columns in the newspapers this time!
Plus, Holmes shows his usual understanding of the human psyche when the murder victim’s wife and friend do not respond appropriately:
”It was badly stage-managed for even the rawest of investigations must be struck by the absence of the usual feminine ululation.”
The authors of this time period had the most amazing vocabularies and weren’t afraid to use them!
Now, I bid Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson a dieu for a while. I will no doubt see you both at some point in the future.