From Steve Donoghue, Historical Novel Society Reviews.
Anna Castle launches a new series of Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels starring none other than Professor Moriarty with this completely winning volume, Moriarty Meets His Match. The professor comes under suspicion of murder for a crime he believes was orchestrated by his nemesis, Lord Nettlefield. Evidence is being gathered against him by Sherlock Holmes, but when the suspicion shifts to the alluring American heiress, Angelina Gould, Moriarty’s motivation to clear his name is doubled by his wish to clear hers as well.
Fans of both Sherlock Holmes and the man he dubbed the ‘Napoleon of Crime’ will absolutely love Castle’s fidelity to the details and atmosphere of the canon, and newcomers who have never read Arthur Conan Doyle (or, for that matter, John Gardner’s great Moriarty novels) will also find themselves eagerly reading along, thanks to Castle’s great skill as a storyteller.
She knows very well the instinct her readers will have to cast Holmes as the hero and Moriarty as the villain of any story, and she skillfully and often quite wryly subverts those expectations – and delivers a fascinating whodunit in the process.
From D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews.
Fans of Anna Castle’s prior Murder by Misrule, as well as newcomers who relish Sherlock Holmes will both be delighted by Moriarty Meets His Match, a different take on the usual Sherlock or Holmes focus which centers upon Holmes adversary Moriarty’s life and perspective.
Here Professor Moriarty’s life has been challenged by Sherlock even as he faces a newfound romance that could be destroyed by his own obsessions and penchant for problem-solving.
It’s intriguing to note that few other accounts have delved into the psyche and motivations of Moriarty from his perspective rather than that of Holmes and his troop. In adopting a focus that questions some well-established Holmes ideas and approaches, Castle has created a truly riveting and thought-provoking mystery that ultimately surveys the nature of good intentions and evil itself.
As Moriarty Meets His Match progresses in a cat-and-mouse series of escapades tempered by a romance with Angelina, readers receive a riveting sequence of events in which Angelina’s own investigations and strengths provide a satisfying, powerful juxtaposition to the main protagonists.
From compelling motives for murder and the convoluted special interests uncovered by Moriarty to different scenarios promising alternative outcomes, Moriarty here assumes a Holmes-like precision in analyzing events to their logical progression: “Moriarty poured himself a cup of coffee, working by touch, and took a sip. The bitterness suited this new train of thought. In this scenario, his role was merely to sharpen the lady’s skills and provide a little entertainment. He couldn’t bring himself to explore the possibility that she and her paramour were deliberating trailing him before Holmes and the authorities as a suspect.”
His efforts sometimes lead to obstacles (“He’d come full circle. The ability to generate alternative theories was as much a curse as a blessing. He ladled a heaping spoonful of sugar into his coffee. The bitterness wasn’t helping.”), but one of the big pleasures of Moriarty Meets His Match is that, here, Moriarty is as much of a hero – and as savvy – as his counterpart Holmes.
Having Moriarty be the central focus, without the constant interference of consulting detective Holmes and his sidekick, lends him a persona well suited to equal Holmes’ observational style and analytical prowess. Holmes and Moriarity work together in harmony for a while as they investigate a case, Moriarty is determined to keep one step ahead of Holmes’ processes and procedures (“…he had to see this through himself. He must remain abreast of Holmes’s inquiry, and the best way to accomplish that was to be made an active participant.“), and as he faces ongoing challenges from Holmes, he hones a direction which diverges from Holmes’ detail-oriented approach.
From sabotage to possible motives, Holmes and Moriarity’s increasingly complex, dangerous involvements in uncertain motives make for a riveting mystery that will involve and delight readers as they explore more facets of Moriarity’s character than traditional Holmes accounts provide.
Sherlock Holmes fans will find Moriarty Meets His Match exquisitely well-done: true to the nature and characters of both men, but adding extra dimensions to Professor Moriarty’s character that greatly enhance the entire Holmes scenario. Very highly recommended as a ‘must’ for Sherlock enthusiasts and anyone who relishes a good whodunit mystery.