Friday, June 23, 2023

James Moriarty, Consulting Criminal, by Andy Weir (author), Graeme Malcolm (narrator)

Audible Studios, June 2017

I had no idea Andy Weir had written three short stories about Sherlock Holmes' nemesis, Professor James Moriarty. But here they are, narrated quite competently by Graeme Malcolm.

The stories themselves are also well-written and fun. At least, as long as you're okay with James Moriarty is, in fact, a very bad guy, and a cold-blooded killer.

These stories are told through the voice of Moriarty's...friend? companion? assistant? audience for Moriarty's demonstration of his brilliance? The companion and narrator mentions his suspicion that it's because he owns carriage, which relieves Moriarty of the expense.

The narrator is already a low-level criminal boss when they meet, due to a crisis involving the brothel he runs. It moves from place to place every night, and security is kept very tight, yet one night the police arrive at their latest location, and arrest all the women. Notable among the police who conduct the raid is the absence of any of the police whom the brothel owner is paying off.

The leak was one of his most trusted men, and there's only a 24-hour period in which the betrayal could have happened. He narrows it down to three men, and can't get a confession from any of them. He decides to ask the assistance of a "consulting" criminal he's heard of, James Moriarty, already going by Professor Moriarty, though no one knows where his degree comes from. This is the first of the three stories here, and we see Moriarty's basic approach to finding answers--the same as that of Holmes, very close attention to detail, along with deep knowledge of relevant subjects. We also see how coldly ruthless both men are.

In the next two stories, the narrator is already strongly connected to Moriarty, and Moriarty's intelligence, observation, knowledge, ambition, and ruthlessness are on full display. In the first story, Moriarty is near the very start of his career. By the third story, he's clearly on his way to becoming the criminal mastermind and head of the most dangerous criminal organization in London, Sherlock Holmes' greatest enemy.

I can't say there's great originality here, beyond the fact of having the idea to write it in these stories in the first place. Yet they are solid, readable, enjoyable stories.

I bought this audiobook.

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