Another Sherlock novel! I didn’t even know this one existed. The only one I’ve ever heard about was The Hound. This one involves Moriarty, so now we get to see how bad he really is.
Summary: Sherlock has received a coded message from someone called Porlock, who works for Moriarty. Instead of sending the cipher for the code, though, Porlock backs out, saying Moriarty suspects him. Sherlock figures it out on his own, though, and just as they read about a murder that’s going to occur, the police come to ask for help with that very murder. Sherlock tells them of Moriarty and how smart and wicked he is. He makes his fortune selling his brain power to criminals. The police don’t seem to believe him, but humor him so long as he’ll help with the murder. And then we learn of the murder. This rich guy, John Douglas, lives in a castle house complete with moat and drawbridge. He gets his face blown off and the find a strange mark branded on his arm and discover that his wedding ring is gone.
Sherlock Rating: So I have to break this down again into a chapter-based rating system, or in this case, a section-based one. I’m not entirely sure what this book is about, aside from Moriarty, and I always picture Moriarty with a monacle for some reason, so it will be a monacle system unless I think of something better.
So I give this section 1.5 monacles. It was kind of boring, aside from the house with the drawbridge and the fact Moriarty is in it. But it’s building up to something bigger, so it got the extra half.
Mystery Story Convention: An arch nemesis–and in this case, a nemesis who exists, but no one believes it but the hero(es). Stories are always better with a nemesis!