This was a very entertaining collection of stories featuring the famed nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, Professor James Moriarty. Having listened to a wonderful audio only collection of Moriarty stories, I decided to look for similar books in this focus. While Sherlock receives the lion share, I enjoy the approach that Moriarty wasn't simply a criminal. He is also a consulting detective with links to the underworld. The first tale is Moriarty's version of how he and Sherlock met. The second is Moriarty's version of what happened at the Reichenback falls. The Parasol Paradox and Picture of Oscar Wilde are both enjoyable original tales on their own. His amazing powers of deduction and willingness to take cases Holmes won't make him a popular option for clients seeking assistance. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audio book. Steve Coulter does a wonderful job with the various accents and brings the tales to life. Change your point of view and enjoy.
I've read two of Michael Kurland's previous Moriarty novels and loved them, and I expected more of the same from this collection of stories. I was not disappointed.
This collection includes an "origin" story detailing the first meeting - and the cause of the emnity - between Holmes and Moriarty; Professor Moriarity's version of the events leading to and following Reichenbach Falls; "The Picture of Oscar Wilde", which is exactly what the title implies; and "The Paradol Paradox", a story that's appeared elsewhere, featuring Moriarity's very own Dr. Watson, an American news reporter turned partner-in-crime.
The stories are all evocative and exceedingly well-written. Moriarty is an entertaining narrator, and seeing the world of Sherlock Holmes from his perspective (a description that the Professor would doubtless find most offensive) is a treat.
If you're at all a fan of Holmes, or Victorian-era fiction, or just of good writing, you owe it to yourself to check this out. Highly recommended!
I have enjoyed Michael Kurland's books and own most of them. Incautiously and without reading all the material about this book, I purchased it, thus adding to the weight accorded the adage, there's a sucker born every minute. My errour, not the author's unless you count agreement with publishing a content wholly and easily available in other places. So this is a warning to other SH pastiche lovers. This book contains no new material and is a waste of money to buy.
If you're already a Michael Kurland fan, you're not reading this review because you've already bought or ordered this book.
For those who aren't, M.K. is one of those unappreciated gems of a writer. I can't imagine what your first impression of this book from the title and cover art might be, but I can assure you, the cover does not give even a decent clue to what's inside.
Almost every writer at some point in their career is tempted to write a Sherlock Holmes story, or "homage" or "pastiche", or whatever you want to call it. There are hundreds of them in and out of print. Probably thousands if you could track down all the short stories. Most of them are terrible.
Years ago, M.K. succumbed to this same temptation and the result was the book "The Infernal Device". (A great book! Highly recommended!) He's written several more in the same series and this book is a collection of several shorter works in the "Moriarty" universe. The thing about M.K. is that he's not just a good writer, he's also someone whose just thinks *differently*. He can always look at something from a fresh perspective, can offer his readers something new and different that they haven't read before.
So instead of writing Yet Another Awful Holmes Pastiche, M.K. created a universe where Moriarty is the hero, not the evil villain. A criminal, yes. Where Holmes is the consulting detective, Moriarty is the consulting criminal. But where Holmes is often defending the indefensible injustices of the Victorian class system or British colonialism, Moriarty is a Robin Hood who subscribes to a higher code of justice than mere law.
The clever thing is that this is the *same* universe as recorded by Dr. Watson in the canon of Holmes stories, just seen from a different point of view, and with the benefit of knowledge Watson did not possess.
This particular collection is some of the best M.K. has done lately. It tacks closer to the Holmes canon than before, and fills in some unanswered questions about this universe, giving us the origin story of how Holmes and Moriarty first met and became enemies, and what *REALLY* happened a Richenbach Falls.
Michael Kurland's "Death by Gaslight" was the first book set in the world of Sherlock Holmes that I ever read (circa 1984) that wasn't written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And it's been the standard by which I've judged everything else since. I had thought that Kurland was finished with this world, and then I found Victorian Villany.
What a wonderful collection of stories! Professor Moriarty is a fabulous hero, and Kurland's depiction of Sherlock Holmes as an obsessed, angry man who (for once) refuses to apply logic and reason, finally gets an explanation in this volume. It's a must read for anyone who's enjoyed Kurland's other forays into the world of the consulting detective.
A collection of Kurland's Moriarty stories. Though many of them have appeared elsewhere, they are amusing. I love the view of Moriarty as a "consulting criminal" who is a revel against Victorian hypocrisy. A great read, However, as I have said elsewhere, the tale of how Holmes and Moriarty became alienated is probably the weakest of the bunch.