Saturday, 2 June 2012

Book 38 of 2012: Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles by Kim Newman was originally recommended to me by my friend Mark. His book tastes tend to run similarly to Mr. Click's so when he mentioned a book featuring Sherlock Holmes' rival, Professor Moriarty, I had a funny feeling that we would be onto a winner.
It's a series of short stories, written in a similar style to the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The twist being that they follow the dastardly plans of Moriarty and are recorded by his version of Watson, Moran. There's a heavy bit of name-dropping, mentioning characters from other book series (such as our good friend Raffles) as well as people who feature in the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

I thought it was very well done. It was clever how it linked to other classic stories which were set around the same time period. There was a collection of notes at the end which added to this and made it feel a little like it was discussing real people, rather than a group of fictional characters.

The stories all have titles based upon Conan Doyle's stories, personally the first three were my favourites; A Volume in VermilionA Shambles in Belgravia and The Red Planet League. As a narrator, Moran is clearly not a nice person, he's got no scruples and spends most of his time bragging about his hunting prowess or lusting after women.

All the same, he's pretty funny. The book is full of little asides and thoughts from Moran which are kind of hilarious. Mr. Click drove me crazy reading this, he'd sit there sniggering to himself but hardly ever telling me what it was that he found so funny. It was good to finally get my hands on the book and find out for myself!

Mr. Click finished reading it on my birthday during my birthday picnic, so I started it that evening and finished it in around a week. The book is comprised of a collection of short stories but some are slightly longer than others, divided into chapters. One thing I do like about this format is that it means you can just pick it up and put it down, reading in little bitesize chunks. It's ideal for reading in my breaks at work and during breakfast.

I've noticed that Kim Newman has also written a book called Anno Dracula which I'm thinking I'll need to pick up at some point. Mr. Click's not so sure himself, though if it's in a similar style I'm sure he'll enjoy it.
"As I entered our reception room, a slicing noise alerted me. A stick slashed at my head. I arrested its arc with a quick grab. As part of an unending 'testing process', Moriarty often tried to catch associates off guard. Some, not having my jungle-honed instincts, got broken heads."Page 137


  1. Yey! Glad you both thoroughly enjoyed. I'm thinking of re-reading during the long empty month of the Olympics! I've been seriously considering Anno Dracula-sounds like great fun. I'd also recommend the Flashman books by George McDonald Fraser, who Newman's Moran very much reminded me of.

    1. I've just read Dracula recently so I'm feeling in the mood for more vampire-flavoured books, if I happen to be near a shop with Anno Dracula, I can imagine myself being tempted.

      Adding the Flashman books to my list to look out for. John's just read the first of Colin Dexter's Morse books, so I'm onto that soon, and he's started another of the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes books now, so I won't be short on reading material.

    2. The only place I've seen Anno Dracula myself so far is Waterstones, though I keep an eye out in charity shops ;) I believe Newman wrote a series of these books, but only the first has been reprinted so far.

      The great thing about Flashman is they can be read in any order, as the author never wrote them chronologically, preferring to dip in and out of his fictional character's diaries at different years each time.

      It's good to have plenty of reading material this summer what with the Jubilee, The Olympics, Euro 2012...


Let me know what you think. :-)