Contributed by
"William E. Emba"
The British spy thriller novelist, perhaps now best known
for his 007 novels, wrote three novels starring Professor
Moriarty, THE RETURN OF MORIARTY (UK title MORIARTY),
THE REVENGE OF MORIARTY (1975), and a never published
third novel (thanks to a publisher dispute).
These novels claim, in the best Sherlock Holmes tradition,
to be based on the recently discovered (and decrypted!)
diaries of Moriarty. Naturally enough, references to his
mathematical genius are made frequently. In THE RETURN OF
MORIARTY, we also learn the shocking explanation of how a
mathematician could even be a criminal mastermind in the
first place. This turns out to be fundamentally important
to pretty much everything in the two novels. (Since the
explanation is something of a spoiler, and is entirely
nonmathematical, it is not given here. The supposedly
inherent uprightness and honor of mathematicians is upheld
in the end.)
Before reading these novels (in order, preferably), one
should read at a minimum two Conan Doyle stories, "The
Final Problem" and "The Empty House" (the death and the
return of Sherlock Holmes, respectively), since there are
numerous knowing references to the events in these stories.
For those readers more interested in Sherlock Holmes, he is
a minor, but very important character, in RETURN, and a major
character in REVENGE. John Gardner did an excellent job in
writing the Conan Doyle characters believably. (This is a
contentious issue in regards to his James Bond novels.)
