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Partners in Crime
November 4, 2011 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Professor James Moriarty is a mathematician and criminal mastermind, who appears in The Final Problem, the story in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. Colonel Sebastian Moran is a colonial cad, who appears in the Adventure of the Empty House, the story in which Holmes returned. Together the commit crime. Kim Newman talks about Professor Moriarty: Hound of the D’Ubervilles, his novel in which they star as a reverse Holmes and Watson (review here), and lists his 10 best villains in literature. Previous team ups of the diabolical duo include the movie Silver Blaze / Murder at the Baskervilles (youtube), which features Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson, (not THE Ian Fleming), and Neil Gaiman's A study in Emerald (pdf) (Previously), as well as a brief appearance together in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
posted by Artw (46 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not a particularly interesting comment to kick off such a fantastic post, but just to say that I'm reading Professor Moriarity: Hound of the Baskervilles, I normally hate this kind of thing, and that this comes with the very highest recommendation. For page after page I have been left with the choice of laughter or simply gaping with admiration. A genuine triumph: do read it if you get the chance.

And, what a wonderful post. I won't be stuck for things to follow it up with. Thankyou!
posted by pyotrstolypin at 8:35 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


pyotrstolypin - Have you read Anno Dracula? (previously)
posted by Artw at 8:45 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


A Study in Emerald is pretty great, both as a reversal of Sherlock Holmes and as a piece of fun crossover fiction (won't say what world it's crossed with, but I pretty much guarantee you're familiar with it) by a fine author. And it's a short, so you've no excuse not to read it!
posted by Scientist at 8:49 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


... and criminal masterming

Surely he can't be that bad looking.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 8:57 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


/strokes beard.

Why my dear Doctor, I have no idea what you might be referring to.

/smiles slyly.
posted by Artw at 9:09 PM on November 4, 2011


I saw the Newman book at the bookstore the other week and seriously considered buying it, but couldn't figure out whether it was the first in the series. It looked really good, and now that I know I'm not committing myself to finding a bunch of other books, I may go back and get it this weekend.
posted by immlass at 9:19 PM on November 4, 2011


Kindled this just now.

Anyone interested alternate Holmes might be interested in The Seven Percent Solution a Holmes pastiche From the 70s that supposes to be a lost Watson diary that states that Holmes disappearance was staged and Holmes was actually in treatment for addiction to cocaine.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:48 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Came in here to say: A Study in Emerald is weird fun and Anno Dracula is super good fun.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:36 PM on November 4, 2011


Did anybody read The List of Seven, in which Arthur Conan Doyle squares off against Satanists? I remember liking it when I was 13, but that's been a while ago.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:53 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


People with access to BBC iPlayer will enjoy these as well http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/iplayer/sherlock_holmes (sorry, am writing on a tablet so cannot do links :(
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:02 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the "reveal" of Moriarity (Jim) [major spoilers] in Sherlock (the 2010 remake/re-envision), but after the fact realised that it revealed more of Holmes than Moriarity, and made me much more interested in how the characters could develop. The game has to continue, and both can't die due to the curiosity on both parties parts, so... what next?
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:05 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Computer, arch!
posted by bicyclefish at 11:07 PM on November 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Did anybody read The List of Seven, in which Arthur Conan Doyle squares off against Satanists? I remember liking it when I was 13, but that's been a while ago.

it's primarily of interest because Mark Frost, it's writer, is one of the co-creators of Twin Peaks, but it's not nearly as deep or weird or interesting as that might suggest.
posted by Artw at 11:43 PM on November 4, 2011


Such great characters, the fact that Moriarty and Holmes can be dropped in to just about anything including Star Trek and can be twisted and pulled and reimaged, in every way from the new BBC emo Holmes to a Guy Richie pit fighter Holmes, is remarkable. Holmes is always recognizable no matter what people do to him. I suppose he is an archetype now, you can't have a detective without a nod to Holmes. Even Poirot seems in many ways defined by his differences from Holmes

I kinda got hooked watching an old VHS collection of the Basil Rathbone films from the 30s and 40s though so he will always be the real Sherlock Holmes to me.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:51 PM on November 4, 2011


I find it interesting that Moriarty has become such an iconic arch-villain when he only appeared in two stories originally.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:28 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did anybody read The List of Seven, in which Arthur Conan Doyle squares off against Satanists? I remember liking it when I was 13, but that's been a while ago.

Yes! Although I had entirely forgotten about it until your comment. I seem to recall it was fun, but not spectacular in quality.

I had seen this 'Professor Moriarty: Hound of the D’Ubervilles' book around and was intrigued, so I may have to read it now that it is Metafilter-approved.
posted by maybeandroid at 2:31 AM on November 5, 2011


To continue the Star Trek theme, The Seven Percent Solution was written by Nicholas Meyer, an aficionado of The Great Game, who also wrote Star Trek II and VI.

Thanks, Artw, this is fantastic.
posted by Errant at 2:47 AM on November 5, 2011


Professor Moriarty is an actual professor with a degree in Evil.

His tenure committee carefully reviewed his contributions to Evil and concluded that Moriarty has contributed substantially to the development of Evil.

I don't know why we're still debating this. It doesn't matter if he's evil. He has tenure.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:02 AM on November 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


I picked up Anno Dracula in a used bookstore years ago on a whim and loved it. I've since bought several more copies to give to friends. Unfortunately his other books seem hard to find in American bookstores. I'll definitely have to get a copy of this.
posted by beowulf573 at 4:58 AM on November 5, 2011


Pedantry: It's "the D'Urbervilles", not "the D'Ubervilles".

I'm going to have to read this - I loved Sherlock Holmes as a kid (got the complete works for Christmas one year and read it through multiple times). Guess you could say Holmes made a strong and lasting impression on me - I still count the number of stairs every time I use a stairway.

I'll be very interested to see what parallels to Thomas Hardy, if any, show up in this book. The original Doyle novel was entitle "The Hound of the Baskervilles", whereas Hardy wrote "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" (Hardy being another author I enjoyed immensely in my late teens).

Thanks for the links - looks like some fun reading!
posted by syzygy at 5:01 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


BBC Holmes is emo?

(It's quite likely my concept of "emo" is incomplete or inaccurate.)

As to Moriarty, the dude Granada got looked friggin' exactly like the original Paget illustrations. That, more than his performance, made him scary.
posted by AugieAugustus at 5:15 AM on November 5, 2011


Artw, I haven't read anno dracula or any in the series - this is my first Kim Newman - but the plots are summarised in the back pages of Moriarty, and they made me shout with laughter. (I hope they were supposed to!)
posted by pyotrstolypin at 5:17 AM on November 5, 2011


Professor Moriarty is an actual professor with a degree in Evil.

Technically, Mathematics, which is, at best, a sub-discipline of Evil.

I dunno about this list (the eternal danger of lists, no?). Fu Manchu? Really? I mean, he's the epitome of Yellow Peril villains, but I don't remember him being all that interesting (I read all this stuff decades ago, so maybe my memory has faded). I mean, the settings were memorable enough, but the actual depiction of the evil Doctor was kind of stilted. Carl Peterson from the Bulldog Drummond stories was at least as well-written (and, if not as racist in himself was set in as racist a milieu). The chief villain in Merritt's Seven Footprints to Satan was generally more memorable, although cast in the same vein (OK, memorable, except for his name -- was it really "Mr. Satan?").

I was recently listening to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcays reading of From Beyond, and it strikes me that Crawford Tillinghast is, perhaps, my favorite "mad scientist" figure. Rather than a "mad engineer," he seems to have started out trying to test a hypothesis and work out abberant physical laws, only to slide increasingly into megalomania and murderous lunacy. There have been thousands of mad scientists, but I think I like Tillinghast's ranting the best.

Obviously, taste has a lot to do with this, though.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:51 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because you are writing about villains, you don't have to split your '10 best villains' feature in 10 pages.
posted by ersatz at 7:12 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The List of Seven and the sequel, The Six Messiahs, were both pretty good fun, and I thought, while reading them, they would make fun movies. I sort of hoped Frost would write more novels continuing the countdown to one.

Also loved "A Study in Emerald", and I'm usually not wild about Gaiman (I like his stuff, but I don't love it).
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:25 AM on November 5, 2011


It's worth reaquainting yourself with The Hound of the Baskervilles before reading, as it makes the line that made me laugh out loud funnier.
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on November 5, 2011


Just because you are writing about villains, you don't have to split your '10 best villains' feature in 10 pages.

People always complain about this sort of thing, but they never praise it when it is done the other way. The 13 movie trends post doesn't have one comment that says, "Look at how he made the post all on one page! That's great!"

This all said I've been enjoying the crap out of the BBC program Sherlock. YMMV.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:12 AM on November 5, 2011


Pedantry: It's "the D'Urbervilles", not "the D'Ubervilles".

The D'Ubervilles are slightly higher up the hill and social ladder.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:31 AM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like Kim Newman's allusion rich writing, although he sometimes can explain too much. I'm looking forward to the book. I admit I didn't enjoy Anno Dracula or any of the sequels (why oh why did I read them all?), but the Diogenes Club books are serious fun. And Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" is my favorite story of his. The other writer with Moriarty as hero, Michael Kurland, I think is a better editor than author. I like his anthologies, but those Moriarty books are a slog. But you know, any Sherlock Holmes pastiche has a place on my bookshelf.
posted by Malla at 9:09 AM on November 5, 2011


People always complain about this sort of thing, but they never praise it when it is done the other way. The 13 movie trends post doesn't have one comment that says, "Look at how he made the post all on one page! That's great!"

Who comments on a street that doesn't have potholes?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:18 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


BBC Holmes is emo?


BBC Holmes is a jerk, that's the point.

I was trying to figure out the reason behind BBC Moritority's accent and manner, I think they were going for Uncomfortabe In His Own Skin but it overshot into Alien Wearing A Man Suit.
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on November 5, 2011


The D'Ubervilles are slightly higher up the hill and social ladder.

More Pedantry: That'd be "the D'Übervilles" not "the D'Ubervilles". ;-)
posted by syzygy at 9:42 AM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


( also between Who, Sherlock, and The Hour, I'm trying to figure out who at the BBC has a thing for slightly fey sunken cheeked boy wunderkind investigators.

It's probibly Gatiss)
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2011


The Whelk: "also between Who, Sherlock, and The Hour, I'm trying to figure out who at the BBC has a thing for slightly fey sunken cheeked boy wunderkind investigators"

I don't know who the culprit is but I feel like I should send them a gift basket, because ubersmart gaunt problemsolving types are dead sexy.

You forgot Whitechapel by the way.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:12 AM on November 5, 2011


More Pedantry: That'd be "the D'Übervilles" not "the D'Ubervilles".

The " D'Übervilles" transcend social hierarchy. They are beyond Rich and Poor, Noble and Common.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:19 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


People always complain about this sort of thing, but they never praise it when it is done the other way. The 13 movie trends post doesn't have one comment that says, "Look at how he made the post all on one page! That's great!"

Who comments on a street that doesn't have potholes?


Who praises a road builder for not digging potholes in the road? Praising someone for not putting something on ten pages would be like praising the builder of a motorway for not including speedbumps. People vote with their feet anyway, I rarely bother to click/scroll/read/scroll/click my way through these things, even if the content is compelling. I can scarcely be bothered working to make myself money, let alone someone else.

Sorry.
posted by howfar at 11:20 AM on November 5, 2011


More Pedantry: That'd be "the D'Übervilles" not "the D'Ubervilles".

Indeed. But they prefer to stress the French side of their patrimony.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:44 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


BBC Holmes is emo?

I don't mean he is a scenester, he is clearly troubled though. I guess theta needed to give him depth, can't have him simply laying around shooting up when he isn't on a case.

I'm trying to figure out who at the BBC has a thing for slightly fey sunken cheeked boy wunderkind investigators

There is also Luther though maybe the exception the proves the rule?

Been slowly watching Wire in the Blood and A Touch of Frost but it is slow going. Wire in the Blood was exhausting, after one episodes I had to take a several month break.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2011


Oddly, in the modern BBC Sherlock remake, Watson is still a veteren of the British war in Afghanistan.
posted by autopilot at 1:54 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I rather liked that touch.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The " D'Übervilles" transcend social hierarchy. They are beyond Rich and Poor, Noble and Common.

Then there are the D'Überviles," who are merely beyond the reach of good taste and manners.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:00 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oddly, in the modern BBC Sherlock remake, Watson is still a veteren of the British war in Afghanistan.

Every generation gets the "wounded British Army doctor who teams up with an antisocial sleuth" that it deserves?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harry Flashman meets up with Holmes in a short story or two.
posted by jfwlucy at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2011


I thought it was D'Ubiebrothers.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:07 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


With just English literature full of great villains, it's a bit of shame that Dudley Smith and Annie Wilkes take the last two spots. I'd replace them with The Mysteries of Udolpho's Signor Montoni and The Monk's Brother Ambrosio. Montoni is handsome, brooding, cunning, and thoroughly evil while Ambrosio is a saint who sells his soul to Satan! (Dorian Gray would also be accepted.)
posted by octobersurprise at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The BFI is previewing the first episode of the new series of the BBC Sherlock.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on November 6, 2011


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