|Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock|
Professor James Moriarty is one of the most intriguing and memorable of Arthur Conan Doyle's creations, inspiring a wide variety of story-lines in Sherlock Holmes books, movies and TV shows. In Andy Weir's fan fiction adventure "The Adventure of the Sealed Room" the notorious schemer has finally been apprehended, with the curious caveat that he is (on this occasion) innocent.
Andy Weir is an American novelist primarily known for his debut hit "The Martian". A software engineer by trade, Weir uploads many of his works for free (including the flash fiction gem "The Egg").
The Adventure of the Sealed Room
The short story is available in its entirety for free at Galactanet.
Author: Andy Weir
Word Count: 5,600 (about 22 pages)
There have been numerous works of fan fiction centred around Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy. In this short story by Andy Weir the infamous villain is tasked with proving his innocence, accompanied by the narrator, Sebastian Moran.
The scene is an impossible crime staple - a man is killed behind a sealed door, with a selection of witnesses ready to testify that no-one entered or exited the room. The twist on this occasion is the deceased was apparently aware of the risk to his life, and names James Moriarty as the likely murderer in the event of his death. Despite having a strong alibi, Moriarty is arrested on suspicion of the crime.
Following Moriarty's attempts to clear his name, The Adventure of the Sealed Room leads us through his solution to the locked room murder. While the method is fairly basic, there is more to Moriarty than first appears. What follows is another explanation for events, which includes a more elaborate and satisfying plan.
Using Captain Moran as the narrator effectively gives Moriarty is own "Watson", and keeps the reader in the dark about his more nefarious intentions. While much of the story follows the typical Sherlock Holmes mould, the final third is distinctly villainous and provides a rewarding insight into the mind of Moriarty. It's a refreshing perspective to a familiar format.
8/10 - A simple but effective locked room mystery told from a unique point of view.