Authors: John Gardner
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by
21 Bloomsbury Square
Copyright Â© 2008 by The John Gardner Estate
The moral right of John Gardner to be
identified as the author of this work has been
asserted in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any
information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
A CIP catalogue reference for this book is available
from the British Library
ISBN (HB) 978 1 84724 587 8
ISBN (TPB) 978 1 84724 588 5
ISBN (EBOOK) 978 1 84916 818 2
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
businesses, organizations, places and events are
either the product of the author's imagination
or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, events or
locales is entirely coincidental.
You can find this and many other great books at:
ALSO BY JOHN GARDNER
JAMES BOND NOVELS
For Special Services
Role of Honor
Nobody Lives Forever
No Deals, Mr. Bond
Win, Lose or Die
The Man from Barbarossa
Death Is Forever
Never Send Flowers
License to Kill (from the screenplay)
Goldeneye (from the screenplay)
THE BOYSIE OAKES BOOKS
A Killer for a Song
THE MORIARTY JOURNALS
The Return of Moriarty
The Revenge of Moriarty
THE KRUGER NOVELS
The Nostradamus Traitor
The Garden of Weapons
The Quiet Dogs
The Dancing Dodo
The Werewolf Trace
To Run a Little Faster
Every Night's a Bullfight
Day of Absolution
Blood of the Fathers
(published under the name of Edmund McCoy
and republished in 2004 as
THE GENERATIONS TRILOGY
The Secret Generations
The Secret Houses
The Secret Families
SUZIE MOUNTFORD NOVELS
The Streets of Town
Angels Dining at the Ritz
No Human Entry
COLLECTIONS OF SHORT STORIES
The Assassination File
Spin the Bottle
DEREK TORRY NOVELS
A Complete State of Death
Then, now, and forever
Sometime when you have a year or two to spare I commend to you the study of Professor Moriarty.
âSir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes in
The Valley of Fear
Ex-Professor Moriarty is the Napoleon of CrimeÂ â¦ organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected.
âSir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes in
The Final Problem
HERE IS NEED FOR
some explanation regarding this volume and how it came into being. Therefore certain facts should be made clear at the outset.
In the summer of 1969 I was engaged in research concerning the current problems and operational methods of both the Metropolitan Police and the sprawling criminal underworld of London and its environs. During this period I was introduced to a man known to both the police and his associates as Albert George Spear.
Spear was at that time in his late fifties, a large, well-built man with a sharp sense of humor and lively intelligence. He was also an authority on criminal Londonânot only of his time but also of the previous century.
Spear was not without problems, being well known to the police, with a record of many arrests and two convictionsâthe latter carrying with it a sentence of fifteen years for armed bank robbery. In spite of this he was a thoroughly likable man, whose favorite pastime was reading any book that came to hand. On our first meeting he told me that he had read all my Boysie Oakes books, which he found amusing and entertaining rubbishâa criticism not far removed from my own view.
One night toward the end of August, I received a telephone call from Spear saying that he urgently wished to see me. At the time I was living in London, and within the hour Spear was sitting opposite me in my Kensington house. He brought with him a heavy briefcase, which contained three thick leather-bound books. It is as well to say here that the bindings and paper of these books have since been subjected to the usual tests and indisputably date back to the second half of the nineteenth century. The writing contained in them, however, cannot with absolute certainty be dated, the results of chromato-graphic analysis and further tests being inconclusive.
Spear's story concerning the books was intriguing, the volumes having come into his possession via his grandfather, Albert William Spear (1858â1919), and in turn his father, William Albert Spear (1895â1940).
My informant told me that he had not really examined the books until recently. All three generations of Spears seem to have been involved in criminal activities of one kind or another, and Spear remembers his grandfather talking of a Professor Moriarty. He also claims that his father spoke much about the Professor, who was apparently a legendary figure in the lore of the Spear family.
It was on his deathbed that William Spear first spoke to Albert about the books, which were kept locked in a strongbox at the family
home in Stepney. They were, he claimed, the private and secret journals of Moriarty, though at the time of his father's death the younger Spear was more concerned with the activities of one Adolf Hitler than with the family legend.
Although Spear was an avid reader, he had not read or studied the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle until the late 1960sâa strange omission, but one that did not worry me since I was also a latecomer to Dr. Watson's chronicles concerning the great detective. However, when Spear began to read the saga, he quickly came across the few references concerning Holmes's archenemy, Professor James Moriarty, and was immediately struck by the descriptions in the Holmes books that had bearings on some of the things his father had told him.
One night he became so intrigued by both the similarities and paradoxical inconsistencies that he began to examine the books he had brought for me to see.
The pages were in good condition, and all three books were crammed with careful, rather sloping, copperplate handwriting. One could make out certain dates and street plans, but the remaining script was at first sight unintelligible. Spear was convinced that his father had told him the truth and that what he possessed were the real Professor Moriarty's private journals, written in cipher.
I cannot deny that my first sight of those books gave me an immense thrill, though I remained on guard, expecting the sharp Spear to put in a plea for hard cash. But money was not mentioned. It would please him, he told me, if someone could decipher the journals and perhaps use them to good advantage. His interest was purely academic.
In the days that followed, I came across a number of immediate inconsistencies, not the least of which was the fact that the journals continued for many years after the spring of 1891âthe year in which,
according to Watson, Holmes disappeared at the Reichenbach Falls, presumed dead after a fight with Moriarty, only to reappear in 1894 with the story that it was Moriarty who had perished. If these journals were those of the same Moriarty, then obviously someone was either glossing fact with fiction or there was some strange case of mistaken identity.
My own knowledge of ciphers being small, I eventually took the books to my good friends and publishers Robin Denniston (who has had much experience with codes and ciphers) and Christopher Falkus. After many long hours of arduous trial and error, coupled with applied science, the cipher was broken. The result is that at the time of this writing, some one and a half books have been decoded.
Quite early in this operation we realized that the documents could not be published as they stood. Even in these permissive times there is little doubt that Moriarty's inherent evilâwhich lurks on every pageâcould cause concern. Also, the memories of too many revered and famous personalities would be subjected to wanton rumor and scandal.
We decided, therefore, that it would be best for me to publish Professor Moriarty's story in the form of a novel, or novels. This is why some of the locations and events have been slightly alteredâthough in some cases, such as Moriarty's involvement in the Ripper murders and the so-called de Goncourt scandal, there is no point in concealing the facts.
A further reason for this form of treatment is that Spear disappeared shortly after handing the journals to me. As I have already stated, we cannot positively date the writings, so it is just possible, though I do not believe this, that Albert Spear, with a mischievous sense of humor, has taken some pains to perpetrate the second-largest literary hoax of the century. Or maybe his grandfather, who is much mentioned in the
journals, was a man of imagination? Perhaps the publication of these volumes may bring us some of the answers.
I must, however, add one final acknowledgment, which is, I believe, of interest. I am deeply indebted to Miss Bernice Crow, of Cairndow, Argyllshire, great-granddaughter of the late Superintendent Angus McCready Crow, for the use of her great-grandfather's journals, notebooks, correspondence, and jottingsâpapers that have been invaluable in writing these volumes.
N THE SUMMER OF
1969, so the story goes, three bulky leather-bound volumes changed hands in the sitting room of a small, pretty little house in Kensington. I was not to know that these books, crammed with tiny ciphered writing, maps, and diagrams, were to take meâalmost physically at timesâback to the dark, brutal, and secret places of the Victorian and Edwardian underworld in London.