"As the title already indicates, it should not be a spoiler to state that the three stories contained in this book about Sherlock Holmes versus a new enemy in the person of Professor Moriarty’s sister Julia. Julia Moriarty is a slender woman, no older than thirty-five, with a wealth of auburn hair. She embodies Holmes’ contention that “the female of the species is deadlier than the male.”
In our first story, “The Shadow of James Moriarty, the date is December, 1894. Watson is Christmas shopping for Holmes’ present and also making arrangements for Holmes’ birthday on January 6. He buys Holmes a pipe for Christmas and reserves two seats at the Haymarket Theater for January 6 to see Oscar Wilde’s play “An Ideal Husband.” Nothing could prepare them for what awaited on that fateful day.
Our first meeting with Julia Moriarty shows just how far she is willing to go to accomplish the death of Sherlock Holmes. Five Stars.
In our next story, “The Highgate Magician”, Mr. James Carlisle Scott, otherwise known as “The Great Borodino” comes to Baker Street for help. His niece, Emily, who was his assistant in his act, vanished in the last trick of the evening, but did not reappear on cue. In fact a search of the theater doesn’t discover her whereabouts. Holmes investigates the below the stage area, and discovers the poor girl’s body. She has had her windpipe, carotid, and jugular expertly cut from behind. She has used her own blood in an attempt to leave a clue, writing the word: PAIN.
The case could have serious National repercussions and some of Holmes’ discoveries could be embarrassing to his own brother, Mycroft Holmes. The “plot behind the plot” nature of this story deserves five stars.
(the audio version is narrated by Michael Karl Orenstein)
Finally, the book ends with the tale “The Severed Finger.” Wiggins’ Uncle Henry, a cab driver, comes to 221B when he discovers that a passenger whom he remembers as the man was in a dreadful hurry and paid an extra shilling for a shortcut, has dropped an envelope in his cab. The outside of the envelope, sealed with wax but with no marks of ownership, has the bright color of blood in one spot. Holmes discovers the third finger of a young man’s hand bearing a signet ring with a family crest. A consultation with an expert on lineage leads to the man for whom the package was intended. Julia Moriarty is playing blackmail via kidnapping with a very unusual payoff. Mycroft and the Home Office become involved before a solution to this tangled mess can be solved.
And thus we come to the end, the book finishing on another five star story."
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