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Welcome today to guest blogger, Dick Gillman!
So… after the death of the greatest Victorian villain, James Moriarty, what now?
If, like me, you mourned the passing of Sherlock Holmes’s arch-enemy Professor James Moriarty, you are in luck! I truly missed the tingle whenever his name was mentioned in a Sherlock Holmes story. The thought that Holmes was facing a fiendish, heartless foe with an intellect equal to his own always spurred me on to read more. So who is there now to challenge him? I could not rest nor resist … so Julia Moriarty was born.
Well, I say born. She is, of course, the product of my imagination. As the devoted younger sister of the late James Moriarty, she is equal in intellect to her brother, totally ruthless and stunningly beautiful. Whilst initially focussed only on revenge for the death of her brother, she goes on to cause mayhem in her own right.
Julia Moriarty is a flaming red-head. An exquisitely dressed, fashionable Victorian lady who is renowned for both her guile and for carrying a nickel-plated revolver in her handbag. Utterly devoid of compassion and totally ruthless, she becomes Holmes’s deadliest foe. Nevertheless, she is the star of the three stories that make up ‘The Julia Moriarty Trilogy’.
Although I create stories with different characters, I find myself drawn to her like a moth to a candle flame. I am fatally attracted. With each book I write, I have to fight the urge to include her. Whilst writing my last two stories I have been able to resist… but for how long?
Recently I signed a contract with MX Publishing, the world’s largest specialist publisher of Sherlock Holmes books and they are to publish The Julia Moriarty Trilogy a little later this year. Bob Gibson, an illustrator at Staunch.com, has done a wonderful job on the cover. Julia Moriarty exudes femininity… but with just a hint of menace.
The Shadows of James Moriarty
An explosive event on Holmes’s birthday begins the case that Dr John Watson records as The Shadow of James Moriarty. Since Moriarty’s death there has been no-one to challenge Holmes’s formidable intellect…until now. It seems like the very shadow of Moriarty himself is to envelop Holmes and take him from us. Only Holmes’s great intellect and a grand deception stands between him and certain death.(available on Amazon)
Sherlock Holmes and the Highgate Magician
The disappearance on stage of a magician’s assistant draws Holmes and Watson into the world of international intrigue. A German pianist, a diplomat working as an aide to the Kaiser, is enraged by Holmes’s activities. However, this chance meeting inadvertently saves Holmes from certain death. Only Holmes’s unique skills and swift action can halt a very public assassination and avert war in Europe.(available at Amazon)
Sherlock Holmes and The Severed Finger
‘Holmes and Watson’s evening is disturbed by a gruesome find by cabbie Henry Wiggins. A cryptic note and a freshly severed finger trigger a desperate search for the owner. Mycroft Homes is summoned when the involvement of Julia Moriarty is discovered. Holmes has a tense encounter with Moriarty and must balance an arms shipment to a potential enemy against a man’s life. Has Moriarty finally defeated Holmes?
(available at Amazon)
‘Sherlock Holmes and The Severed Finger’
3rd book in the Julia Moriarty Trilogy
We spent Saturday morning nurturing our own thoughts and, after a light luncheon eaten almost in silence, the afternoon saw us making our way to Piccadilly. On arrival at the tea-room I noticed that the clientele was quite varied. There were couples, single gentlemen and single ladies. Indeed, it was one of the few places in London thought to be respectable for single young ladies to meet friends.
In the front window was a table with two chairs facing each other. Upon the table was a small, double-sided card, which announced that the table was ‘Reserved’. Holmes sat at one side of this table whilst I moved to sit one table away, in a position where I could follow proceedings with, I thought, some anonymity.
At 1:35p.m. a gentleman carrying a folded newspaper entered the tea-room and, after looking around, came and sat opposite me at my table. The waitress came and took our orders and, as I looked up, I saw an auburn-haired young woman enter the tea-room and sit at the table occupied by Holmes. I stiffened involuntarily and felt some comfort from the weight of my service revolver in my jacket pocket.
It was at that point that the gentleman opposite me spoke, “I would be grateful if you were to put both your hands on the table, Dr Watson.”
I was taken aback and looked more closely at the fellow. Only then did I see the muzzle of his Mauser, with its familiar box magazine, pointing directly at my heart from within the folded newspaper.
“Please, Dr Watson. If you look around the room you will see that there are four other gentlemen with folded newspapers on their table. We don’t want any senseless loss of life.”
I looked around and saw the truth in what he said. I had not noticed before but at four other tables, each one with a clear field of fire, there sat a man with a folded newspaper on the table and his hand resting casually upon it. As I placed my hands on the table I felt completely impotent. I could not protect Holmes and any attempt to detain Julia Moriarty would have resulted in pointless slaughter.
Julia Moriarty did not seem at all surprised to see Holmes and, from my position a bare three feet away, I was able to follow their conversation.
Julia Moriarty sat down, saying “Ah, Mr Holmes. Why am I not surprised to see you?”
Holmes’s face was rigid. “I assume, madam, it is because you might suspect that a severed finger found in a Hansom by a cabbie who plies his trade close to Baker Street would bring it to me.”
Sitting back she smiled, saying, “So that is where it was found. I must confess that, until I saw the ‘Reserved’ card on the table this morning, I feared that I would have to repeat the communication with another finger…although lacking the all-important ring. Or, perhaps, an ear, something the family would recognise.”
Holmes stiffened. For a dreadful moment I feared that he would spring across the table and squeeze the very life from her. I made a slight movement to rise but the steely muzzle of the Mauser opposite me nudged upwards an inch or so, just to remind me of its presence and to keep me in my place.
Moriarty continued, “I take it that your presence indicates that Sir Brian is willing to accept my terms?”
Showing immense control, Holmes could only nod.
“The crates containing the Maxims are to be brought by wagon to the dockside. They are to be laid out in two rows of three so that they may be easily opened and the contents inspected. There will be no escort for the wagon. If any police or troops are seen in the area of the dock, then Edward Martindale will surely perish. Similarly, if I do not return within an hour of my departure, he will perish.”
Julia Moriarty was clearly enjoying the moment. She paused and then said, “Why, I do believe that you are even less talkative than the last time we sat together, Mr Holmes.”
Holmes’s voice was like ice, “I have very little to say to a woman who can maim an innocent young man in order to blackmail his father. What proof have I that Edward Martindale is still alive?”
Again she smiled. She turned her head to look out of the window and then slightly raised her hand. Holmes and I both turned to follow her gaze and as we did so, a closed carriage, which had been waiting some fifty yards away, set off from the kerb. As it passed the tea-room, the face of a young man, his left arm pinioned to display a bandaged hand, could be seen in the window of the carriage.
Holmes moved to stand but the glint of nickel in Julia Moriarty’s hand made him pause. “We will meet again on the 17th, Mr Holmes.”
With that she rose and left. The fellow opposite me touched his hat and, almost as one, the five men in the tea-room rose and followed her out of the door and towards a waiting carriage.
I moved to Holmes’s side; his body was rigid with anger. “That woman, Watson! That woman! She is the very embodiment of evil. When she is caught, I swear that I shall be the one who places the hangman’s noose around her neck. She will not cheat death a second time.”
All of my books can be found as e-books on both Amazon and Smashwords.
However, the new 2nd edition paperback version of the trilogy is to be published by MX in mid-September 2015.
You may also like to discover other Sherlock Holmes authors through links in The Strand Magazine or through their Facebook page.
MX Publishing is the world’s largest specialist Sherlock Holmes publisher, with over a hundred titles and fifty authors creating the latest in Sherlock Holmes fiction and non-fiction. From traditional short stories and novels to travel guides and quiz books, MX Publishing cater for all Holmes fans. The collection includes leading titles such as Benedict Cumberbatch In Transition and The Norwood Author which won the 2011 Howlett Award (Sherlock Holmes Book of the Year). MX Publishing also has one of the largest communities of Holmes fans on Facebook with regular contributions