The Empress of India by Michael Kurland (A Professor Moriarty Novel)

Another of a series of Sherlock Holmes novels written with the focus on Moriarty instead of the better-known sleuth, The Empress of India takes us out of 1800s London and to the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British Empire – India.

A vast and extremely important shipment of gold is being transported to the Bank of London from India and such a tempting prize is sure to excite the interest of the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. So Sherlock Holmes thinks at least, and as he is taken on by the Bank to ensure all is secure for the gold’s arrival he enthusiastically gets on the case. Unfortunately an accident befalls him, leaving the way open for an eclectic group of London underworld thugs and thieves, led by the mysterious Pin Dok Low, to hatch a plan to steal the gold and leave Moriarty as the prime suspect. Moriarty however is on his own mission to India to assist a friend, Captain Sebastian Moran, in an acquisition of his own. Accidentally mixed up in a plot to steal the gold and the resurgence of the Indian terrorist group called thugees who strangle their victims with a scarf, everything centres on the steam ship Empress of India as it makes its return voyage.

I liked the transportation of action from London to India, though most of the action takes place on the ship, and the cast of supporting characters were entertaining and held their own well. Captain Moran in particular was a fun foil to the more reserved Moriarty. I mentioned in my review of the first book of this series, The Infernal Device, that I didn’t think the famous characters quite fitted with the originals, which is fair enough I suppose, but you have to be prepared for a pantomimed-up version of the original with an American veneer, so if you can go with it these are enjoyable and lively books.

8/10 Captain Moran in particular was a fun foil to the more reserved Moriarty.

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