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Moriarty was innocent

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Hello My Sherlockians

 

It's my thesis that Sherlock Holmes was the true criminal kingpin and that he named Prof. James Moriarty just to divert attention from himself.

 

I wrote a blog post about this and it's available at https://medium.com/galileo-onwards/moriarty-was-innocent-e39610eab8bc

 

The piece remains entirely within the canon of Arthur Conan Doyle's works.  It does not refer to TV shows or movies or spin-off works either.  It's my goal that I add no speculation (but only readers can tell me if I've succeeded).

 

I would very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.

 

Thanks!

~vijay

 

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Vijay,

 

I visited your blog and looked over your thesis.  Due to the length, I haven't read it all, but I hope to soon.

 

I commend out-of-the-box thinking and having the courage of one's convictions to take a controversial stance, if that is your truth.  These are murky waters you are swimming in, however.  Anybody who seeks to pull down Holmes from his pantheon of Truth, Justice & the British Way is going to find himself on a lonely path.  Frankly I am not interested in living in a world where Sherlock Holmes is not an heroic figure, even if, at times, he flouted conventional ideas or avenues of justice to suit his own internal standards of what was right and fair.  Holmes himself noted on several occasions that, had he chosen to do so, he could have turned his prodigious mind and talents to becoming the perfect criminal.  But he didn't.  His interest in financial gain was as slim as his interest in personal fame.  Moriarty is presented as the anti-Holmes--a man with as searing an intellect as the Great Detective, who has chosen the Dark Side.

 

The events of The Final Problem & The Empty House are quite flimsily constructed for Doctor Watson's benefit; I can see how you can glean your hypothesis from Holmes's vagueness about his activities in these two tales.  But how do you justify the label of 'Sherlock Holmes, Kingpin & Criminal Mastermind' to the stellar character we get in the other 58 stories?  Surely a criminal mastermind wouldn't present himself time and again as such an incorruptible force for Good?

 

The notion of Sherlock Holmes as the Napoleon of Crime has tempted a lot of people over the years, because Sherlock was right about himself--he would have made a fantastic and probably unbeatable criminal.  Are you familiar with Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story?  Using 'evidence' from the Canon itself, Dibdin basically scooped your thesis back in 1978.  I don't want to say any more until I've heard if you read it or not.  If you haven't, find a copy, and then we will talk further. 

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Vijay,

 

I visited your blog and looked over your thesis.  Due to the length, I haven't read it all, but I hope to soon.

Thanks for taking the time!

 

if that is your truth.

 

I'm constantly aware that we are discussing fiction so I don't see my thesis as a hill I'd even duck on :).  I do believe my thesis is defensible though.

 

Frankly I am not interested in living in a world where Sherlock Holmes is not an heroic figure, even if, at times, he flouted conventional ideas or avenues of justice to suit his own internal standards of what was right and fair.

 

My wife said the same :-)  It's a sentiment I understand and it's not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings.  As I reread The Final Problem early last year, I tweeted that someone should write a screenplay that showed Holmes as Moriarty.  I chewed over it for 6 months before actually doing the research to make my case.  But since I have zero artistic talent, I instead wrote it as in the blog.

 

I do apologize for the length (nearly four thousand words) but I wanted to make an airtight case :-)

 

I look forward to your further thoughts upon completion.

 

But how do you justify the label of 'Sherlock Holmes, Kingpin & Criminal Mastermind' to the stellar character we get in the other 58 stories?

 

This is a fair question.  As I say in the blog,

 

Of course, since I cannot prove that Holmes was the criminal mastermind, I shall merely present facts that point in that direction.

 

Surely a criminal mastermind wouldn't present himself time and again as such an incorruptible force for Good?

 

Here we must be careful.  When assessing what a person is and isn't capable of, I believe we cannot make broad statements.  The most timid man can, for almost no reason, suddenly become a very aggressive and rude person.  In fiction more so than fact.

 

Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible.  He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.

 

Are you familiar with Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story?  Using 'evidence' from the Canon itself, Dibdin basically scooped your thesis back in 1978.  I don't want to say any more until I've heard if you read it or not.  If you haven't, find a copy, and then we will talk further.

 

I am not.  Thank you for the recommendation.  I will look him up.  I'm not surprised that someone beat me to it—and before I was born!—but I will also add that I quite consciously did not search for any until I'd written my version.

 

Once again, thanks for your time and feedback.  Do know that I revere Holmes myself.  If anything I tried to look at him with cold dispassionate eyes.  If anything, I love him and ACD more.

 

Thanks

~vijay

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The following post contains a spoiler about Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story.  I won't reveal *all*, but I will say that that was Mr. Dibdin's thesis as well--Sherlock Holmes was Moriarty, or rather, Moriarty was his alter-ego, the fanciful product of a paranoid drug addict whose mental brilliance proved impossible to sustain in a world populated by the dull and the prosaic.

 

You really need to read this book.  It was Michael Dibdin's first novel, written when he was barely 30.  As a Sherlockian scholar, his writing and knowledge of Holmes's world is first-rate.  This is a fantastically well-written pastiche that will rip the heart from your body, leaving you hollow.  Dibdin is to Sherlockian purists what Judas Iscariot is for those who love the Christ, I imagine.  I both revile his book and at the same time consider it one of the best-done novels I have ever read.

 

How's that for a paradox?

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The following post contains a spoiler about Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story.  I won't reveal *all*, but I will say that that was Mr. Dibdin's thesis as well--Sherlock Holmes was Moriarty, or rather, Moriarty was his alter-ego, the fanciful product of a paranoid drug addict whose mental brilliance proved impossible to sustain in a world populated by the dull and the prosaic.

 

You really need to read this book.  It was Michael Dibdin's first novel, written when he was barely 30.  As a Sherlockian scholar, his writing and knowledge of Holmes's world is first-rate.  This is a fantastically well-written pastiche that will rip the heart from your body, leaving you hollow.  Dibdin is to Sherlockian purists what Judas Iscariot is for those who love the Christ, I imagine.  I both revile his book and at the same time consider it one of the best-done novels I have ever read.

 

How's that for a paradox?

 

That sounds great!  Indeed, that's my entire thesis (repeated below) right there.

 

Sherlock Holmes was both detective and kingpin — think Tyler Durden in the 1999 movie Fight Club (schizophrenia optional). [link]

 

I don't see your case as paradoxical.  After all, I've done the same :-).  If I were not a huge fan of Holmes I wouldn't write about him or be willing to discuss it in a forum with other fans.

 

It's why I addressed the first post as "My Sherlockians".  I'm not trying to "troll" :-)

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The following post contains a spoiler about Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story.  I won't reveal *all*, but I will say that that was Mr. Dibdin's thesis as well--Sherlock Holmes was Moriarty, or rather, Moriarty was his alter-ego, the fanciful product of a paranoid drug addict whose mental brilliance proved impossible to sustain in a world populated by the dull and the prosaic.

 

You really need to read this book.  It was Michael Dibdin's first novel, written when he was barely 30.  As a Sherlockian scholar, his writing and knowledge of Holmes's world is first-rate.  This is a fantastically well-written pastiche that will rip the heart from your body, leaving you hollow.  Dibdin is to Sherlockian purists what Judas Iscariot is for those who love the Christ, I imagine.  I both revile his book and at the same time consider it one of the best-done novels I have ever read.

 

How's that for a paradox?

 

That sounds great!  Indeed, that's my entire thesis (repeated below) right there.

 

Sherlock Holmes was both detective and kingpin — think Tyler Durden in the 1999 movie Fight Club (schizophrenia optional). [link]

 

I don't see your case as paradoxical.  After all, I've done the same :-).  If I were not a huge fan of Holmes I wouldn't write about him or be willing to discuss it in a forum with other fans.

 

It's why I addressed the first post as "My Sherlockians".  I'm not trying to "troll" :-)

 

 

Vijay,

 

I don't think you're a troll.  The trolls I've met are not so well-spoken.  :)

 

I confess that I struggle with assimilating what to me are two diametrically opposed views:  Being a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and at the same time making the case that he was also responsible for all the crimes he attributed to Moriarty.  To deconstruct the character of the 'best and wisest man' Dr. Watson knew into someone who is either completely amoral, insane, or both, doesn't seem like a position a true fan would want to invest in.  It removes Sherlock Holmes's primary characteristic as an agent for good and makes him . . at the worst, evil, possibly psychopathic as well, and at the best . . ?  Profoundly, profoundly disappointing.  If your thesis is 'true'--what then, is the point of Sherlock Holmes?  Reading any of the stories in which he appears, never mind devoting one's whole life to more in-depth scholarship of his doings and sayings,  is a pointless waste of time, unless one aspires to be a crime kingpin oneself.  The effect is to tarnish forevermore the reputation of one of the most beloved literary characters ever created.   Doesn't seem like the motivations of a true fan, because if you are successful, the result is the character assassination of a literary icon.  How could you, or anyone who supports your theory ever rebuild from there and enjoy Sherlock Holmes again?  What is the gain?

 

I have wanted to ask Michael Dibdin these questions but since he's no longer with us, I will have to put them to you.  Because Mr. Dibdin came to the same conclusion you have, and attributed to Sherlock Holmes some of the most heinous crimes of the Victorian era, if not of all time.  His is The Last Sherlock Holmes Story because every word written about SH after the events at Reichenbach--and indeed, even that entire story--were fictions constructed by Dr. Watson to preserve the reputation in the public mind of the great Sherlock Holmes as a hero.  Watson carried on with this whitewashing job for 20-odd years despite knowing the bitter truth about the man he'd shared lodgings with and thought he knew for 10 years.  He created a portrait of 'the best and wisest man (he) had ever known' for the benefit of his readership, but it was wishful thinking, because that man really never existed.  Watson had been Holmes's dupe, and we, the readers, in turn, become Watson's dupes, if we believe that Sherlock Holmes was actually a noble figure.

 

So if your 'truth' about Sherlock Holmes is real, how can you enjoy these stories any more?  I don't suppose you'd be welcomed with open arms to read your paper at any Sherlock scion societies.  Michael Dibdin moved to Italy for three years directly after the publication of his book.  Ostensibly to teach English; personally I think he was hiding out from rabid Sherlockians agitating to kill him, possibly.  So proceed with your theory at your own risk!

 

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“Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible. He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.”

 

I would say that Holmes was definately incorruptible! He hung around in opium dens to get information which would lead to the solving of crime. He knew criminals because he’d put some away and proved some innocent when they were being falsely accused. He also needed contacts, like Shinwell Johnson, who knew the criminal world better than he did and could help Holmes when no one else could. Likewise the Irregulars who were poverty stricken urchins living on the streets. Holmes paid them well and he wouldn’t have put their lives at risk.

 

Corruptibility means dishonesty. Holmes might have bent the rules (in true detective style) he even indulged in a bit of breaking and entering in a noble cause but he wa never corrupt.

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“Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible. He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.”

 

I would say that Holmes was definately incorruptible! He hung around in opium dens to get information which would lead to the solving of crime. He knew criminals because he’d put some away and proved some innocent when they were being falsely accused. He also needed contacts, like Shinwell Johnson, who knew the criminal world better than he did and could help Holmes when no one else could. Likewise the Irregulars who were poverty stricken urchins living on the streets. Holmes paid them well and he wouldn’t have put their lives at risk.

 

Corruptibility means dishonesty. Holmes might have bent the rules (in true detective style) he even indulged in a bit of breaking and entering in a noble cause but he wa never corrupt.

 

All of which we know only thru Watson's rose tinted glasses.

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“Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible. He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.”

 

I would say that Holmes was definately incorruptible! He hung around in opium dens to get information which would lead to the solving of crime. He knew criminals because he’d put some away and proved some innocent when they were being falsely accused. He also needed contacts, like Shinwell Johnson, who knew the criminal world better than he did and could help Holmes when no one else could. Likewise the Irregulars who were poverty stricken urchins living on the streets. Holmes paid them well and he wouldn’t have put their lives at risk.

 

Corruptibility means dishonesty. Holmes might have bent the rules (in true detective style) he even indulged in a bit of breaking and entering in a noble cause but he wa never corrupt.

 

All of which we know only thru Watson's rose tinted glasses.

 

 

This doesn't sound like a big fan of Sherlock Holmes talking.

 

Unless you really admire his criminal mind?  Do we need to report you to Interpol?  lol

 

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“Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible. He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.”

 

I would say that Holmes was definately incorruptible! He hung around in opium dens to get information which would lead to the solving of crime. He knew criminals because he’d put some away and proved some innocent when they were being falsely accused. He also needed contacts, like Shinwell Johnson, who knew the criminal world better than he did and could help Holmes when no one else could. Likewise the Irregulars who were poverty stricken urchins living on the streets. Holmes paid them well and he wouldn’t have put their lives at risk.

 

Corruptibility means dishonesty. Holmes might have bent the rules (in true detective style) he even indulged in a bit of breaking and entering in a noble cause but he wa never corrupt.

All of which we know only thru Watson's rose tinted glasses.

How can you be sure that Watson saw things through rose-tinted glasses? Why couldn’t he just be telling the truth as he saw it with his own eyes? Everything that we’ve come to learn about Watson shows him as honest and dependable.

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All of which we know only thru Watson's rose tinted glasses.

 

This reminds me of that movie with the premise that Watson is the true crime-solver and Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character/mask he created to enable him to operate incognito.

 

If we can't trust anything Watson says then we can contrive anything to suit our fancy.

 

That's not a bad thing, but I take it as a bit of amusing conjecture and nothing more.  I trust that Watson's portrayal of Holmes was presented as accurately and honestly as possible because it seems the most reasonable thing to do.  One has to consider author intent as well.  (The real  author, not Watson.)

 

 

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Vijay,

 

I don't think you're a troll.  The trolls I've met are not so well-spoken.  :)

 

I confess that I struggle with assimilating what to me are two diametrically opposed views:  Being a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and at the same time making the case that he was also responsible for all the crimes he attributed to Moriarty.  To deconstruct the character of the 'best and wisest man' Dr. Watson knew into someone who is either completely amoral, insane, or both, doesn't seem like a position a true fan would want to invest in.  It removes Sherlock Holmes's primary characteristic as an agent for good and makes him . . at the worst, evil, possibly psychopathic as well, and at the best . . ?  Profoundly, profoundly disappointing.  If your thesis is 'true'--what then, is the point of Sherlock Holmes?  Reading any of the stories in which he appears, never mind devoting one's whole life to more in-depth scholarship of his doings and sayings,  is a pointless waste of time, unless one aspires to be a crime kingpin oneself.  The effect is to tarnish forevermore the reputation of one of the most beloved literary characters ever created.   Doesn't seem like the motivations of a true fan, because if you are successful, the result is the character assassination of a literary icon.  How could you, or anyone who supports your theory ever rebuild from there and enjoy Sherlock Holmes again?  What is the gain?

 

I have wanted to ask Michael Dibdin these questions but since he's no longer with us, I will have to put them to you.  Because Mr. Dibdin came to the same conclusion you have, and attributed to Sherlock Holmes some of the most heinous crimes of the Victorian era, if not of all time.  His is The Last Sherlock Holmes Story because every word written about SH after the events at Reichenbach--and indeed, even that entire story--were fictions constructed by Dr. Watson to preserve the reputation in the public mind of the great Sherlock Holmes as a hero.  Watson carried on with this whitewashing job for 20-odd years despite knowing the bitter truth about the man he'd shared lodgings with and thought he knew for 10 years.  He created a portrait of 'the best and wisest man (he) had ever known' for the benefit of his readership, but it was wishful thinking, because that man really never existed.  Watson had been Holmes's dupe, and we, the readers, in turn, become Watson's dupes, if we believe that Sherlock Holmes was actually a noble figure.

 

So if your 'truth' about Sherlock Holmes is real, how can you enjoy these stories any more?  I don't suppose you'd be welcomed with open arms to read your paper at any Sherlock scion societies.  Michael Dibdin moved to Italy for three years directly after the publication of his book.  Ostensibly to teach English; personally I think he was hiding out from rabid Sherlockians agitating to kill him, possibly.  So proceed with your theory at your own risk!

 

I can quite honestly say that I have not analyzed my position in so many words.  First, though I do love the works, I don't see any connection between my feelings and an alternate explanation.  Second, though I present my hypothesis, it's merely that.  I believe it's a wholly defensible based solely on ACD's canon.  Does that mean it's true?  Who knows.  Philosophers can't make up their minds about whether the number 19 exists.  I'd hardly try to discuss this :-)

 

So if your 'truth' about Sherlock Holmes is real, how can you enjoy these stories any more?

 

I'm reminded of the famous duck-rabbit optical illusion.  The image can be seen as either duck or rabbit but not both concurrently.  To ask whether it is a duck or a rabbit isn't a question one can entertain fully, I think.  Mine's the same.  I'm able to read the stories at face value and they're wonderful.  I'm also able to interpret it my way and (if I may say so) it's pretty cool too.

 

I don't suppose you'd be welcomed with open arms to read your paper at any Sherlock scion societies.

 

I don't know.  This society has been quite welcoming :-)

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If we can't trust anything Watson says then we can contrive anything to suit our fancy.

 

 

Oh, I make quite clear in my blog post that

 

In this account, I’m going to take Dr. Watson’s narration as honest and Holmes’s as deserving skepticism.

 

But it is undeniable that (a) Watson greatly admired his friend, (b) Watson was often (almost always) wrong about his own interpretation of a situation.  So it's quite possible that Watson honestly reported what he himself observed while also missing the larger picture.

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Ivijay,

 

We may be welcoming here, but if you ventured into a meeting of the BSIs, they'd just as soon tear you limb from limb as show you the door.

 

I'm sure one can find 'evidence' in the Canon to support your theory of Holmes as a master criminal, if one is willing to twist 'facts' to suit theories, Play-doh like.  Sherlock Holmes was never a 'conventional' man, and oftentimes did unconventional things in the pursuit of the truth.  Some of his methods would be considered 'criminal' upon a strict reading.  He had a breezy disregard for the ethics of breaking and entering, for example.  He lifted things from crime scenes for his own analysis.  He often decided on the spur of the moment to let wrongdoers go, when the letter of the law demanded they be handed over to Scotland Yard for incarceration.  He had a blithe relationship with the truth, when divulging too much would harm his cases, and dear friend Watson never heard the whole truth about many of his exploits. 

 

Infuriating?  Yes.  Unconventional?  Most assuredly.  Flexible in interpreting 'rules'?  You bet.  But criminal?  In the way you mean, I just can't go there.  I couldn't go all the way with Michael Dibdin, either, even though his devastating little book is a model of elegant deduction.  His book made me sick at heart . . so much so you'd think he'd destroyed the reputation of an actual person, someone I knew and loved.  In a way, he did--though only if we accept his conclusions, which I cannot.

 

At best I can see this as only a mental exercise, just to see if it can be done.  It can be done, as Mr. Dibdin so devastatingly proved.  The question is--Should it?  Or rather . . .why bother?

 

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“Holmes never presents himself as incorruptible. He would hang out at opium dens, he boasted of his criminal connections, he employed a legion of young boys to do his handy work, etc.”

 

I would say that Holmes was definately incorruptible! He hung around in opium dens to get information which would lead to the solving of crime. He knew criminals because he’d put some away and proved some innocent when they were being falsely accused. He also needed contacts, like Shinwell Johnson, who knew the criminal world better than he did and could help Holmes when no one else could. Likewise the Irregulars who were poverty stricken urchins living on the streets. Holmes paid them well and he wouldn’t have put their lives at risk.

 

Corruptibility means dishonesty. Holmes might have bent the rules (in true detective style) he even indulged in a bit of breaking and entering in a noble cause but he wa never corrupt.

All of which we know only thru Watson's rose tinted glasses.

How can you be sure that Watson saw things through rose-tinted glasses? Why couldn’t he just be telling the truth as he saw it with his own eyes? Everything that we’ve come to learn about Watson shows him as honest and dependable.

 

 

I do say in my blog post that

 

In this account, I’m going to take Dr. Watson’s narration as honest and Holmes’s as deserving skepticism.

 

Watson is honest and dependable certainly but he was biased towards his friend.  As I say in the blog, "Watson only assumes the best of his friend".

 

I'd analogize the situation like watching a sports game.  When an ardent fan of (pick your sport) describes a game everything reported might be true but also biased: "at this stage of the game that happened, it was horrible, and it was a poor judgement from the referee, then they unfairly took the advantage but…".  I see Watson in the same vein.

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So it's quite possible that Watson honestly reported what he himself observed while also missing the larger picture.

 

Sure.  :smile:  But my point there was that, if we can believe that Watson missed something as large as Holmes (basically) being the true Napoleon of Crime, then we can believe anything.  As the majority of what we know about Holmes comes (purportedly) from Watson's account, if your stance is that everything he said can be invalidated using the 'rose-tinted glasses' argument, then we're actually left with no information about Holmes at all.  At least none that can be held as truth.  Which means, anything could be true.  Hence, your case is defensible in so much as any  case is defensible.

 

Not to say you don't make a good case.  :smile:  I think it's an intriguing theory.  One that I don't endorse, but intriguing nonetheless.

 

 

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We can only judge Holmes’ character/intentions from the Canon. Everything about Holmes points to someone of high moral character (likewise with Watson.) He put his life and health at risk to solve crimes. Even when no actual crime took place, as in A Case Of Identity, he still pursued justice for Mary Sutherland and was genuinely outraged at her father-in-laws cruel treatment of her.

 

Moriarty on the other hand had no ‘moral compass.’ If people needed to die or just died as collateral damage to achieve his ends then so be it. He had no sympathy or empathy.

 

And so, for me, it’s impossible to contemplate Holmes in a Moriarty role. There is just an overwhelming mountain of evidence for Holmes good character. Especially if it’s suggested that Holmes just turned to crime due to boredom.

 

Holmes turned to drugs to ward off boredom. There is nothing in the Canon to suggest actual addiction. Later in his career he managed to leave drugs behind. But for me it’s unthinkable that Holmes simply turned to crime to fill the gaps. Any evidence of callousness or lack of regard for justice would surely have manifested itself in some way earlier on in his career to those that knew him well.

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I, on the other hand, am entirely convinced by the theory and am busily printing "Sherlock Holmes Was a Fake" t-shirts in my studio. Only 10 American dollars each. Cash only, up front. Don't bother to try to find me after the purchase. :P
 
However, I would like to point out that just because you have shown Holmes to be guilty, it does not prove your assertion (in your topic title) that Moriarty was innocent. I think it's quite likely, given all the evidence in canon which I am sure you do not need me to point out, that he was deeply involved in Holmes' plans; indeed none other than Holmes' most trusted lieutenant. This fact is so abundantly clear that I shall not endeavor to insult your intelligence by providing the proofs, but will merely say "good evening" and, er, move along.
 
35o46Bs.gif

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I, on the other hand, am entirely convinced by the theory and am busily printing "Sherlock Holmes Was a Fake" t-shirts in my studio. Only 10 American dollars each. Cash only, up front. Don't bother to try to find me after the purchase. :P

 

However, I would like to point out that just because you have shown Holmes to be guilty, it does not prove your assertion (in your topic title) that Moriarty was innocent. I think it's quite likely, given all the evidence in canon which I am sure you do not need me to point out, that he was deeply involved in Holmes' plans; indeed none other than Holmes' most trusted lieutenant. This fact is so abundantly clear that I shall not endeavor to insult your intelligence by providing the proofs, but will merely say "good evening" and, er, move along.

 

35o46Bs.gif

Hi Arcadia,

 

If you do get those t-shirts printed, and anyone who wears one intends to attend a gathering of The Baker Street Irregulars or The Sherlock Holmes Society Of London, you make want to make them with an accompanying balaclava and attach a Health Warning

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This thread has opened my eyes.  I had no idea the Baker Street Irregulars were so prone to violence, lol.

 

 

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Well, of course. They're Holmes' minions and do his bidding, which includes beating up anyone who might reveal the truth about him. If Ivijay disappears suddenly, I think we won't have very far to look......

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I, on the other hand, am entirely convinced by the theory and am busily printing "Sherlock Holmes Was a Fake" t-shirts in my studio. Only 10 American dollars each. Cash only, up front. Don't bother to try to find me after the purchase. :P

 

However, I would like to point out that just because you have shown Holmes to be guilty, it does not prove your assertion (in your topic title) that Moriarty was innocent. I think it's quite likely, given all the evidence in canon which I am sure you do not need me to point out, that he was deeply involved in Holmes' plans; indeed none other than Holmes' most trusted lieutenant. This fact is so abundantly clear that I shall not endeavor to insult your intelligence by providing the proofs, but will merely say "good evening" and, er, move along.

 

35o46Bs.gif

 

Your assertion is absolutely accurate.  I say nothing at all about Moriarty because we know nothing about him¹.  I went with “Moriarty was innocent” because it was a more pithy than “Moriarty was innocent of Holmes's accusations”.  For all we know, Moriarty was guilty of other charges (maybe he never returned his library books).

 

¹ I start off my section "Watson Fooled" with this

 

Were it not for this one sentence… from The Final Problem, independently corroborating the existence of Mr. Moriarty, I’d argue that such a man didn’t actually exist but was a fiction invented by Sherlock Holmes.

 

In the footnotes, I compare Moriarty to "Bunbury" a fictional character from Oscar Wilde's play.  Wilde and ACD were good friends (at least at that time).

 

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We can only judge Holmes’ character/intentions from the Canon. Everything about Holmes points to someone of high moral character (likewise with Watson.) He put his life and health at risk to solve crimes. Even when no actual crime took place, as in A Case Of Identity, he still pursued justice for Mary Sutherland and was genuinely outraged at her father-in-laws cruel treatment of her.

 

And so, for me, it’s impossible to contemplate Holmes in a Moriarty role. There is just an overwhelming mountain of evidence for Holmes good character. Especially if it’s suggested that Holmes just turned to crime due to boredom.

 

Any evidence of callousness or lack of regard for justice would surely have manifested itself in some way earlier on in his career to those that knew him well.

 

I refuse to speculate on psyche.  People are complex and multivaried.  One can be the nicest person to some while utterly indifferent to the pain and suffering of others, both concurrently.  I wouldn't impugn knowledge of Holmes at such an intimate level certainly not when no such descriptions of his exist in the canon.  And when they do they're by his close friend and companion.

 

Moriarty on the other hand had no ‘moral compass.’ If people needed to die or just died as collateral damage to achieve his ends then so be it. He had no sympathy or empathy.

 

Or so says Holmes, who's words (as I say in the piece) should be considered suspect.  If I were interviewing Bob to work at my firm I wouldn't take Bob's word that he's an honest man (though if he said he was a dishonest man, I would).  It's the reason we ask for references in job interviews etc.

 

Through the entire Sherlock Holmes literature as regards Moriarty, we hear from only one side.  Moriarty's case isn't once presented.  We know from Watson that Col. James Moriarty defends his brother's name but Watson doesn't get into details either.

 

If Col. Moriarty sued Watson for defamation, and all Watson had on offer was the evidence presented in The Final Problem, it's guaranteed that a fair judge would favor Moriarty.

 

Later in his career he managed to leave drugs behind.

 

But we never know how he quit the habit.  I offered an explanation that's consistent with the facts available.  Being consistent with the facts does not a proof make.  With all historical analyses one can merely conjecture, never prove and what's true of history is doubly true of fiction.  As I say in the piece, "I cannot prove that Holmes was the criminal mastermind, I shall merely present facts that point in that direction".

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Time for a slightly longer reply

 

“In this account, I’m going to take Dr. Watson’s narration as honest and Holmes’s as deserving skepticism. I can’t doubt everything.”

 

But if you selectively assume one person to be untruthful you could pretty much turn anyone into a criminal. The paucity of information on Moriarty is hardly proof that he didn’t exist. Holmes was hardly likely to tell Watson everything that he knew about him and he was well known for playing his investigation cards close to his chest until he had the problem solved.

 

You cite the fact that the Moriarty brothers were both called James as evidence of Holmes ‘forgetting the name of his fake nemesis.’

It’s not impossible to have siblings with the same name though. I once read, on the subject of the Moriarty brothers, of an example of four Victorian brothers all called Arthur (unfortunately I can’t recall the source.) I’ll add this though.....

 

https://www.genealogytoday.com/genealogy/answers/How_common_it_is_for_siblings_to_have_the_same_first_name.html

 

When questioning Holmes ‘plan’ to get Watson away from the Falls you say:

 

“Because remember, for all his alleged brilliance, Moriarty didn’t even know what Sherlock Holmes looked like. When they first met (according to Holmes), all Moriarty said was, “You have less frontal development that I should have expected”. When he knew nothing about his enemy, Holmes, how could he be expected to invent a story so perfect that it would make Watson leave?”

 

I still don’t understand your viewpoint? They met face to face. Just because Holmes didn’t have Moriarty giving a detailed description of Holmes (which would have been weird) we can’t deduce that he didn’t know what Holmes looked like. Of course he did. He would have also read Watson’s accounts of their adventures and so he would also have been familiar with the kind of people that they were thus making it easy to come up with a plan.

 

 

On Watson seeing Moriarty at the station you say:

 

“The description is so vague it could just have been a man angry about missing his train. Or, (my thesis), an actor hired by Holmes.”

 

But there’s simply no evidence for this. And why didn’t Holmes do this before? Present a ‘Moriarty’ to validate his own claims?

 

You also say:

 

“We are to believe that before his fatal tête-à-tête with Moriarty, Holmes had sufficient time to place these notes in a place that Watson would find.”

 

No issue here as Holmes specifically said that he was writing the note at the indulgence of e Professor.

 

About the Reichenbach scenario you say:

 

“The entire setup is believable, however, if we allow that there was no Moriarty and Holmes wanted the perfect spot from which to stage his death and disappear.”

 

But, as you’ve said yourself, Moriarty did exist. So why, when Holmes made his reappearance, didn’t Moriarty come forward to show what a liar Holmes was?

 

On Holmes suitability for a life of crime you quote:

 

“I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law, instead of exerting them in its defence.”

 

“It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. His expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. The stage lost a fine actor, even as science lost an acute reasoner, when he became a specialist in crime.”

 

I’m sure that Mycroft Holmes would have made a formidable criminal mastermind too but just having the required skills can’t be shown as proof. Many honest people ‘could’ have been successful criminals if they were so inclined.

 

On Holmes ‘dodgy’ connections you say:

 

“In The Man With The Twisted Lip, Watson finds his friend hanging around in an opium den — a center for criminal activity — disguised as an “absorbed” “old man”, “very thin, very wrinkled, bent with age, an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees” a font of “doddering, loose-lipped senility”. Holmes admits to Watson that he’s at the den to “find an enemy” and he has “used it [the opium den]” in the past for his “own purposes”. Holmes also casually lets slip that the opium den’s crime boss “has sworn to have vengeance upon” him. As always, when it matters, Holmes is skimpy on why and Watson, good at reporting but not so much at journalism, doesn’t enquire.”

 

And

 

“We should be rich men if we had £1,000 for every poor devil who has been done to death in that den. It is the vilest murder-trap on the whole riverside.

Left unspecified are who bear responsibility for the deaths of these “poor devils”. Watson only assumes the best of his friend.”

 

His ‘own purposes’ in context means for acquiring information which would lead to the solving of crime. As for for the owner ‘swearing vengeance’ this is hardly likely to be because Holmes was a customer! It would have been a) he wouldn’t have wanted Holmes investigating him and b) he wouldn’t have wanted Holmes scaring customers away.

 

As far as the ‘Who bear responsibility’ part it’s obvious that Holmes meant the criminals that used (and owned) the den.

 

You use this quote:

 

“In The Final Problem, Holmes boasts that “there is no one who knows the higher criminal world of London so well as I do”. And, remember, this was a boast made while Moriarty was still alive, active, and unapprehended.”

 

Holmes regarded himself, rightly, as the foremost criminal expert. There’s no mystery or hidden meaning in this statement.

 

You appear to find Holmes’ description of Moriarty suspicious:

 

“Speaking of Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes cannot but describe his “nemesis” in terms of glowing admiration.”

 

There is a huge difference between admiring someone’s skill and intelligence and admiring there morality. Holmes only had regard for Moriarty’s genius not for him as a human being.

 

This famous quote:

 

You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?”

“The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks as — “

“My blushes, Watson!” Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.

“I was about to say, as he is unknown to the public.”

 

I see nothing suspicious here and I don’t think that anyone else would. Holmes had an ego. He was assuming a compliment was coming his way.

 

Quote:

 

Schizophrenia optional

This is Holmes’s relay of an alleged conversation with Moriarty.

‘All that I have to say has already crossed your mind,’ said he.

‘Then possibly my answer has crossed yours,’ I replied.

 

Surely you can’t suggest schizophrenia ?! Both men knew what this meeting was about and from what they knew of each other each knew that other would not be backing down. There is no mystery.

 

You say:

 

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that Moriarty was involved in any sort of crime.”

 

There is also none that Holmes was. In fact there is a huge mountain of evidence in the Canon of Holmes integrity, honest and high regard for justice and fair play.

 

You also say:

 

“And, indeed, who better than a man, living in class conscious 19th century England, who’s been dismissed from the high and prestigious “Mathematical Chair” down to a lowly and ignominious “army coach”, ⁶ then it must be that he’s a super criminal.”

 

Holmes knew that he was a super criminal because of his own investigations and not just because of his background.

 

Question - If Moriarty was innocent then he would have had nothing to hide. Why did he not complain to the police of Holmes’ persecution? He could have invited them to investigate him thoroughly and when they found nothing Holmes would have been discredited and probably warned to leave Moriarty alone.

 

Answer - Because he was guilty and he didn’t want the official force on his case as well as Holmes, who we all know, was the foremost detective and champion of justice in the world.

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This thread has opened my eyes. I had no idea the Baker Street Irregulars were so prone to violence, lol.

Try telling them that Holmes never existed

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