Sunday, November 19, 2006

"The Final Problem" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1893)

"On May 4 every year an unusual pilgrimage takes place to the small, Alpine town of Meiringen. Members of Sherlock Holmes societies from all over the world descend on the quaint town in the Bernese Oberland to commemorate the "death" of the world's most famous fictional detective." [In the footsteps of Holmes and Watson]

“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed–the word is passed to the professor, the matter is organized and carried out."---Sherlock Holmes describing his nemesis, Professor Moriarty

"The Final Problem" is told by Sherlock Holmes' friend Dr. Watson. It is the story of Sherlock Holmes' death at the hand of the legendary criminal mastermind, Professor Moriarty.

Camden House has The Complete Sherlock Holmes. All the stories are beautifully illustrated by Sidney Paget, Richard Gutschmidt, Frank Wiles, Frederic Dorr Steele and other artists.
Hundreds of illustrations can be accessed here.

Some background and a synopsis of "The Final Problem" can be found here:

"Holmes has been tracking Moriarty and his agents for months, and is on the brink of snaring them all and delivering them to the dock. Moriarty is the nexus of a highly organized criminal force, and Holmes will consider it the crowning achievement of his career if only he can defeat Moriarty. Moriarty, of course, is out to thwart Holmes' plans and is well capable of doing so, for he is, as Holmes admits, the great detective's intellectual equal."
[Synopsis]

THE FINAL PROBLEM

IT IS with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to write these the last words in which I shall ever record the singular gifts by which my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes was distinguished. In an incoherent and, as I deeply feel, an entirely inadequate fashion, I have endeavoured to give some account of my strange experiences in his company...[full text]

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