Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Professor Moriarty: "The Napoleon of Crime"

“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

Here is an audio adaptation of "The Final Problem," Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1893 short story of the final confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and London's "Napoleon of Crime" Professor Moriarty.

Sir John Gielgud plays Sherlock Holmes, Sir Ralph Richardson plays Doctor Watson, and Orson Welles plays the legendary criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty.

I have provided some background about this story and a link to the text in an earlier post.

"The Final Problem" is told by Dr. Watson, who begins:

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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