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Friday, July 8, 2011

Moriarty's Motivation?

This is the cover of an antique book I saw last weekend at Bizarre Ladies Uppity Gift Shop in the little town of Vevay, Ind., USA.

At first, the title seemed to explain so much: Professor Moriarty did it all for love! Perhaps he needed his ill-gotten gains to impress a lady love.

Upon opening the book, I saw that the author's first name was indeed James, but with a "Rev." in front of it instead of "Professor." The wrong Moriarty!

For all the instant connotations that the name has for most people, and especially Sherlockians, Moriarty is not a particularly uncommon name. Young Arthur Conan Doyle went to school with a couple of brothers named Moriarty. I myself knew a fine man named James Moriarty who was a stockbroker (not just a stockbroker's clerk).

I remember a meeting some years ago of the Tankerville Club, our local scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars, where I happened to run into Jim Moriarty in a hallway. I had fun mentioning his name to fellow club members.

Jim was well aware of the infamous professor who shared his name. Another Moriarty -- Jim's son, Jay -- was a television scripwriter and creator of 221 B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game, which has been selling well in various forms since 1975.