The Return of Jim Moriarty

1 Jun

I’ve been contemplating how Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss are going to bring Jim back from the dead and I have one idea.  It’s not my idea, actually, it’s pretty much accepted canon amongst Sherlock Holmes scholars. 

Our Jim won’t be rising from the dead.  Nope.  He’s as dead as the proverbial dodo.  The accepted Sherlock Holmes wisdom is that there were three James Moriartys.  Yes, you read that correctly, three of them.  They were brothers, all named James. James the Elder, James the Middle, and James the Younger.  The Moriarty of the canon, and probably the Jim of Sherlock, is the middle brother.

Confusing isn’t it?  And you thought Moffat and Gatiss were bad!  This is what serious Sherlock Holmes scholars came up with YEARS ago.  It’s been more or less accepted as canon for a large number of years, the same way that Sherlock’s first name of William is accepted, even though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never so much as hints that Sherlock is not his creation’s first name!  I have read several “biographies” of Sherlock Holmes that state his first name is William, named after his father.  The family was originally landed gentry from Yorkshire, but that’s getting off topic somewhat.

Anyway, back to the James Moriarty Trio.  At least two contemporary writers of Sherlock Holmes fiction have used the idea.  Most notable is Kim Newman in “The Hound of the D’Urbervilles”.  We actually meet the other two Jameses in his book.  And the idea is mentioned in passing in Michael Kurland’s “The Infernal Device”.

The accepted wisdom is that James the Elder was in the military (have seen the ranks of both Major and Colonel mooted), and James the Younger was a station master, possibly in Devon or Cornwall.  The younger James is also often referred to as not being as bright as his brothers, so he is not likely to be the James that Moffat and Gatiss possibly utilize.  They would also have to dramatically change his profession, because if England is anything like Australia, there aren’t any station masters left!  Apart from the Fat Controller of Thomas the Tank Engine! :p

So we are possibly looking at James the Elder seeking retribution against Sherlock, John, and Mycroft.  In my mind, the most logical military post for him would be Military Intelligence.  This would give him the skill set necessary to even begin to take on the two greatest brains in England… and one pissed off ex-army doctor.

The game, as Sherlock says, is on.

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