Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


A lot of people don't like the geeky Dubliner who is the latest incarnation of Professor Moriarty, but I thought he was fine. I took down my collected Holmes and checked up on how Doyle described the character and obviously- given the youth of the new Holmes and Watson- an elderly, stooping mathematician wouldn't cut the mustard. The ultimate adversary has to be roughly the same age as our protagonists or it would be like kicking grandpa. So what sort of a person sets out to be the "Napoleon of Crime"? A geek, surely- some guy with a huge brain, an obsession with problem solving and poorly developed social skills- a Gates gone to the bad, a Page or Brin who has chosen to reverse the Google motto.

The truth is that crime lords- real crime lords- are rarely impressive.  Showy criminals get shot down quickly. The clever ones, the mafia dons and the like,  are family men with accountancy skills. A deeper truth is that really clever people don't stay on the wrong side of the law any longer than they absolutely have to.  Why have the rozzers sniffing at your heels, causing you anxiety, when you can be a legitimate businessman with papal medals to hang round your neck and sons who are going into politics? Witness the career trajectory of old Joe Kennedy.

My collected Sherlock Holmes is sad.  It comes in two volumes- both with their spines missing and one with its back cover detached. I've had them since I was a kid- not as long as I've had that book on the Bayeux tapestry- but nearly 50 years. They were secondhand and well-thumbed when I acquired them. I have sometimes thought of replacing them, but they're still legible, they'll see out my time.


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