Because they use compressed air to shoot
projectiles, air guns are much quieter than guns using powder. Some
Victorian gentlemen carried air guns disguised as canes. Holmes's
reasons for fearing air guns becomes clearer in "The Empty House."
|"He saw the
question in my eyes, and, putting his finger-tips together
and his elbows upon his knees, he explained the situation."
"At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the Binomial
Theorem, which has had a European vogue…."
Discovered by Euclid, and developed by Pascal and Newton, the binomial
theorem expresses the expansion of a binomial (two variables added
together) raised to a power.
"But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical
kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being
modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by
his extraordinary mental powers."
Here, Conan Doyle refers to 19th-century scientist Cesare
Lombroso's theory of the "born" or "atavistic" criminal. Moriarty
is an exception among atavistic criminals who appear in literature,
however; instead of having limited mental powers commensurate with
his increased animal appetites, he possesses both criminal intent
and extraordinary intelligence. Many readers have noticed that Moriarty
is an evil twin of Holmes who turns his powers to crime instead
||"Never have I risen to
such a height, and never have I been so hard pressed by an
opponent." Compare this Moriarty to Sidney's Paget's--Edwards's
is heavier, less reptilian, and more like a stereotypical
villain from a melodrama.
"...and the rope for all of them...."
In other words, they will all be hanged.
"I was sitting in my room thinking
the matter over, when the door opened and Professor Moriarty stood
Moriarty only appears in two Holmes stories: "The Final Problem"
and the last of the four Holmes novels, The Valley of Fear.
(Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother, only appears in three, although
he is mentioned in several others.) Nevertheless, readers have remained
fascinated with Sherlock Holmes's dark opposite. Writers of pastiches
of Conan Doyle's work have taken great liberties with Moriarty's
character. Was he indeed "the Napoleon of crime," or was he an innocent
scapegoat for some dark obsession of Holmes's? Modern reworkings
of the Conan Doyle canon, such as Nicholas Meyer's The Seven
Percent Solution, often concentrate on Holmes's unique psychology,
in which Moriarty figures prominently.