Professor Moriarty

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Professor James Moriarty is a fictional character and the archenemy of the detective Sherlock Holmes in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind, described by Holmes as the "Napoleon of Crime". Doyle lifted the phrase from a real Scotland Yard inspector who was referring to Adam Worth, a real life model for Moriarty. As he is depicted as Holmes' greatest enemy, Moriarty is considered to be the primary antagonist of the entire series.

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Appearance in Doyle's fiction

Professor Moriarty's first appearance and his ultimate end occurred in Doyle's story "The Final Problem", in which Holmes, on the verge of delivering a fatal blow to Moriarty's criminal ring, is forced to flee to the Continent to escape Moriarty's retribution. The criminal mastermind follows, and the pursuit ends atop the Reichenbach Falls, during which, both Holmes and Moriarty apparently fall to their deaths while locked in mortal combat. During this story, Moriarty is something of a Mafia Godfather: he protects nearly all of the criminals of England in exchange for their obedience and a share in their profits. Holmes, by his own account, was originally led to Moriarty by the suggestion that many of the crimes he perceived were not the spontaneous work of random criminals, but the machinations of a vast and subtle criminal ring.

Moriarty plays a direct role in only one other of Doyle's Holmes stories: "The Valley of Fear", which was set before "The Final Problem," but published afterwards. In "The Valley of Fear", Holmes attempts to prevent Moriarty's agents from committing a murder. Moriarty does not meet Holmes in this story. In an episode where Moriarty is interviewed by a policeman, a painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze is described as hanging on the wall; Holmes remarks on another work by the same painter to show it could not have been purchased on a professor's salary. The work referred to is "La jeune fille à l'agneau".[1] have described this as a pun by Doyle upon the name of Thomas Agnew of the gallery "Thomas Agnew and Sons", who had a famous painting[2] stolen by Adam Worth, but was unable to prove the fact.[1]

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