I was so excited when I randomly saw this at the library. John Gardner? I love John Gardner. So I took this home and started reading. Huh, not that great. But maybe it is just setting up something neat later on? Hmmm, doesn't seem to be...then around page 100 I started getting really suspicious and googling around. It turns out that there are 2 John Gardeners; one that writes excellent moral/psychological/existential novels, and another that churns out low-grade James Bond thriller chum. The book in the library was by the latter. I got to page 100 before figuring out the mix-up, and then another 50 pages before I gave up entirely. The book is just Azad, Azad, Azad. Moriarty does criminal stuff for no good reason and in ways that are not even remotely clever. E.g., Moriarty has a fairly smart minion, and he has used the minion to poison people through their food as a sort of SOP. The minion is then captured by the police and is likely to spill vital information to the police. Moriarty sends the minion a gift basket, which is poisoned, and knowing who the basket is from the minion eats the food in the basket and dies. It's like, ok... I was expecting something clever, since clearly the minion would expect the food to be poisoned? But nope. Similarly, there is the Jack the Ripper case. Again, I was like ok, this a chance for cleverness and reversals and historical re-imagining. Moriarty mentions again and again how the case was interfering with his empire since it brought so many cops and so much attention to his area. And I am like, "Ah! This ripper guy is somehow setup/connected/directed by Holmes in order to interfere with Moriarty." Nope, the Ripper is just a random guy, and the random guy then gets informed on by a random drunk and killed. I skimmed at this point and the rest of the book seems to continue in this same vein. It also has some moderate and cliched racism against Chinese people.