Professor James Moriarty
Pd moriarty by Signey Paget

Real Name

Professor James Moriarty

First Appearance

"The Adventure of the Final Problem" in The Strand Magazine (December, 1893)

Original Publisher

George Newnes Ltd.

Created by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Professor Moriarty was "The Napoleon of Crime" who protected all of the criminals of England in exchange for their obedience in the late 19th century. He orchestrated complex and subtle criminal conspiracies, while pretending to be a humble professor of mathematics at the university. He was, in fact, considered an upstanding citizens, despite the fact that he was essentially the brain of the entire underworld. When the great detective, Sherlock Holmes began to disrupt the operations of his vast criminal network, Moriarty decided to hunt him down. Moriarty hunted Holmes to Reichenbach Falls, where the Professor apparently met his end when the two great enemies fell over the falls in battle.

Professor Moriarty was highly educated, and possessed a genius level intellect, particularly for mathematics, on par with that of Sherlock Holmes himself. He used a weapon called an "air rifle" which could fire bullets silently, and could be disguised as a cane. Moriarty was unmarried, had a younger brother in the military, and was described as having dark criminal tendencies in his blood.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

Plays a Direct Role:

  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)
    • The Adventure of the Final Problem (1893)
  • The Valley of Fear (serialised 1914–1915 in The Strand)
  • Lost Special (1908) : Features a criminal genius who could be Moriarty and a detective who could be Holmes, although neither is mentioned by name.

Mentioned in:

  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand)
    • The Adventure of the Empty House (1903)
    • The Adventure of the Norwood Builder (1903)
    • The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter (1904)
  • His Last Bow (contains stories published 1908–1913 and 1917)

Public Domain Silver Age Appearances

  • Four Color #1169 (Dell Publishing 1961)

Public Domain Stage Appearances

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Drama in Four Acts, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Gillette (1899)


  • In the stage play, Moriarty's first name is Robert. In "The Adventure of the Empty House", it's James.

See Also

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