Tonight, we’ll read the opening to “The Final Problem”, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The second half will air next week. It is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”. As with all of our Sherlock series, this story contains some darker elements and themes that may not be appropriate for all listeners.
The story, set in 1891, introduces the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. It was intended to be the final Holmes story. Conan Doyle felt the stories were distracting him from more serious literary efforts and that this was the only way of getting his career back on track.
"I must save my mind for better things," he wrote to his mother, "even if it means I must bury my pocketbook with him."
Conan Doyle later ranked "The Final Problem" fourth on his personal list of the twelve best Holmes stories.