This is how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes and his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, in The Final Problem, which was meant to be the last Sherlock Holmes adventure ever. Conan Doyle had no intention of ever writing another Sherlock Holmes story. Things turned out differently!
The Death of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget
Picture credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holmes_reichenbach.jpg
A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other's arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful caldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation. The Swiss youth was never found again, and there can be no doubt that he was one of the numerous agents whom Moriarty kept in this employ. As to the gang, it will be within the memory of the public how completely the evidence which Holmes had accumulated exposed their organization, and how heavily the hand of the dead man weighted upon them. Of their terrible chief few details came out during the proceedings, and if I have now been compelled to make a clear statement of his career it is due to those injudicious champions who have endeavored to clear his memory by attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.
- The Final Problem, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The final scene at the Waterfall is faithfully recreated in the Guy Ritchie film, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and most of the Canonical text above is used in the film. This is not going to be the case with Sherlock. Even more reason then to remind people of the original story.
What really happens at the end?
Watch the final episode of Sherlock Series 2 to find out - 9pm, BBC1, Sunday 15 January.
The Reichenbach Fall
The return of Moriarty. The crime of the century. Can Sherlock possibly survive?
Jim Moriarty, Sherlock's arch-enemy
The image above scares the life out of me or, should I say, burns the heart out of me!
Photo credit: http://blogtorwho.blogspot.com/2011/12/sherlock-promo-pics_22.html
For non-Sherlockians and non-Holmesians, Sherlock Series 2, Episode 3, The Reichenbach Fall, will be based on the Canon story, The Final Problem.