Reichenbach Falls – Sherlock Holmes Vanquishes Moriarty
Guest Post by Marilyn Victor. An animal lover since she could walk, Marilyn Victor was a volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo for many years and shares her home with a revolving menagerie of homeless pets she fosters for a local animal rescue organization. She loves reading and writing all book genres and besides co-authoring the mystery series, Snake Jones she has a a short story in the Once Upon a Crime anthology and is working on a paranormal adventure story.
The bright red funicular chugged its way up the side of the alp, as it had for over 100 years, the small town of Meiringen, Switzerland disappearing into a sweeping landscape of snow-capped mountains, and verdant valleys. The scenery and beautiful waterfalls would have been reason enough to sandwich myself into the small car with a group of British tourists, but there was a secondary mission here. This was Reichenbach Falls, where Sherlock Holmes succeeded in vanquishing his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
While the funicular goes no further than the lower of seven tiers of the falls, there are paths that wind through a thick forest of trees, taking you to the top for anyone willing to take the half hour hike. In Switzerland, hiking beats out skiing as the number one pastime and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was known to be an avid hiker. He and his wife visited Meiringen (where meringue was invented) in 1893. At the time, the quaint little town was considered a necessary stop on the Grand European Tour and nearby Reichenbach Falls a must-see attraction.
Next to the Park Hotel du Savage, where Doyle stayed, is Conan Doyle Place. Nearby, a statue of Sherlock Holmes broods, pipe in hand. Behind the statue is a small English chapel that houses the Sherlock Holmes museum, which contains a detailed recreation of the great detective’s study, based entirely on Doyle’s descriptions and illustrations from the originally published detective stories.
Doyle saw the thundering Reichenbach Falls as a way to rid himself of his irritating creation. In “The Adventure of the Final Problem,” Professor Moriarty follows Holmes up the path to the falls (there was no funicular in those days) and confronts him. They struggle and both fall to their death. For Doyle, relief was short lived. Fans were so outraged that he was soon forced to resurrect Holmes and bring him back for more adventures.
The ledge at Reichenbach Falls where Morarity and Holmes fell is marked by a plaque commemorating the event. However, I admit I was so caught up in the beauty of the surrounding mountains, forests and waterfalls, any powers of deduction I possessed totally abandoned me and I never did see the exact spot.