The first of the serial suicides occurred on October 12th. This means that long before Dr. Watson meets Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty is planning to kill him.
How do we know that?
Starting with what Sherlock deduces and the cabbie reveals, we have this version of the hows and whys of cabbie as serial killer:
1 - Three years prior to confronting Sherlock across a table, the cabbie was diagnosed with an apparently inoperable brain aneurism which may rupture at any moment, killing him instantly.
2 - He is a cabbie estranged from his children, not by his own desire, and wishes to leave them something more than his old clothes. He doesn't earn much as a cabbie.
3 - "I have a sponsor," the cabbie tells Sherlock, "For every life I take, money goes to my kids. ... The more I kill, the better off they'll be."
But there has to be much more going on than a psychopath in the background ("You're not the only one to enjoy a good murder, there's others out there just like you... ") who simply enjoys murder for entertainment. If the sponsor enjoys murder and the cabbie's children get money with every kill, then why would he have killed so few people and in such a bizarre way? Motivated by profit, if he were doing this on his own, he would be killing more victims at closer intervals to maximize benefits to his children before the aneurism in his head explodes, which it can at any moment. Instead, he only kills four people, so someone else is controlling his actions: Moriarty.
The Victims are Connected
|Mistress in the lens.|
No obvious motive for murder attaches to victim 2, the student James Phillimore, except that he was a student at Roland-Kerr Further Education College, the same place the cabbie took Sherlock.
As for victim number four, Sherlock gives us at least two motives for Jennifer Wilson's death. She was a "serial adulteress" and also was in the media. We assume she is in London overnight for a brief lover's tryst. Yet, she also might be in London to meet with a source, she may be doing an embarrassing expose or able to endanger powerful and important people with the information the source she is in London to meet with will provide her.
The victims were chosen by Moriarty, the arrangements made, accomplices placed and instructed, the cabbie assigned as murder weapon. He was a perfect choice for a killer-for-hire. It was always in his best interests to keep Moriarty's secrets. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He comes with built-in obsolescence. He will die soon, the secrets dying with him.
Modus Operandi: Luring Sherlock
The manner of the deaths is nonsensical if Moriarty simply used the cabbie to carry out murders for hire. In that case, they should be as simple as possible, look like muggings or accidental modes of death that do not link them together. In this way, the police never look for a single killer and the cabbie, the tool Moriarty refined, remains useful and profitable as long as possible.
And how did he actually kill them? Not using the two bottles he showed Sherlock Holmes in a game where if you outplay the cabbie, he dies and you don't.
That can't be if we believe what's already been shown us in the other murders, as the bottles each victim picked up all contained three pills. It wasn't as if the first victim had a fuller bottle and with each successive victim there were fewer pills until we reach Sherlock's which only had one. They each had three pills. The cabbie had a gun. What did he tell them?
Perhaps that he said he was going to rob them or rape the women and the pills were a drug to make them unconscious or make them lose their memory. Or was it a version of the last game, where he said two of the pills were harmless and only one was deadly and they had a 66% chance against the gun? It hardly matters. Moriarty didn't care how they died, only that they died in such a way that no one could trace the crimes back further than the cabbie and the crime scenes support the idea of "serial suicide" so as to attract the attention of Sherlock Holmes.
Moriarty created a unique game for Sherlock, intending neither Sherlock nor the cabbie leave that building alive. The cabbie would have to know it was his last day, Moriarty probably offered him a huge bonus for killing Sherlock and dying, himself. And why not? His time was ticking away; he had nothing to live for but to insure the welfare of his children. He must have known because there was no "good" pill. Both were deadly. They had to be, in case Sherlock erred. Moriarty could have provided the cabbie with an antidote he could take, of course. Leaving Sherlock's body to be just one more victim.
Moriarty's identity will be safe with the cabbie's death, Sherlock will be eliminated and Mycroft will not connect the serial-killings, the seemingly random work of a madman with the criminal mastermind he as yet cannot identify. Sherlock Holmes will be just one more hapless victim.
Then John Watson shot the cabbie. And Sherlock got the name.
Journey to Reichenbach One: The Fall of Rich Brook
1 - See JOHN'S BLOG IS WRONG - or the Solar System is for information about why this date is impossible in this Universe. Eliminating the impossible, we must accept the improbable as true: this Sherlock exists in an alternate reality or parallel universe.