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Doyle's final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order. Duration: 6 hr., 25 min. Doyle's final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order. Duration: 6 hr., 25 min.


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Doyle's final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order. Duration: 6 hr., 25 min. Doyle's final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order. Duration: 6 hr., 25 min.

30 review for The Valley of Fear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jayson

    (A-) 81% | Very Good Notes: Typical vengeance flashback padding a Holmes mystery to novella length, but a decent one, and still a Holmes story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes, #7) , Arthur Conan Doyle The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is loosely based on the Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. The novel starts with Sherlock Holmes receiving a cipher message from Fred Porlock, a pseudonymous agent of Professor Moriarty. After Porlock sends the message, however, he chan The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes, #7) , Arthur Conan Doyle The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is loosely based on the Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. The novel starts with Sherlock Holmes receiving a cipher message from Fred Porlock, a pseudonymous agent of Professor Moriarty. After Porlock sends the message, however, he changes his mind for fear of Moriarty's discovering that he is a traitor. He decides not to send the key to the cipher, but he sends Holmes a note telling of this decision. From the cipher message and the second note, Holmes is able to deduce that it is a book-cipher and that the book used for the encryption is a common book, large (with at least 534 pages), printed in two columns per page, and standardised. An almanac fits these conditions exactly. Holmes tries the latest edition of Whitaker's Almanac, which he had only received a few days earlier, and fails; he then tries the previous edition. With this almanac, Holmes is able to decipher the message as a warning that "some devilry is intended against one "Douglas", a country gentleman residing at Birlstone House. Some minutes later, Inspector Macdonald arrives at Baker Street with news that a Mr. John Douglas of Birlstone Manor House, Birlstone, Sussex, has been murdered. Holmes tells MacDonald of Porlock's warning, suggesting Moriarty's involvement. However, MacDonald does not fully believe that the educated and well-respected Moriarty is a criminal. Holmes, Watson, and MacDonald travel to Birlstone House, an ancient moated manor house, to investigate the crime. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یکی از روزهای سال 1999میلادی عنوان: دره وحشت؛ نویسنده: آرتور کانن دویل؛ مترجم: مژده دقیقی؛ تهران، شهر کتاب - هرمس ( کارآگاه )؛ 1378؛ در چهارده و 237ص؛ شابک 9646641695؛ چاپ دوم 1384؛ موضوع: داستانهای کارآگاهی و معمایی از نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 19م عنوان: دره وحشت و نشانه چهار؛ نویسنده: آرتور کانن دویل؛ مترجم: مژده دقیقی؛ تهران، شهر کتاب - هرمس ( کارآگاه )؛ 1388؛ در 434ص؛ شابک: 9789643636197؛ اسم من شرلوک هولمز است؛ کارم دانستن چیزهایی که دیگران نمیدانند، از طریق مشاهده، استنتاج و دانش داستان «دره ی وحشت» به رمان «اتود در قرمز لاکی» شباهت دارد، و دو بخش است: کارهای کارآگاهی «هولمز»، و داستان، که بازنگری رویدادهایی است، که به ماجرای طرح شده در بخش نخست، میپردازد؛ سپس هر دو بخش در پایاننامه به هم می‌پیوندند، که در داستان «دره وحشت» پایان خوشی بشمار نمی‌آید؛ «دره ی وحشت» نیز دوستارانی داشته، هرچند ناقدان آثار و هنرشناسان، داستانهای «اتود در قرمز لاکی»، و «نشانه چهار» را بیشتر دوست میدارند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Sherlock Holmes receives a message from the mysterious "Porlock" , a nom-de plume, as he tells the curious Dr.Watson, in their residence, at 221 B Baker Street, in London...coded, they will have to find a particular book to decipher it, but clues are given and though a second note promised, never arrives from the obviously very nervous man, soon they do succeed...Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard enters the room unexpectedly, disclosing a murder has just occurred, a Mr. John Douglas was shot in hi Sherlock Holmes receives a message from the mysterious "Porlock" , a nom-de plume, as he tells the curious Dr.Watson, in their residence, at 221 B Baker Street, in London...coded, they will have to find a particular book to decipher it, but clues are given and though a second note promised, never arrives from the obviously very nervous man, soon they do succeed...Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard enters the room unexpectedly, disclosing a murder has just occurred, a Mr. John Douglas was shot in his Manor House, in the small village of Birlstone Sussex, not a surprise to the two friends. Mr.MacDonald is flabbergasted, Mr.Holmes explains and shows him the name of Douglas in the decoded message, too late to help the poor victim. Asking for help from the famous private detective the young policeman is not ashamed, he needs assistance they all travel to the crime house but not before Holmes discloses his theory about Professor Moriarity, a seemingly brilliant scientist and law abiding citizen, who Sherlock says is the criminal chief of the underworld, MacDonald is skeptical... Something is not quite right as Holmes looks around, (the grateful provincial constables, watch ) feels uncomfortable, Mrs.Douglas and Cecil James Barker the husband's best friend are not acting properly and the local police theory how the killing happened, he doesn't believe. The manor is surrounded by a moat, the drawbridge raised at night how did a stranger get in, commit the murder and disappear unseen by the servants and why the murder, nothing was taken from the home....Later information discovered by the famous detective, states that when Mr.Douglas lived in America and where he made his fortune under a different name, he was involved with a secret society of miners the "Scowrers" ( patterned after the infamous Molly Maguires) in the grimy dangerous, coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania the Vermissa Valley, frequently snowbound nicknamed "The Valley of Fear, "Murder is common there and the authorities unable to stop the bloodletting, the population afraid and helpless to stop it, the Scowrers control vast areas in their endless fight with the mine owners and the mostly Irish coal minors continue , year after year... A Sherlock Holmes novel, only one of four written by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that is really two different narratives one set in England with Holmes and the other in America, with Mr."Douglas" both are interesting and highly exciting but some will be rather disappointed, in the lack of the main character in the latter...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Let’s face it, Sherlock Holmes is a prig. A vainglorious bombast whose every breath seems devoted, at least in part, to extolling his prodigious and ubiquitous knowledge and singular mastery over every form of argument, logical deduction or investigative strategy (he's a little like that last sentence). It’s amazing the man can dress himself given that one arm is forever employed in the constant motion of slapping palm to his own back in congratulations for his monumental genius. Now when fa Let’s face it, Sherlock Holmes is a prig. A vainglorious bombast whose every breath seems devoted, at least in part, to extolling his prodigious and ubiquitous knowledge and singular mastery over every form of argument, logical deduction or investigative strategy (he's a little like that last sentence). It’s amazing the man can dress himself given that one arm is forever employed in the constant motion of slapping palm to his own back in congratulations for his monumental genius. Now when faced this over-the-top example of Holmes’s masturbatory love for his own brain, one can either cringe and slink away to cower in the corner with less abrasive (and more boring) personalities, or one can boldly embrace this personification of mental prowess, slip inside the conceit canoe and journey with this most compelling of personages. I choose the latter and hereby declare myself a proud member of TEAM JACOB SHERLOCK!! Ripley’s believe it or not, this novel is my first concentrated exposure to Sir Arthur’s exploits of the World’s Greatest Detective (tied for #1 with Batman). I have owned the completed works of Sherlock Holmes for some time and had previously perused a few of the short stories, but never had read a story from cover to cover until now. This is an oversight I intend to correct over and over again during the next 12 months as this was a terrific experience. PLOT SUMMARY: The Valley of Fear is one of four Holmes novels to go along with 56 short stories written by Doyle. This story is also, I was flabbergasted to discover, one of only two stories to feature Professor Moriarty (the other being “The Final Problem”). That was a stunning revelation as Moriarty is THE villain associated with Holmes. However, after reading this story (and the Final Problem), I can now see why and I think it is a good thing that Moriarty’s actual appearances are so few. The novel itself is broken up into two main segments with a third comprised of the introduction and epilogue that glue the narrative pieces together. Holmes and Watson decode a letter from an underling of Prof. Moriarty and learn that a certain John Douglas is going to get whacked. The whacking, in fact, occurs and the two head off to Sussex to investigate the murder in the hopes of of learning Moriarty’s involvement. What ensues is a brilliantly executed mystery that is solved elegantly and with much self-congratulations by Holmes, much to the starry-eyed, “may I kiss you” amazement of Dr. Watson. Seriously, these two have the best bromance since “Shake and Bake” from Talladega Nights. Part II of the story (“The Scowrers”) takes us back to learn the history of John Douglas’s time in America. Despite, neither Holmes nor Watson appearing in this segment, the story itself is wonderful and demonstrates Sir Arthur’s gift for compelling, plot-driven writing. The climax of this segment answers several large questions left dangling out of Part I’s under garments and segues nicely into the epilogue where Holmes performs a final recitation of both threads as well as the tie in with Moriarty. It’s a well-written, superbly crafted novel that engages and entertains in equal measure. THOUGHTS: Holmes is a force of nature and I found him impossible to ignore when he was pontificating from the page. He emits a resonance that leapt off the parchment and put a stranglehold on my attention with the strength of his personality. He won me over big time. I grant you that his immense ego and his chronic case of patronizingitis is such that I would not likely choose to hang out with him on the weekends and play scrabble, but as a main character he is simply superb. A truly unique voice in all of literature and I am very happy to have now officially made his acquaintance. 4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. P.S. I listened to the audio of this read by Simon Prebble (one of my favorites) and he did his usual exceptional job.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kirstine

    I got tricked. Except that's probably not what you call it when you commit the hubris of presuming to know what's going on in a Sherlock Holmes story. I didn't even assume, I thought I knew. I was so absolutely certain I knew where that last part of the story went, that I didn't even consider other options; but I was wrong. I unwittingly handed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the honor of throwing my ego around like a ragdoll. Well deserved, I say. On the bright side, nothing keeps you hungry for a myster I got tricked. Except that's probably not what you call it when you commit the hubris of presuming to know what's going on in a Sherlock Holmes story. I didn't even assume, I thought I knew. I was so absolutely certain I knew where that last part of the story went, that I didn't even consider other options; but I was wrong. I unwittingly handed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the honor of throwing my ego around like a ragdoll. Well deserved, I say. On the bright side, nothing keeps you hungry for a mystery like being so utterly surprised by it. Excellent story. The first part is highly enjoyable and Sherlock Holmes has plenty of opportunity to shine his bright (much brighter than mine) ego and intellect on a quite puzzling case. The second part I dreaded reading, because I always find it boring, I'd rather have the first part be much longer. So I entered into it just wanting to get it over with. And where did that get me? Looking like an utter fool as the final reveal was in place. I can only recommend it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Swaroop

    A good & interesting mystery read! "Talk away, Mr. Holmes. I'm just loving it. It's fine!" Originally published in the year 1915, The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle contains two acts. Part 1 is about a tragedy that happens in Birlstone and Part 2 is about these group of people called The Scowrers. This book has an interesting storyline, with powerful characters and good dialogues. "while those fateful eyes still strained to pierce the veil..." A good & interesting mystery read! "Talk away, Mr. Holmes. I'm just loving it. It's fine!" Originally published in the year 1915, The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle contains two acts. Part 1 is about a tragedy that happens in Birlstone and Part 2 is about these group of people called The Scowrers. This book has an interesting storyline, with powerful characters and good dialogues. "while those fateful eyes still strained to pierce the veil..."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janete

    4,5 stars. This book is divided into two parts. The end of the first part brings the solution to the mystery by Sherlock Holmes. The second part is a flashback that tells the background of the crime. At the beginning of the second part, I got bored and felt like giving up. But as the narrative progressed, I became more and more interested ... And I found the last pages very exciting and electrifying! The blurb: "Look down the valley! See the cloud of a hundred chimneys that overshadows it! I tell 4,5 stars. This book is divided into two parts. The end of the first part brings the solution to the mystery by Sherlock Holmes. The second part is a flashback that tells the background of the crime. At the beginning of the second part, I got bored and felt like giving up. But as the narrative progressed, I became more and more interested ... And I found the last pages very exciting and electrifying! The blurb: "Look down the valley! See the cloud of a hundred chimneys that overshadows it! I tell you that the cloud of murder hangs thicker and lower than that over the heads of the people. It is the Valley of Fear, the Valley of Death. The terror is in the hearts of the people from the dusk to the dawn." So declares a resident of a mining town, where a sinister secret society maintains its stranglehold on the community with a series of violent crimes. The Valley of Fear, the last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, ranks among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's best work. The mystery begins with a coded warning of imminent danger, drawing the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson to a secluded English country home. A trail of bewildering clues - raincoats, dumbbells, a missing wedding ring - leads to sleuthing in the finest Holmesian tradition and the gripping backstory of a cult that terrorized a valley in an American eastern state.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “I am inclined to think—” said I. “I should do so,” Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently. I believe that I am one of the most long-suffering of mortals; but I’ll admit that I was annoyed at the sardonic interruption. “Really, Holmes,” said I severely, “you are a little trying at times.” An auspicious start to The Valley of Fear where Holmes is trolling Watson, by this point in their timeline they are already like an old married couple. Looking at Goodreads’ ranking (by the number of ratings) of Con “I am inclined to think—” said I. “I should do so,” Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently. I believe that I am one of the most long-suffering of mortals; but I’ll admit that I was annoyed at the sardonic interruption. “Really, Holmes,” said I severely, “you are a little trying at times.” An auspicious start to The Valley of Fear where Holmes is trolling Watson, by this point in their timeline they are already like an old married couple. Looking at Goodreads’ ranking (by the number of ratings) of Conan Doyle’s books, including the sans-Holmes Jurassic Park prototype The Lost World (Professor Challenger, #1), The Valley of Fear does not make the top ten. Does this mean it is a bad Sherlock Holmes book? Perish the thought! There is no such thing. However, of the four Holmes full-length novels*, this is the least of them. Still, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan (as opposed to just a fan of Benedict Crummylunch) there is no excuse to skip this one. The Valley of Fear hits the ground running with Holmes receiving a cipher message which he solves while mocking Watson. “You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself.” LOL! I love his process of decoding the encrypted message, always the most fun part of any Holmes story. The note warns of a man being in imminent danger of pushing up the daisies. The game is, therefore, afoot, and soon Holmes, Watson, and a police inspector are racing off to the countryside to investigate the murder of Mr. John Douglas, whose face has apparently been shot to pieces. A card marked “V.V. 341” is left beside the body. What soon transpire is a massive spoiler so I won’t go into that, suffice it to say that Holmes solves the mystery before the book is even half over. At that point, I wondered what are we left with then, for the rest of the book? What follows for most of the second half of the book is a story set in the Vermissa Valley, the titular “Valley of Fear”, in the US, featuring an evil freemason lodge. In most Holmes novels Conan Doyle structured the books with a beginning involving Holmes and Watson investigating a murder, then the narrative switches to a novella-length flashback section where our two heroes are entirely absent from the narrative, after that ends we are back with Holmes and a denouement or a coda. This is the case here and The Valley of Fear is structurally identical to A Study in Scarlet, there is also another similarity, that book features a community of evil Mormons, this one features an evil freemason lodge. If he had gone on to write a fifth Holmes novel it probably would have featured an evil community of cross-dressing lumberjacks. I cannot help but think that Conan Doyle may have run out of original plot ideas by this point in his career. Certainly every time Doyle pulls this stunt the absence of Holmes and Watson is keenly felt. However, Doyle gets away with it because he was such a gifted storyteller and the Holmes-free narrative section is always somewhat entertaining. Having said that, to me, this narrative structure often leaves me with something like a sandwich with excellent bread but a “meh” filling. Imagine a James Bond movie with Bond shaken but not stirring for half the movie, that is not going to go down very well. In conclusion, if you like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories you should not miss The Valley of Fear because there are only a limited number of them and there are enough Holmes & Watson shenanigans to make most fans reasonably happy. If you have never read a full-length Holmes novel, start with The Hound of the Baskervilles, it is the best one and even a little spooky! Notes: * I reviewed all the other three Holmes novels, I hope these reviews will be of some interest to you: • A Study in Scarlet • The Hound of the Baskervilles • The Sign of Four • I bought this Kindle edition off Amazon for $0.99, thinking it would have some nice illustrations I could put in this review. Hilariously the pictures inside have nothing to do with the novel or Holmes! If you want a free e-book edition go for the Project Gutenberg one. • I listened to the Librivox audiobook version, brilliantly read (as always) by David Clarke. Thank you! Quotes: “Your thoughts move a bit too quick for me, Mr. Holmes. You leave out a link or two, and I can’t get over the gap.” Said PC Plod. “Dozens of exiguous threads which lead vaguely up towards the centre of the web where the poisonous, motionless creature is lurking.” Lots of shoutouts to Moriarty but the great Mo never shows up! “He brightened and rubbed his thin hands together as he listened to the meagre but remarkable details. A long series of sterile weeks lay behind us, and here at last there was a fitting object for those remarkable powers which, like all special gifts, become irksome to their owner when they are not in use. That razor brain blunted and rusted with inaction.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    leynes

    I am so done. Doyle is cancelled. I was initially very excited to dive into the Sherlock canon, because I've enjoyed both the TV series and the movie adaptations. Sherlock Holmes seemed to be a unique character, with funny, but loveable quirks, and so I knew that I had to get into the source material as well. Boy, I wish I never did. So far, I've read the complete novels, and 8 short stories (from His Last Bow) and, except for The Hound of the Baskervilles, none were enjoyable. Not even in the s I am so done. Doyle is cancelled. I was initially very excited to dive into the Sherlock canon, because I've enjoyed both the TV series and the movie adaptations. Sherlock Holmes seemed to be a unique character, with funny, but loveable quirks, and so I knew that I had to get into the source material as well. Boy, I wish I never did. So far, I've read the complete novels, and 8 short stories (from His Last Bow) and, except for The Hound of the Baskervilles, none were enjoyable. Not even in the slightest. Doyle's novels are one of the most boring, structurally awkward and somewhat offensive (I'm looking at you, The Sign of Four) pieces of literature I have ever read. In the BBC series, Sherlock is a sociopath, he makes a lot of questionable choices, but underneath the surface you can see how much he cares for John. Their relationship is heart-warming and real. By comparison, in the books these two characters are empty. I felt nothing for them. There was no chemistry at all, and I couldn't even sense a lick of affection between them. Moreover, in the source material Sherlock feels like a mere side character, and not like a protagonist at all... He rarely appears in any of the cases, and he just does nothing. Or the things he does are fucking boring. The deductions aren't clever at all, and the murders are soooo dull and tedious. I just hate how Doyle structured his major cases. All, except for The Hound of the Baskervilles (which is probably why I enjoyed it somewhat more), are split into two parts. The first being set in the present time, where Sherlock and John are confronted with the murder, and the second being set in the past, recounting the back story of the murderer and the events that led up to the crime. The latter is always soooo boring and useless. Sherlock and John don't show up in it at all, and I, as a reader, just didn't care about the murderer and his victim, because they were never fleshed out characters, and so I was infuriated that I had to read 100+ of their back story. I was actually really looking forward to reading The Valley of Fear because it is one of the two stories in which Moriarty shows up, but it left me so disappointed. Moriarty is merely mentioned in this, nothing more. Sherlock talks about him maybe twice... I mean c'mon, that's it? That's the big introduction of the greatest villain in the Sherlock verse? You got to be kidding me. In the introduction of my bind-up edition of the four Sherlock novels, it states that Doyle's second story wasn't a success (what a surprise), and that he then actually wanted to ditch the Sherlock stories altogether to work on more "serious" books. Well, if a writer isn't happy with his work, how can readers be... But since Doyle, who was working as a doctor as well, had only a few patients in London and needed money, in 1891, he decided to keep going and submitted more short stories to The Strand. In the following months these would make him famous and Sherlock immortal. But fairly soon Doyle began to tire of these trivial entertainments; they kept him from "better things". Oh wow, he sure does love being a writer. Did you know that he never worked over his drafts? He just vomited these stories out, and then handed them in. Wow. I'm so impressed [insert sarcasm here]. In my opinion, that lack of revision really does show, because his stories feel extremely clumsy, disjointed and overall elicit no feeling of excitement. They have little to no quotable moments, and overall they just really piss me off. Do I need to read another story in which violence and corruption always happens outside of England's green and peaceful land, because Englishmen are known for their goodness and high moral (*coughs* colonialism is a thing), and only foreigners are criminals? No. In the source material, Holmes functiones as a white knight, persevering the civilized values of the British Empire (*coughs* don't forget the slave trade, ya'll) against barbarity and disorder. And ain't nobody got time for that. The game is so not afoot. ;) However, I will read The Final Problem and The Adventure of the Empty House (which showcase the death of Sherlock and Moriarty, and then the explanation of how they survived), A Scandal in Bohemia (the introduction to Irene Adler) and The Greek Interpreter (the introduction to Mycroft Holmes), because I am a weak bitch, and like to be "well read". Whatever the fuck that means.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Holmes and Watson investigate a murder in a country mansion, a man shot in the face with a sawn off shotgun. Things quickly prove not to be as they seem. But what does the murder have to do with the Valley of Fear... First off, I'm not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan and was at a loss when Valley of Fear was announced as a book in the Hard Case line. While I respect Arthur Conan Doyle as one of the pioneers of detective fiction, I was never really interested in him or Holmes. In my quest to read Holmes and Watson investigate a murder in a country mansion, a man shot in the face with a sawn off shotgun. Things quickly prove not to be as they seem. But what does the murder have to do with the Valley of Fear... First off, I'm not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan and was at a loss when Valley of Fear was announced as a book in the Hard Case line. While I respect Arthur Conan Doyle as one of the pioneers of detective fiction, I was never really interested in him or Holmes. In my quest to read all of the Hard Case Crime books, I finally had to bite the bullet and give Valley of Death a try. I wasn't disappointed. The initial mystery was well done, though I tipped to what actually happened fairly early on, probably because I'd seen the same scenario before, most recently in an episode of the X-Files. The flashback provided most of the action of the story but was also the part I had a problem with. Did half of the story have to be a flashback? Valley of Fear was a good read and I'm glad I read it. I'll probably read more A.C. Doyle in the future but hopefully not as part of the Hard Case library.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Written 25 years after my favourite Holmes story, The Sign of the Four. I don‘t think I ever read this! 25 years later! Excuse me while I wander off to read about Doyle‘s life again. „..the long, low Jacobean house of dingy, liver-coloured brick lay before us, with an old-fashioned garden of cut yews on each side of it.“ ...and about English architecture in the 17th century... and yews.... what a cool tree! Ok, where was I...I liked the main story a lot, it was very entertaining. Holmes was Holmes—" Written 25 years after my favourite Holmes story, The Sign of the Four. I don‘t think I ever read this! 25 years later! Excuse me while I wander off to read about Doyle‘s life again. „..the long, low Jacobean house of dingy, liver-coloured brick lay before us, with an old-fashioned garden of cut yews on each side of it.“ ...and about English architecture in the 17th century... and yews.... what a cool tree! Ok, where was I...I liked the main story a lot, it was very entertaining. Holmes was Holmes—"Really, Holmes," said I severely, "you are a little trying at times"—, the various police detectives were very likeable and not as stupid as we have come to believe. Perhaps some of the characters were a bit one-dimensional. The back-story did not keep me interested enough, but had a nice twist. Maybe not the best Holmes story, but solid.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Valley of Fear takes the two part structure of his first novel, A Study in Scarlet; first part deals with the untangling of the crime mystery and the second part provides the background that leads to the crime mystery. The first part was quite interesting and intriguing but the second part was a little slow and it took a little effort on my part to hold my attention. But on to half of the second part, story became more engaging and the reading was interesting once more. However, there was a The Valley of Fear takes the two part structure of his first novel, A Study in Scarlet; first part deals with the untangling of the crime mystery and the second part provides the background that leads to the crime mystery. The first part was quite interesting and intriguing but the second part was a little slow and it took a little effort on my part to hold my attention. But on to half of the second part, story became more engaging and the reading was interesting once more. However, there was a little vagueness at the end of the story which suggest the beginning of another mystery. I was thinking to myself whether Conan Doyle had some plan in mind to write another novel from he where he stopped or was it how he wanted to end his last novel - with an element of ambiguity. Overall it was a quite interesting read. With this, I have read all Sherlock Holmes novels, and I can honestly say that The Hound of the Baskerville is the best. This is closely followed by A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four . And The Valley of Fear with its three stars closes up the rear.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    A Sherlock Holmes of a different type; much more the side story than the part in which Sherlock Holmes participates. And, it is the side story that makes this a worthwhile read. The mystery of the murdered man is fairly predictable, I thought, and there is so little of Sherlock himself that he seems almost unimportant. The two stories (the one with Sherlock and the backstory without) seem almost disconnected. This is Doyle’s last Sherlock Holmes and I dare say he was tired of his own invention, a A Sherlock Holmes of a different type; much more the side story than the part in which Sherlock Holmes participates. And, it is the side story that makes this a worthwhile read. The mystery of the murdered man is fairly predictable, I thought, and there is so little of Sherlock himself that he seems almost unimportant. The two stories (the one with Sherlock and the backstory without) seem almost disconnected. This is Doyle’s last Sherlock Holmes and I dare say he was tired of his own invention, a thought that can be easily supported by the fact that he had already attempted to kill him off in an earlier book. I think the disinterest he was feeling shows in the part of this story that includes his famous character. Or, perhaps, it is I who am tired of Holmes. Perhaps the thrill that he used to give me as a young reader makes something important seem to be missing now. In any event, this was Doyle’s last Holmes, and perhaps mine as well. On to other pastures, that are looking greener right now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This is the least enjoyable compared to his earlier 3 novels. The reason is that the plot is a lot thinner and there is almost nothing that Holmes and Watson do except the display their usual power of deduction. Together with the two detectives, the duo go to the scene of the crime and do their usual investigation and after a day or two, are able to solve the crime. The revelation in the end felt so simple and did it not really surprise me at all. I also suspect that I may have been feeding my b This is the least enjoyable compared to his earlier 3 novels. The reason is that the plot is a lot thinner and there is almost nothing that Holmes and Watson do except the display their usual power of deduction. Together with the two detectives, the duo go to the scene of the crime and do their usual investigation and after a day or two, are able to solve the crime. The revelation in the end felt so simple and did it not really surprise me at all. I also suspect that I may have been feeding my brain with too much Sherlock Holmes stories that when John Douglas came out, my heart did not skip a beat or two unlike while reading some of his short stories or even recently with his most popular novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles. However, even if this book is not a par with the other three, this is still a good book. The saving grace is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made use, as a backdrop, the 19th allegedly criminal Irish-American mining group called Molly Maguires including the fictional appearance of a real-life agent called James McParland who tips off the death of the rich businessman, John Douglas to Holmes and Watson. The tie up was barely established, however, and I found that Sir Doyle could have elaborated further towards the end to make the plot more interesting. I am not sure if this true-to-life link will still be used in some of his succeeding short stories because, towards the end of the book, Holmes hinted on the connection between his archenemy, Professor Mortiary and the Pirkenton agency as the ones controlling the criminal underworld. I hope he would, since this is quite interesting. Other than this tie up with some history, there is nothing else worth mentioning, as far as I am concerned, regarding this book. I have seen everything else in his 3 earlier novels and around 30 short stories. I also missed the way he used human emotion in some of his short stories, the use of elaborate flashback in his first novel, A Study in Scarlet and the fast-paced action in the one prior to this - The Hound of Baskervilles. I'm on to the last two collections of short stories. I am now nearing the end of my quest to read the whole Sherlock Holmes canon. I am not sure whether I will be happy because I will surely miss Holmes and Watson.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    “Look down the valley! See the cloud of a hundred chimneys that overshadows it! I tell you that the cloud of murder hangs thicker and lower than that over the heads of people. It’s the Valley of Fear – the Valley of Death. The terror is in the hearts of the people from dusk to dawn.” A formulaic murder mystery which can be easily seen as a trailblazer-like story for the pulp era whodunits common in dime and drug stores during the golden era of the genre. THE VALLEY OF FEAR is perfectly placed amo “Look down the valley! See the cloud of a hundred chimneys that overshadows it! I tell you that the cloud of murder hangs thicker and lower than that over the heads of people. It’s the Valley of Fear – the Valley of Death. The terror is in the hearts of the people from dusk to dawn.” A formulaic murder mystery which can be easily seen as a trailblazer-like story for the pulp era whodunits common in dime and drug stores during the golden era of the genre. THE VALLEY OF FEAR is perfectly placed among the Hard Case Crime novels it so shares the commodity with – one of the many where the artwork adds to the story. Cosmetics aside, the story sets out as a straight forward murder mystery true to the Sherlock Holmes formula. Called in to assist the police in what seems a straight forward suicide, Holmes' investigation quickly becomes a case of murder; the origins of which spanning back many years prior. Enter the Freemasons, violent gangs, a community in fear, and a few twists to keep the reader on their toes. The Valley of Fear is a tale of two novellas; the first, a pulp mystery, the second a cult of fear where control of a small community is attained by-over-the-top violence. A.C. Doyle does a great job at rounding out the plot and linking the two stories perfectly while added some really nice twists. I found myself enjoying the book moreso the second time round (having read it some 6 years earlier).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This was my least favorite of all the Sherlock Holmes books I've read so far. The novel was published in 1915 and features two parts: The first half involves the murder of a man named John Douglas at his manor house. Sherlock is called in to help solve the mystery of how the murderer got away because the house was surrounded by a moat. Dr. Watson comes along to help out, but the solution of the case is disappointing and Sherlock wasn't given much to do. The second part is an extended flashback a This was my least favorite of all the Sherlock Holmes books I've read so far. The novel was published in 1915 and features two parts: The first half involves the murder of a man named John Douglas at his manor house. Sherlock is called in to help solve the mystery of how the murderer got away because the house was surrounded by a moat. Dr. Watson comes along to help out, but the solution of the case is disappointing and Sherlock wasn't given much to do. The second part is an extended flashback at an American mining region called Vermissa Valley. The plot is reportedly based on a real incident of a Pinkerton agent who infiltrated the Molly Maguires, which was a secret society of miners. This narrative format is similar to Sherlock's first novel, A Study in Scarlet, in which there was an lengthy flashback involving Mormons in Utah. Because Sherlock was absent for half the novel and given little to do in the other half, this book felt like a TV show in which the lead character is written out of the episode because they're hosting Saturday Night Live. It seemed like Doyle decided to give Sherlock the week off. If you want to read just one Sherlock novel, I would suggest The Hound of the Baskervilles. I think The Valley of Fear could be skipped by all but the most dedicated of Sherlock fans.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

    Classic Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle at his finest. If you've read and enjoyed any books in the Sherlock Holmes series - then read them all, they are all consistently great. Sherlock Holmes must be one of the greatest literary characters ever created and the stories are so very well written. Intriguing, compelling, intelligent, exciting, page-turning fun of the highest order. Classic Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle at his finest. If you've read and enjoyed any books in the Sherlock Holmes series - then read them all, they are all consistently great. Sherlock Holmes must be one of the greatest literary characters ever created and the stories are so very well written. Intriguing, compelling, intelligent, exciting, page-turning fun of the highest order.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    ***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** And so ends my Summer of Sherlock. While reading a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, I realized that I had missed this installment of Holmes and set about correcting that deficit. It reminded me a lot of A Study in Scarlet--with the action originating in North America, leading to a puzzling ending in England. ACD is wordsmithing at his best in this tale. Holmes receives a cipher, but not the key. Does this dissuade our sleuth? Of course not. ”There are many ciph ***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** And so ends my Summer of Sherlock. While reading a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, I realized that I had missed this installment of Holmes and set about correcting that deficit. It reminded me a lot of A Study in Scarlet--with the action originating in North America, leading to a puzzling ending in England. ACD is wordsmithing at his best in this tale. Holmes receives a cipher, but not the key. Does this dissuade our sleuth? Of course not. ”There are many ciphers which I would read as easily as I do the apocrypha of the agony column.” Within minutes he has produced the correct volume and he & Watson have translated the string of numbers into a message. No need to parse the agony columns in the newspapers this time! Plus, Holmes shows his usual understanding of the human psyche when the murder victim’s wife and friend do not respond appropriately: ”It was badly stage-managed for even the rawest of investigations must be struck by the absence of the usual feminine ululation.” The authors of this time period had the most amazing vocabularies and weren’t afraid to use them! Now, I bid Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson a dieu for a while. I will no doubt see you both at some point in the future.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I was already annoyed near the start of this, because Watson (and others) knowing of Moriarty contradicts the earlier (though it’s set later) story that Moriarty appears in, in which Watson (and others) know nothing of him. (I’ve heard there are other continuity errors in the Sherlock stories, but those must’ve escaped me.) The first part of this novella could exist on its own as a typical Sherlock short. The surprise is a good one: the reader (i.e. me) rushes through the clue just as Sherlock’s I was already annoyed near the start of this, because Watson (and others) knowing of Moriarty contradicts the earlier (though it’s set later) story that Moriarty appears in, in which Watson (and others) know nothing of him. (I’ve heard there are other continuity errors in the Sherlock stories, but those must’ve escaped me.) The first part of this novella could exist on its own as a typical Sherlock short. The surprise is a good one: the reader (i.e. me) rushes through the clue just as Sherlock’s compatriots do. The second section is a tedious violent, back story a la A Study in Scarlet. If I hadn’t decided to read all the Sherlock stories, I would’ve quit at this point. Good thing I didn’t. The twist was a shocker (the less you know of the historical basis, the better; and I knew nothing) that had me paging back through all the prior table-setting tedium. Well played, Sir Arthur.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    3.75* “It is, I admit, mere imagination; but how often is imagination the mother of truth?” As was the case for the very first Sherlock novel, A Study in Scarlet, the book is divided into two narratives. The first has our detective extraordinaire doing his usual thing, to great entertainment, the second doesn’t. This was still a great read! There is nothing wrong with the second part, a historical adventure set in the U.S. and featuring a Pinkerton man, but it is the juxtaposition that will grate. 3.75* “It is, I admit, mere imagination; but how often is imagination the mother of truth?” As was the case for the very first Sherlock novel, A Study in Scarlet, the book is divided into two narratives. The first has our detective extraordinaire doing his usual thing, to great entertainment, the second doesn’t. This was still a great read! There is nothing wrong with the second part, a historical adventure set in the U.S. and featuring a Pinkerton man, but it is the juxtaposition that will grate. Sherlock’s part is of course what we all want and Conan Doyle delivers. I couldn’t help smiling at his antics, and the long-suffering Watson - "Really, Holmes," said I severely, "you are a little trying at times”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Not enough Holmes! Finally found a copy of this to read and, unfortunately, it is too much like The Scarlet Thread. NO ONE wants to read a book about some whackjob American with a secret mysterious past! We already did that once! We want to hear about HOLMES, by God! That's why we are reading this book-- because it is a SHERLOCK HOLMES BOOK. I don't care how spectacular Birdy Edwards is. I don't care what became of him. I want to see a classic character being classic. Surely, by the time Conan Doy Not enough Holmes! Finally found a copy of this to read and, unfortunately, it is too much like The Scarlet Thread. NO ONE wants to read a book about some whackjob American with a secret mysterious past! We already did that once! We want to hear about HOLMES, by God! That's why we are reading this book-- because it is a SHERLOCK HOLMES BOOK. I don't care how spectacular Birdy Edwards is. I don't care what became of him. I want to see a classic character being classic. Surely, by the time Conan Doyle wrote this,he realized that this was why he was being read? He was harassed for killing Holmes! He was writing this book because he had been forced to bring Holmes back! I know he had lost patience with the character, but the character was brilliant and beloved for a reason. There was no reason to write another crazy cop-out book about someone who is not actually Holmes. Probably went over well in England, though. They probably got pretty excited by the idea of a crime story set in America. I probably won't reread this book any time soon.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eligah Boykin jr.

    This is a fine book about raising the tone of an entire community by ridding it of its secret criminal element and thereby making it something more than a 'Valley of Fear'. This novel is not as tightly written as 'A Study in Scarlet', nor does it move in real time with the suspenseful pace of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', but it speaks to something more profound about the Human Spirit in its eternal struggle for Freedom. This is the novel that makes one ponder the darker implications of figh This is a fine book about raising the tone of an entire community by ridding it of its secret criminal element and thereby making it something more than a 'Valley of Fear'. This novel is not as tightly written as 'A Study in Scarlet', nor does it move in real time with the suspenseful pace of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', but it speaks to something more profound about the Human Spirit in its eternal struggle for Freedom. This is the novel that makes one ponder the darker implications of fighting for a better world. 'The Valley of Fear' is actually a story within a story, similar to 'A Study in Scarlet', featuring one of the most incredible flashbacks of all time. The protagonist of this flashback story is Birdy Edwards, and his struggles with criminals give this novel a more realistic basis than many of Holmes' prior puzzles of detection. I really didn't see the end coming in the flashback tale until it was upon me and it was one of the most satisfying and believable conclusions I have ever experienced. The resolution of this novel is definitely not saccharine and speaks forcefully to realities of the grimness of this world. Professor Moriarity is mentioned for the first time and the events of 'The Valley of Fear' come across as precursor to Holmes' own encounter with Moriarty in 'The Final Problem'. Mostly I just like the title 'The Valley of Fear'. I was expecting some sort of adventure based for all appearances on the Supernatural and Horror genres. Something like 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. But the fear in this 'valley' is quite natural and real, but no less horrible. It made me reflect upon the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and 'The Valleys of Fear' they must have produced all across the South. That's why for my money, 'The Valley of Fear' has an understated depth to it that raises it a notch above the standard Detective or Mystery genre.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    Charles van Buren TOP 1000 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars One of the more exciting Sherlock Holmes tales March 26, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase This review is of the free Kindle edition: A Public Domain Book Publication date: May 12, 2012 Language: English ASIN: B0082RVDYUBook THE VALLEY OF FEAR, the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel (but not the final story), is similar to the first Holmes story, A STUDY IN SCARLET, in that it is divided into two distinct parts with the second part occu Charles van Buren TOP 1000 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars One of the more exciting Sherlock Holmes tales March 26, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase This review is of the free Kindle edition: A Public Domain Book Publication date: May 12, 2012 Language: English ASIN: B0082RVDYUBook THE VALLEY OF FEAR, the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel (but not the final story), is similar to the first Holmes story, A STUDY IN SCARLET, in that it is divided into two distinct parts with the second part occurring in America. In this novel, Doyle simply made up American locales and organizations. Though there are some similarities to the Molly Maguires and the real troubles in the Pennsylvania mining country. Reading this novel without giving it any forethought was an experience much like the one I had watching FRANKENSTEIN starring Boris Karloff for the first time. Oh, so many cliches I thought until finally it seeped through my thick head that these were not cliches at all, these were the originals. I do not know that Doyle invented many of the now old hat plot devices which he used in this novel but he wrote early enough that they were certainly not cliches at the time. If imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery, then Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been much flattered over the years. This novel is both mystery and suspense written by a master. SPOILER: if you are looking for a happy ending, be aware that the forces of evil eventually prevail in this particular encounter between Holmes and Moriarty. But of course this is not the final chapter in that conflict between titans. Ignore the Quality Control Issues blurb at the Amazon listing for this FREE edition. Either there were issues in the past, now corrected, or some hpercritical, OCD people have been at play here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    Over the last year I’ve re-read ‘A Study in Scarlet’, ‘The Sign of Four’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. It’s been an incredibly enjoyable experience, not least because each of the novels performed the charming trick of being much better than I remembered it. I take the orthodox view that it’s in the short stories where you find the true magic of Sherlock Holmes (particularly ‘The Adventures’ and ‘The Memoirs’), but this seems to have had the odd effect of downgrading the qualities of the n Over the last year I’ve re-read ‘A Study in Scarlet’, ‘The Sign of Four’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. It’s been an incredibly enjoyable experience, not least because each of the novels performed the charming trick of being much better than I remembered it. I take the orthodox view that it’s in the short stories where you find the true magic of Sherlock Holmes (particularly ‘The Adventures’ and ‘The Memoirs’), but this seems to have had the odd effect of downgrading the qualities of the novels in my mind. Something told me though, that when I came to ‘The Valley of Fear’ – the book which, memory told me, was very much the least of the longer works – there wouldn’t be enough there to turn my disappointment into appreciation. And so it proved. Firstly, let me just say that the Sherlock Holmes parts of this book are excellent. He and Watson are called in to investigate what’s basically a locked room mystery, and Holmes exhibits all the sardonic wit, masterful deduction and infuriating melodrama which readers have come to love him for. Even when Conan-Doyle was just churning them out for the money (and most of the later Holmes’ stories were written with a large cheque in mind), he does keep true to the wonderful character he created, but came to despise. Even, if he can get a tad fuzzy about the details of the canon. The major problem with this book is the second half. Both ‘A Study in Scarlet’ and ‘The Sign of Four’ have sections of flashback not involving Sherlock Holmes, but here Conan-Doyle gives nearly fifty percent of the book to these other matters. Watson describes the flashback as a “singular and terrible narrative”, but instead it’s flat, hackneyed and with some dreadfully corny dialogue. It concerns the infiltration of a murderous and secret American society, and in précis sounds interesting, but the author never manages to bring it to life. The entire tale lies there inert, daring the reader to plod through it. It wouldn’t be so bad if that flashback was shorter, it wouldn’t be so bad if the Baker Street wrap-up which follows wasn’t a meagre page and a half long. As it is, even a dedicated Sherlock Holmes fan can’t help feeling somewhat cheated.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    So far this is my least favourite of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Holmes appears and solves the mystery, of course, but most of the book consists of back story in which neither Holmes nor Watson appear. There is nothing at all wrong with the prose, but the narrative, while interesting enough, is hardly compelling. Overall, I much prefer A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles. There is simply not enough Holmes in this one for my taste. So far this is my least favourite of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Holmes appears and solves the mystery, of course, but most of the book consists of back story in which neither Holmes nor Watson appear. There is nothing at all wrong with the prose, but the narrative, while interesting enough, is hardly compelling. Overall, I much prefer A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles. There is simply not enough Holmes in this one for my taste.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Enjoyable, but not my favourite Sherlock Holmes. It didn't hang together quite as well as the rest. Enjoyable, but not my favourite Sherlock Holmes. It didn't hang together quite as well as the rest.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lance Greenfield

    This book contains two stories which tie up nicely towards the end. The first is a classic Holmes crime and mystery which is resolved, as expected by the smug Sherlock, to the astonishment and adulation of Watson and all of the other characters involved. Most avid readers of the Sherlock Holmes stories would probably unravel the puzzles before they read the conclusions of the master. The twist provided by the discovery of a corpse which has been shot in the face by a shotgun is overdone these da This book contains two stories which tie up nicely towards the end. The first is a classic Holmes crime and mystery which is resolved, as expected by the smug Sherlock, to the astonishment and adulation of Watson and all of the other characters involved. Most avid readers of the Sherlock Holmes stories would probably unravel the puzzles before they read the conclusions of the master. The twist provided by the discovery of a corpse which has been shot in the face by a shotgun is overdone these days, but Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle's representation of that scenario may have been completely original when he wrote this story. I would be very interested to know if he was the first, or if there was already a precedent. It is a good mystery based around the murder of the owner of a mansion which is surrounded by a moat. The murderer's escape route seems to be clear, but how did he get into the mansion when the draw bridge was up. There are many more puzzles to be solved. Of course, as always, the police detectives quickly come to the obvious conclusions, whilst Holmes thinks laterally until he arrives at the truth. The clues are scattered liberally throughout the text for the pleasure of the reader. I usually find that I discover the explanation just before it is revealed. That is what makes these stories so skillfully crafted and so enjoyable. The second story is about "the scourers" in a mining community in North America. They are a goup of men who terrorise the Valley of Fear using their Freemasons' Lodge as their cover and meeting place. A violent and terrible death is on the cards for anyone who crosses them or who tries to bring them to justice. This is an exciting and action-packed tale. What has this got to do with the murder which occurred in the opening chapter. Well, you know that there is some connection, but the layers are peeled off slowly, and the final knots are not tied until towards the end of the book. I really did enjoy this one despite the predictabilities. Because of thier timings, they just made it more digestible. I can see why some lovers of Holmes would disagree with me, but I would strongly recommend it to any of my friends who enjoy a good crime mystery. For any lovers of Sherlock Holmes stories who have not read The Valley of Fear, I would say that their reading is not complete if this one is missing from their list.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick J. McAdam

    I'm close to finishing The Complete Sherlock Holmes and this novel has been my favorite, by far. Truly a classic! I'm close to finishing The Complete Sherlock Holmes and this novel has been my favorite, by far. Truly a classic!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I liked this, I did. But the first half was just an extended Holmes story (a pretty good one!), while the second half was basically pointless. I don't think this should have been a full length novel. The content of the story just doesn't justify it. The Valley of Fear was published in full in 1915 (after being serialized in The Strand of course), so by this point, Conan Doyle had been writing the character for almost thirty years. (This was also around the time Conan Doyle started getting super i I liked this, I did. But the first half was just an extended Holmes story (a pretty good one!), while the second half was basically pointless. I don't think this should have been a full length novel. The content of the story just doesn't justify it. The Valley of Fear was published in full in 1915 (after being serialized in The Strand of course), so by this point, Conan Doyle had been writing the character for almost thirty years. (This was also around the time Conan Doyle started getting super into spiritualism, and about five years before he started believing in fairies--worth a read on that link, btw). So just for context, he was getting older, a little tired of the character, but probably liked all the money. So why not? Anyway, this novel mimics a lot of things Conan Doyle had already used in previous Holmes stories and novels, most notably, the structure of the first Holmes outing, A Study in Scarlet: Holmes and Watson are on the trail of the murderer in part one, they catch him, and then in an extended part two, we get the backstory of the murderer which delves into aspects of American society that Conan Doyle seemed to have been fascinated with. Here, it's organized crime; in Scarlet, it was Mormons. (Most Doyle scholars agree he was a bit obsessed with the more "exotic" aspects of American life. So there's that.) The first half I liked the best. Holmes is just clever and he solves a murder, and the atmosphere was fun (it takes place in a castle with a moat!). It was like a slightly longer Holmes short story. It's at this point, when you think you're done and your emotions are ready for it to be over, that you then have to tuck in and read/listen to an entire second half full of characters you don't really care about. Or at least, I didn't (obviously). That whole incident could have been summed up in about 1/8 of the space and time. The ending was suitably creepy. I sort of rolled my eyes that he invokes Moriarty (this takes place before Holmes's ultimate confrontation with him in "The Final Problem"). Like, okay, you liked Moriarty the first time, here he is again! Except he's more of a menacing presence than anything else. I wonder if this story is where Moffatt and Gatiss got the idea to thread Moriarty through the first season of BBC Sherlock before he actually shows up. Also, I could swear that Watson didn't know about Moriarty until the events of that story, but here he learns about him way before those events. Continuity! Shrug. Worth reading for the first half, but if I ever re-read, I'm skipping part two and just reading the first half and the coda.

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