A prolific author of books, short stories, poetry, and more, the Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) is best known for the creation of one of literature’s most vivid and enduring characters: Sherlock Holmes. Through detailed observation, vast knowledge, and brilliant deduction, Holmes and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, step into the swirling fog of Victorian London to rescue the innocent, confound the guilty, and solve the most perplexing puzzles known to literature.
The Valley of Fear (Illustrated + FREE audiobook link + Active TOC)by Arthur Conan Doyle
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The Valley of Fear is the final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. The first book edition was published in New York on 27 February 1915.
The Valley of Fear, notable for Professor Moriarty's involvement, is set in the late 1880s, some years before "The Final Problem", the short story in which Moriarty was introduced. This introduces a logical difficulty, as in The Final Problem Dr Watson has never heard of Moriarty, whereas by the end of The Valley Of Fear he is, or should be, familiar with his name and character. The "Moriarty" element in the story is tied into the fate of the informer in the story. It ties the Molly Maguire background to another sensation of that period. This was the death of James Carey, the informer on the Irish National Invincibles who committed the Phoenix Park Murders of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke. Carey was shot on board a ship off the coast of Natal in 1883 by Patrick O'Donnell, a committed Irish revolutionary. O'Donnell had relatives in the Mollies, and briefly visited the Pennsylvania coal mining district, supposedly looking for the suspected informer among them. He left the U.S. long before the Mollies were broken up. It is just possible that William Pinkerton the son and successor to Allan Pinkerton in running the famous detective agency, mentioned this and much of the story to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the latter took the fate of Carey for the similar fate of Jack Douglas on board a ship off St. Helena (on the opposite side of Africa).
Few film and television adaptations have included these allusions to Professor Moriarty, as the story is otherwise a stand-alone tale. Among the few film adaptations are the 1935 British film The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, starring Arthur Wontner as Holmes and Ian Fleming as Watson, and the 1984 animated Sherlock Holmes and The Valley of Fear, starring Peter O'Toole as the voice of Holmes. The 1962 film Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, starring Christopher Lee as Holmes, is loosely based on The Valley of Fear.
The novel uses the same structural device as the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet; both stories include a lengthy flashback to America, and both stories involve people running around the world to avoid paying for a vengeance with their lives. (Wikipedia)
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Meet the Author
- Date of Birth:
- May 22, 1859
- Date of Death:
- July 7, 1930
- Place of Birth:
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Place of Death:
- Crowborough, Sussex, England
- Edinburgh University, B.M., 1881; M.D., 1885
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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It's difficult not to become addicted to the Hard Case Crime line of mystery paperbacks. They're all great reads, offering a smorgasbord of the greatest mystery writers and their work. Whether bringing back a long out-of-print classic or an all-new find, these books always deliver and "The Valley of Fear" is no exception. Besides being the subtlest indirect movie tie-in ever published, "The Valley of Fear" was a very sly selection for a Hard Case Crime book. Like most Hard Case Crime books, the cover is homage to the classic 48-cent crime paperbacks of yesteryear, the Post-Pulp Magazine Age of Pulp Fiction, with its obligatory barely-clad cover babe. Note the placement of the "V" in the book's title-trust me, that was no accident! Cover lines, such as "Best-selling author of 'The Lost World'" and "Inspired by a true story" were also amusing and true. The cover, in a way was almost like an old National Lampoon cover parody, except it was real! As far as the story is concerned, it should be noted that though it pretends to be one cohesive novel, there really are two stories here- one an extended flashback sequence, could stand on its own without the rest of the book. Both stories are good, but only one features the author's well-known detective character-but since he's not mentioned on the cover, no reader will feel cheated that he's not present throughout the book (Perhaps A.C. wrote the second story independently from the first, but with demand for more stories featuring his detective character decided to create a story with his detective to wrap around the existing story. Just a theory-- anyone have the real answer?) The other story, the one inspired by true events, is well done-an inside look at corruption that's as relevant today as it was when it was originally written. "Valley of Fear" truly is a classic, and the Hard Case Crime edition is worth it for its witty presentation alone, but it's well worth reading too.
This is another classic from the author, describing a mystery story happening in two stages, but both stories intertwining at the end with all explanations provided. Our detective Sherlock Homes and his friend Dr. Watson are presented with a very challenging encrypted note and after reasoning about the meaning of the note they are visited by a Scotland Yard detective seeking for their help in a murder that just happened in the country, at Birlstone Manor House. And the murder is related to the note they just deciphered! Things get even more interesting when they arrive at the place and talk to the wife of the murdered and his best friend. The wife seems not to be grieving that much for her husband and the friend looks even happy when talking to the wife... But then, another love story is presented, with its origin on the wild America and the connection between the two stories is soon to be unveiled. Superb narrative and a great mystery story, with a interesting end. I am sure it will delight all the readers that appreciate a very well written tale and want to spend some hours entertained with good reading.
As a Sherlock Holmes story, the first half of this book is decent (there are both better and worse Holmes stories/novels amongst the Canon). As a noir crime thriller, the second half of this book is quite good. The problem is, it really is two different books and they don't really gel. Doyle uses the standard Holmes set-up (Holmes and Watson are approached by Scotland Yard to help investigate a seemingly unsolvable murder), builds tension by introducing the idea that Holmes' nemesis Professor Moriarty is behind the murder ... and then spends the second half of the book on an extended (and yes, delightfully dark noir) flashback to the "murdered" man's mysterious past in America, with nary a mention of Holmes or Moriarty until the very end pages. I enjoyed the flashback story for what it was. In fact, I felt like that story could have stood as a book on its own, with added detail. The characters (John McMurdo, Ettie Shafter, Black Jack McGinty) are interesting despite clearly being tropes, the narrative pace is fast and the setting is so detailed I had no problem picturing this dark remote mining town. Doyle could probably have published this story on its own and done fine with it. The problem is, this is a Sherlock Holmes novel not a John McMurdo novel. I don't mind flashbacks in my novels -- in fact I usually quite enjoy them, especially if they're as well-written as this one -- but I do mind when the flashback becomes the novel and the purported main characters disappear completely. Holmes and Watson's reappearance and the end of the book feels tacked on, too brief and entirely like an afterthought. Almost like Doyle completed the flashback and then remembered he hadn't quite wrapped up the Moriarty part of the storyline and so came back to it with as little effort as could possibly be expended. This also plays into my greater disappointment that Doyle never really gave us a true Holmes-Moriarty matching of the wits in the Canon. Moriarty's role in Valley of Fear is brief and well behind-the-scenes despite the build-up in the novel's early pages and it's still about the most we ever see of him. Most of what we "know" about the Holmes-Moriarty rivalry has been filled in by other authors in more recent years. But of course, that's a complaint for a different essay. I give Valley of Fear three out of five stars -- it's a good enough read, but not the Great Holmes Tale it could have been. Note on the Hard Case Crime edition: I've seen people complain that the HCC edition goes out of its way to pretend the book is not a Holmes tale or that the publishers "intentionally obfuscate" who the author is by crediting it to "AC Doyle" instead of "Arthur Conan Doyle." On the first charge, that the cover is meant to evoke crime novels rather than Holmes, I think they are guilty as charged... the cover art and blurbs, of course, are designed to play up the crime/noir feel of the book do their job well. On the second charge, I don't think any intelligent reader is going to be fooled by the bit of fun the publishers have by the shortening of Doyle's name to fit a more noir-author stylization.
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. I personally love mystery books and if you do too and are looking for one, I recommend this novel. The cleverness of the characters during the book will keep you entertained. Although there are other Sherlock Holmes books, to me this one is the best. So yeah, go for it and read this book! :)
Instead of setting The Valley of Fear (Valley) in the then present, Doyle told yet another story of the early days of Holmes and Watson.It's stuff like Valley though, that I found frustrating about the Holmes books. All the times he disappears, recounts things after the fact to Watson. Not to mention the decided lack of Moriarity in the actual stories.
Sherlock Holmes and The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was in my opinion an excellent book. I enjoy mystery novels and if you do you too, you will enjoy this book as well. The story is a jumble of facts until the very end thus you do not know who perpetrated the crime until the Sherlock Holmes reveals him/her. Throughout the book you find yourself admiring the cleverness of the main characters and also the creativity and literary genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as he takes you through a mystery full of suspense intrigue and sudden changes.