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The Valley of Fear

The Valley of Fear [Kindle Edition]

Arthur Conan Doyle

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Product Description


Holmes has taken on a life of his own in the hearts and minds of a modern world (The Times)

Product Description

'There should be no combination of events for which the wit of man cannot conceive an explanation.'

In this tale drawn from the note books of Dr Watson, the deadly hand of Professor Moriarty once more reaches out to commit a vile and ingenious crime. However, a mole in Moriarty's frightening criminal organization alerts Sherlock Holmes of the evil deed by means of a cipher.

When Holmes and Watson arrive at a Sussex manor house they appear to be too late. The discovery of a body suggests that Moriarty's henchmen have been at their work. But there is much more to this tale of murder than at first meets the eye and Sherlock Holmes is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 351 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0241952972
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (1 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HDK4TW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #478,163 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'. He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes.

He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write. His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. He was a passionate advocate of many causes, ranging from divorce law reform and the Channel Tunnel to the issuing of inflatable life-jackets to sailors. He also campaigned to prove the innocence of individuals, and his work on the Edjalji case was instrumental in the introduction of the Court of Criminal Appeal. He was a volunteer physician in the Boer War and later in life became a convert to spiritualism.

His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life. And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction. Penguin publish all the books about the great detective, A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear, His Last Bow, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes and The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Mystery Based on Historical Events 11 April 2014
By Acute Observer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The Valley of Fear, A. Conan Doyle

In Chapter 1 Sherlock Holmes receives a coded message from an informant and deciphers is without the cipher key. Inspector Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard arrives to say that Mr. Douglas was horribly murdered last night, verifying that message. Holmes draws MacDonald's attention to a painting, and what it reveals. They will go to Birlstone to investigate the murder. Watson describes the location of Birlstone Manor House, which is surrounded by a moat forty feet in breadth. The drawbridge was raised in the evening, isolating the house. John Douglas and his wife were strangers but were popular in the village. Douglas was an excellent tenor, they said he found gold in California. He was democratic in manner and indifferent to danger. Douglas had one close friend, Cecil James Barker, who knew him in America. The servants were not involved. The victim had his face blown to pieces by a sawed-off shotgun, a weapon that came from America. A card beside the body said "V.V. - 341". There is a strange brand on the forearm to identify Douglas. His wedding ring was missing!

The story tells of the investigation by the police and Sherlock Holmes. Is there a clue missing? The people and servants are interviewed to get their statements (Chapter 5). [Did you catch the clues?] Holmes knows some people are lying, can he reconstruct the truth (Chapter 6)? In Chapter 7 Holmes arrives at the solution and the proof. We learn what did happen. Part 2 has the story about John Douglas and the enemies who want him dead. This story is a lesson about drawing the right conclusion from circumstantial evidence so all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Part 2 is a fictionalized account of the labor wars that occurred in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania in the mid 1870s. The laborers had gone on a long strike for better conditions, it was lost by the miners. There had been violence during the strike. Afterwards the mine owners sought to ruthlessly oppress the coal miners by the use of secret agents. One infiltrated the miners secret society and reported their doings. Some believe there were others who provoked violence and the revenge that followed. This secret society was called the "Mollie Maguires" although this phrase was never used by the miners themselves. About two dozen were hanged for their murders. In 1979 Pennsylvania declared a full pardon for Jack Kehoe, "the King of the Mollies", who was sentenced to death after a farce of a trial. The president of the Reading Railroad was the Prosecutor! Government was used as a tool of business. 1876 saw the worst depression known at that time. Another depression saw that Reading Railroad president voted out of office and later die a suicide, not a victim of murder. A good history book will educate you about this dramatic history.

Note how this story mirrors "A Study in Scarlet". Part 2 provides a historical background for the mystery in Part 1, which is about the identity of a secret agent, not a murderer. The real history of the Anthracite Wars in northeast Pennsylvania is even more interesting (the “Molly Maguires”). "Sherlock Holmes Detected" has essays on the four long stories. Why did no one notice the lack of a mark from the wedding ring?
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