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The Valley of Fear Paperback – May 30, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-A coded warning of imminent danger sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the country house of the reclusive Jack Douglas. When they arrive too late to prevent a tragic death, they must follow bewildering clues and find a murderer.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Holmes is a mesmerising creation and Conan Doyle a master storyteller' The Times 'The immense talent, passion and literary brilliance that Conan Doyle brought to his work gives him a unique place in English letters' Stephen Fry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Quiet Vision Pub (May 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576469441
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576469446
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,838,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is probably the best of the Holmes novels. Like all of them (and the short stories) it is near impossible to put down, and leaves you awestruck at Holmes's genius. Doyle's writing style is extremely impressive as always, his characters seem so very real! This book is believable, a true masterpiece of mystery literature, and in the top tier of the long list of the great English detective stories. It just doesn't get any better than this. Even the long section without Holmes and Watson in it ("The Scowers") is enjoyable to read, and not boring (unlike the Mormon part in a Study In Scarlet). Highly reccommended.
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Format: Paperback
The last of the four complete Sherlock Holmes novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Valley of Fear gives the reader two plots for the price of one. More accustomed to writing short stories than well-developed novels, Doyle creates two story lines, only loosely connecting them. He then throws Moriarty, the arch-villain, into the mix, though Moriarty was killed off in a previous novel.

In the first plot, which directly involves Sherlock Holmes, a letter warns, in code, that something dreadful will happen at Birlstone, an ancient manor house surrounded by a forty-foot moat. Before Holmes can act, however, the owner, Jack Douglas, is found shot to death, his face destroyed in the blast from a sawed-off shotgun. Douglas was an American, and the nature of his death and the weapon "proves" to the local police that the killer was also an American. As Holmes investigates, with the help of Scotland Yard, the mystery deepens. Douglas always raised the drawbridge at night, the moat was too big to leap, and there were no strangers in the house. Gradually, Holmes uncovers Douglas's background in America.

In the second plot, a group of coal miners belonging to a secret society welcome a new member, Jack McMurdo, someone accused of murder in Chicago who needed to escape someplace where no one knew him. His lodge has recommended that he go to the Vermissa plain, "the Valley of Fear," and see Boss McGinty, the Bodymaster of the lodge there. McGinty and his men belong to a group which wreaks havoc on the community when it believes injustices have occurred. Seemingly above the law, they have avoided being caught, though rumor has it that a Pinkerton man has been sent to unmask the members of the group. Holmes plays little or no part in this whole section.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Sherlock Holmes canon includes a total of 60 stories from the original author, AC Doyle. Of the 60, only four were full novels including this one. The rest are short stories published in five books, totaling 9 books. The first two stories penned by Doyle were the novels, Study in Scarlet (where Holmes and Watson first meet), and A Sign of the Four (which includes Watson meeting his wife). This is followed by short stories in book 3, the Adventures of SH. Ideally the stories are best read in order, but not critical. Unlike the rest of the canon, the two novels, Hound of the Baskervilles and Valley of Fear, can be read at any time - especially since they each defy the chronology. Hound was written about 8 years after the short story, The Final Solution, when Holmes died in a mortal struggle with the Napoleon of crime, Professor Moriarty, who was also killed. (But, Holmes doesn't die and is brought back, very cleverly and very credibly, 10 years later, in the story, The Empty House, written 2 years after Hound. Anyway, 10 years after all that Doyle wrote, The Valley of Fear - which is one of two stories that include Prof Moriarty - this is not a spoiler to the story and the Prof is only talked about in present tense. I guess my point is, this novel, and Hound of the Baskervilles can be read at any time whereas everything else is slightly better if read in order. Okay, enough of the background on the canon.

Valley of Fear is simply a great read with wonderful twists at the end that the reader will not likely see coming. I would put Valley and Hound as the two best novels, with Hound perhaps slightly better, but better is all about taste and preference. Anyway, this novel is broken down into two main parts, Part 1 is the Murder mystery, who killed...?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps the best Sherlock Holmes story of them all. Subtle and devious. If you think you know it or have read something like it before - that's because almost every mystery writer since has copied in some way directly or indirectly.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Timson is an able interpreter of these beloved tales. Each character has individuality and the overall tone is faithful to Conan Doyle. The musical interludes are used sparingly and effectivley lending a heightened sense of atmosphere. Naxos is to be commended for putting the entire Holmes canon before an admiring public in these fine new editions.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Conan Doyle wrote The Valley of Fear in three parts: 1. The Tragedy of Birlstone. 2. A flashback to The Scowrers, and 3. An Epilogue. It had the effect of two separate books united by a commonality of characters and theme. The radio presentation took the tack of of interspersing scenes from The Tragedy of Birlstone with flashbacks to scenes from The Scowrers. One particularly dramatic segue came when the announcement of the murder of Jack Douglas followed immediately upon John McMurdo's oath never to betray the Scowrers on pain of death. I listen to audiobooks as I commute to work. This one made me late for work as I sat in the parking lot listening to the trapping of Birdy Edwards.
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