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The Valley of Fear (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback) (Book 63)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084396295X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843962956
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,217,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"One of the most famous and genuinely interesting men in the world." --The New York Times

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The legendary classic re-presented, Hard Case Crime style.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Hollister on December 15, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Valley of Fear is an inspired choice for Hard Case Crime to reprint (it first appeared in 1915). It is one of the neglected parts of The Canon. The story within the story - "Part 2 The Scowrers" - is the father of the 1920's crime thrillers, and the grandfather of the hard-boiled pulp fiction Hard Case Crime is dedicated to keeping alive.

There are four Sherlock Holmes novels. Only The Hound of the Baskervilles is a novel in and of itself. The other three are two stories tied together. TVoF Part I is, in the words of John Dickson Carr, a "...very nearly perfect piece of detective-story writing." It is one of the great locked room stories in detective literature.

The cover promises the novel was "Inspired by a True Story" and that is true. Part 2 is loosely based on the exploits of Pinkerton detective James McParlan (not to be confused with the famous West Coast detective who also lived in the 1870's, James B. Hume). McParlan went undercover to investigate the Molly Maguires in the coal fields of Pennsylvania. If you want to know more about that, I recommend the Wikipedia article. If you want to watch an excellent movie on this subject, almost as one-sided in the other direction as this book, see The Molly Maguires (1970) starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris. It will break your heart.

A.C. Doyle (as his name appears on the cover and title page of this edition) doesn't pretend to tell both sides of the Molly Maguires' story. TVoF Part 2 is a very one-sided account. Sir Arthur doesn't present the rather rough side of the Pinkerton's methods.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 8, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When we think of hardboiled, noir crime fiction, the mean streets of urban America of the 20th century come to mind. We do not imagine mutton chop whiskers, capes, or hansom carriages. The latter were part of Sherlock Holmes's Victorian England.

So when Hard Case Crime recently released a book by A. C. Doyle called THE VALLEY OF FEAR, eyebrows were raised, my dear Watson. Yes, it contained the trademark lurid cover with the beautiful -- if somewhat terrified --- young lady in a diaphanous gown. But who was the author? Further inspection revealed that the writer was indeed Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of the most famous detective in the history of mystery novels. THE VALLEY OF FEAR was the last Sherlock Holmes novel that the famous writer penned in 1914, originally as a magazine serialization.

Since it launched in 2004, Hard Case Crime has performed an invaluable service for mystery fans by reprinting long-lost classics from the pulp era along with the work of the new generation of hardboiled masters. But Sir Arthur? His creation, Holmes, was synonymous with the reason and rationality of the 19th century deductive scientific method. American pulp fiction reflected an alienated world where science facilitated barbarism and mass murder. Things in noir rarely are what they seem and often don't even have to make sense. Happy endings are not necessarily a return to the status quo but just physically surviving.

Charles Ardai, founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, has an explanation. He says, "Like many mystery readers, I was a fan of Sherlock Holmes before I ever read Hammett and Woolrich and Chandler; he was one of my gateway drugs, if you will, into the world of crime fiction.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ray Stephanson on January 6, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Valley of Fear, by 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.
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