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

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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

From the Publisher

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

Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime Novels (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 (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,314,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book opens with the classic setting of Dr Watson together with his life long friend, Sherlock Holmes enjoying a discussion on a cryptic note received by Holmes in the mail. Of course, said note leaves Watson with NFI but the brilliant Holmes recognises it for what it is and by chapter's end we are told of the discovery of a brutally murdered man and so the note has revealed its worth to its recipients (and the readers). By the half way mark of the book the mystery (!) is solved (!!) and on the way, the reader is treated to 125 pages of classic dialogue, as well as typically brilliant deduction from the great man and the relative stupidity of the constabulary. *grins*

The second half of the book reveals the events leading up the forementioned grisly murder. This part is detailed, gruesome and enjoyable in its own right with characters and emotions which leap right off the page at you, but for those wanting to enjoy a full-length Sherlock Holmes novel this aint one. To a seasoned Holmes veteran one could also say that the mystery itself is a bit of a letdown. The book itself is quite short, at just 225 pages and so the Holmes Half comes in at precisely half that. overall i give this one three stars out of five. Mainly for the proof once again that Sherlock Holmes is the Albert Einstein of Detective Fiction.

LR (Greggles)
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