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The Valley of Fear (Hard Case Crime Novels) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 2009
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If it seems a bit odd to you to find a Sherlock Holmes tale packaged by Hard Case Crime (as it did to me), then let me reassure you that the reason is not that The Valley of Fear... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jennifer Grey
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. Read more