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Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear [Paperback]

Arthur Conan Doyle , Andrew Moore
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2009 1595691413 978-1595691415
The first part of the fourth Sherlock Holmes novel, "The Valley of Fear" (1914-15), takes place in the English county of Sussex in 1888. Following the murder of Mr. Douglas from Birlstone Manor House, the logical detective skills of Sherlock Holmes and the support of his assistant, Dr. Watson, are needed to determine the identity of the murderer and to capture him. The true and complex background of the crime is revealed, however, only after a flashback, which, in the second part of the novel, leads the reader to a coal-mining area in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania in 1875...

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
At the year 1893, Doyle was sick of Holmes. Some people say he was jealous that the character he made up was more famous than he was, and he claimed that he wanted to concentrate on more "serious" writings.
By the year 1902, people have boycotted all the writings of Doyle, and they even quit going to his clinic for counsels. He was about to declare his bankruptcy. And he was trying to write a story about a myth of an enormous dog haunting the life of people in some area of Britain. He wrote the story with some new characters, but finally found that writing it with Holmes as the hero would make much better, and it would be easier than making up some new environment for the characters. People were happy, but the problem was that the story takes place in a time interval before his acclaimed death in the "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes."
He, then, is forced to resurrect Sherlock Holmes in the "Return of Sherlock Holmes," at the year 1905, which is a collection of 10 short stories. He, then, stops writing Holmes's stories, without killing Holmes, which was a clever move. But then people were at a rage and wanted some Holmes's adventures, and Doyle had to write something, but this was not any earlier than 1914, in "The Valley of Fear," 9 years after his last appearance.
In this book, he uses almost exactly the same method of writing he used in his first book, "A Study in Scarlet." That is, he cut the story into two parts, the first one featuring Holmes, and the second one does not mention Holmes at all accept at the very end of it. People did not like that because Holmes only appears at half of the story.
And let me tell you, that the first half, which features Holmes, was not all that insightful. It was not all that clever. It was the second part that appealed to me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Half the book is great, the second half is boring Jan. 22 2003
The first half of this classic by Doyle The Tragedy of Birlstone is exciting mystery, Doyle at his absolute best. A wealthy man turns up dead, and Holmes must find his killer, or so everybody thinks. The mystery ends up taking a 180 degree twist, one I never would have predicted. It's absolutely thrilling.
The second half of this book The Scrowrers, I'm not even sure why Doyle bothered. It is supposed to be a "prequel" to the first half of the book, and it falls flat. Holmes and Watson play only a bit part at the end of the book. I will say this however, the action is fast paced. There is much more violence in this section of the book than I've found in other Holmes mysteries. It does explain some details found in the first half of the book, but in my mind it didn't need to have an entire 100 or so pages dedicated to this detail. You can read the first half of the book and skip the second without feeling like you're missing a thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Doyle July 13 2003
The last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, and one of the two best. It contains more detection in its first section than The Hound of the Baskervilles, with Holmes (off-stage for much of The Hound) actively investigating the murder at Birlstone, and drawing his ever-fascinating deductions from raincoats and dumb-bells; indeed it is the only pure detective story among the four, with the reader given every opportunity to solve the crime. Although the solution is justly famous, it is but a variation on "The Norwood Builder," at much greater length. The second half of the tale concerns the doings of the Pinkerton agent Birdy Edwardes in the eponymous Valley, terrorised by the Freemasons, a gripping and powerful account which is perhaps of greater interest than the detection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Adaptation of Print to Audio June 19 2000
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Valley Of Fear April 3 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
The story is a report on the actual events surrounding the arrest, conviction, and hanging of the Molly McGuyers in Schuylkill and Carbon Countys, Pennsylvania at the end of the 19th century. In the story the Mollys are like the gansters. In the Pa. coal region they are folk heros who fought and died for workers wrights. See the movie, "Molly McGuyers" staring Sean Conrey, it's an exact match.
The actual Pinkerton, McGowan, Died of old age in California.
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