Author(s): Arthur Conan DoyleDownload
Doyle’s final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order.
Some Reviews: 1554 in Goodreads.com
I got tricked.
Except that’s probably not what you call it when you commit the hubris of presuming to know what’s going on in a Sherlock Holmes story. I didn’t even assume, I thought I knew. I was so absolutely certain I knew where that last part of the story went, that I didn’t even consider other options; but I was wrong. I unwittingly handed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the honor of throwing my ego around like a ragdoll. Well deserved, I say.
On the bright side, nothing keeps you hungry for a mystery like being so utterly surprised by it.
Excellent story. The first part is highly enjoyable and Sherlock Holmes has plenty of opportunity to shine his bright (much brighter than mine) ego and intellect on a quite puzzling case. The second part I dreaded reading, because I always find it boring, I’d rather have the first part be much longer. So I entered into it just wanting to get it over with. And where did that get me? Looking like an utter fool as the final reveal was in place.
I can only recommend it.
This is a fine book about raising the tone of an entire community by ridding it of its secret criminal element and thereby making it something more than a ‘Valley of Fear’. This novel is not as tightly written as ‘A Study in Scarlet’, nor does it move in real time with the suspenseful pace of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, but it speaks to something more profound about the Human Spirit in its eternal struggle for Freedom. This is the novel that makes one ponder the darker implications of fighting for a better world.
‘The Valley of Fear’ is actually a story within a story, similar to ‘A Study in Scarlet’, featuring one of the most incredible flashbacks of all time. The protagonist of this flashback story is Birdy Edwards, and his struggles with criminals give this novel a more realistic basis than many of Holmes’ prior puzzles of detection. I really didn’t see the end coming in the flashback tale until it was upon me and it was one of the most satisfying and believable conclusions I have ever experienced.
The resolution of this novel is definitely not saccharine and speaks forcefully to realities of the grimness of this world. Professor Moriarity is mentioned for the first time and the events of ‘The Valley of Fear’ come across as precursor to Holmes’ own encounter with Moriarty in ‘The Final Problem’.
Mostly I just like the title ‘The Valley of Fear’. I was expecting some sort of adventure based for all appearances on the Supernatural and Horror genres. Something like ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. But the fear in this ‘valley’ is quite natural and real, but no less horrible. It made me reflect upon the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and ‘The Valleys of Fear’ they must have produced all across the South.
That’s why for my money, ‘The Valley of Fear’ has an understated depth to it that raises it a notch above the standard Detective or Mystery genre.
Charles van Buren
TOP 1000 REVIEWER
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the more exciting Sherlock Holmes tales
March 26, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is of the free Kindle edition:
A Public Domain Book
Publication date: May 12, 2012
THE VALLEY OF FEAR, the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel (but not the final story), is similar to the first Holmes story, A STUDY IN SCARLET, in that it is divided into two distinct parts with the second part occurring in America. In this novel, Doyle simply made up American locales and organizations. Though there are some similarities to the Molly Maguires and the real troubles in the Pennsylvania mining country.
Reading this novel without giving it any forethought was an experience much like the one I had watching FRANKENSTEIN starring Boris Karloff for the first time. Oh, so many cliches I thought until finally it seeped through my thick head that these were not cliches at all, these were the originals. I do not know that Doyle invented many of the now old hat plot devices which he used in this novel but he wrote early enough that they were certainly not cliches at the time. If imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery, then Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been much flattered over the years.
This novel is both mystery and suspense written by a master. SPOILER: if you are looking for a happy ending, be aware that the forces of evil eventually prevail in this particular encounter between Holmes and Moriarty. But of course this is not the final chapter in that conflict between titans.
Ignore the Quality Control Issues blurb at the Amazon listing for this FREE edition. Either there were issues in the past, now corrected, or some hpercritical, OCD people have been at play here.
Not sure exactly how to describe this feeling.
It’s like I read a whole book and only half of it was what I was expecting. Oh right, it’s exactly that.
I love Sherlock and Watson, they have a great kinship going on – and nothing compares to how it’s shown here in The Valley Of Fear – with Watson trolling Sherlock, funny jabs and whatnot – this was a really great read.
But… the mystery is only the first half of the book.
I was surprised at how utterly short it was. I felt it was one of the more captivating mysteries Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote.
The second half of the book though?
Similar to “A Study in Scarlet”, we go back in time to the victim’s past and relive the events leading up to the mystery. I’m not sure if Doyle was just bored in writing mysteries and wanted to put in some fiction, but it was really good.
Doyle just goes to show that he’s a masterful story-teller.
A really surprising and captivating read, half Sherlockian, half… something. But full-good!
Admittedly, this is a creepy story (or rather the second half is). Part I is greatly enjoyable — a basic Sherlock Holmes mystery (had plenty of intrigue, and utilized the same pattern that most of the canon follows). However, Part II? I’m not crazy over it, that’s for sure. The cult following in Vermissa Valley kept reminding me of the R.L. Stevenson’s The Suicide Club (perhaps because I just read that one a month ago), based on its cult conspiracy level. This Holmes novel is deep. And dark. Of course, it helps you to finish putting the puzzle pieces together from Part I of the story, but still… whew!
Anyways, I’m glad to have this novel under my belt. Not sure if I’ll be especially eager to re-read this one later on — but you never know!
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