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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 This is the least enjoyable compared to his earlier 3 novels The reason is that the plot is a lot thinner and there is almost nothing that Holmes and Watson do except the display their usual power of deduction Together with the two detectives, the duo go to the scene of the crime and do their usual investigation and after a day or two, are able to solve the crime The revelation in the end felt so simple and did it not really surprise me at all I also suspect that I may have been feeding my brain with too much Sherlock Holmes stories that when John Douglas came out, my heart did not skip a beat or two unlike while reading some of his short stories or even recently with his most popular novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.However, even if this book is not a par with the other three, this is still a good book The saving grace is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made use, as a backdrop, the 19th allegedly criminal Irish American mining group called Molly Maguires including the fictional appearance of a real life agent called James McParland who tips off the death of the rich businessman, John Douglas to Holmes and Watson The tie up was barely established, however, and I found that Sir Doyle could have elaborated further towards the end to make the plotinteresting I am not sure if this true to life link will still be used in some of his succeeding short stories because, towards the end of the book, Holmes hinted on the connection between his archenemy, Professor Mortiary and the Pirkenton agency as the ones controlling the criminal underworld I hope he would, since this is quite interesting.Other than this tie up with some history, there is nothing else worth mentioning, as far as I am concerned, regarding this book I have seen everything else in his 3 earlier novels and around 30 short stories I also missed the way he used human emotion in some of his short stories, the use of elaborate flashback in his first novel, A Study in Scarlet and the fast paced action in the one prior to this The Hound of Baskervilles. I m on to the last two collections of short stories I am now nearing the end of my quest to read the whole Sherlock Holmes canon I am not sure whether I will be happy because I will surely miss Holmes and Watson. A 81% Very Good NotesTypical vengeance flashback padding a Holmes mystery to novella length, but a decent one, and still a Holmes story. The Valley of Fear Sherlock Holmes, 7 , Arthur Conan Doyle The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle It is loosely based on the Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915 The novel starts with Sherlock Holmes receiving a cipher message from Fred Porlock, a pseudonymous agent of Professor Moriarty After Porlock sends the message, however, he changes his mind for fear of Moriarty s discovering that he is a traitor He decides not to send the key to the cipher, but he sends Holmes a note telling of this decision From the cipher message and the second note, Holmes is able to deduce that it is a book cipher and that the book used for the encryption is a common book, large with at least 534 pages , printed in two columns per page, and standardised An almanac fits these conditions exactly Holmes tries the latest edition of Whitaker s Almanac, which he had only received a few days earlier, and fails he then tries the previous edition With this almanac, Holmes is able to decipher the message as a warning that some devilry is intended against one Douglas , a country gentleman residing at Birlstone House Some minutes later, Inspector Macdonald arrives at Baker Street with news that a Mr John Douglas of Birlstone Manor House, Birlstone, Sussex, has been murdered Holmes tells MacDonald of Porlock s warning, suggesting Moriarty s involvement However, MacDonald does not fully believe that the educated and well respected Moriarty is a criminal Holmes, Watson, and MacDonald travel to Birlstone House, an ancient moated manor house, to investigate the crime 1999 1378 237 9646641695 1384 19 1388 434 9789643636197 Let s face it, Sherlock Holmes is a prig A vainglorious bombast whose every breath seems devoted, at least in part, to extolling his prodigious and ubiquitous knowledge and singular mastery over every form of argument, logical deduction or investigative strategyhe s a little like that last sentenceIt s amazing the man can dress himself given that one arm is forever employed in the constant motion of slapping palm to his own back in congratulations for his monumental genius Now when faced this over the top example of Holmes s masturbatory love for his own brain, one can either cringe and slink away to cower in the corner with less abrasive andboring personalities, or one can boldly embrace this personification of mental prowess, slip inside the conceit canoe and journey with this most compelling of personages I choose the latter and hereby declare myself a proud member of TEAM JACOB SHERLOCK Ripley s believe it or not, this novel is my first concentrated exposure to Sir Arthur s exploits of the World s Greatest Detective tied for 1 with Batman I have owned the completed works of Sherlock Holmes for some time and had previously perused a few of the short stories, but never had read a story from cover to cover until now This is an oversight I intend to correct over and over again during the next 12 months as this was a terrific experience PLOT SUMMARY The Valley of Fear is one of four Holmes novels to go along with 56 short stories written by Doyle This story is also, I was flabbergasted to discover, one of only two stories to feature Professor Moriarty the other beingThe Final ProblemThat was a stunning revelation as Moriarty is THE villain associated with Holmes However, after reading this story and the Final Problem , I can now see why and I think it is a good thing that Moriarty s actual appearances are so few The novel itself is broken up into two main segments with a third comprised of the introduction and epilogue that glue the narrative pieces together Holmes and Watson decode a letter from an underling of Prof Moriarty and learn that a certain John Douglas is going to get whacked The whacking, in fact, occurs and the two head off to Sussex to investigate the murder in the hopes of of learning Moriarty s involvement What ensues is a brilliantly executed mystery that is solved elegantly and with much self congratulations by Holmes, much to the starry eyed, may I kiss you amazement of Dr Watson Seriously, these two have the best bromance since Shake and Bake from Talladega Nights Part II of the story The Scowrers takes us back to learn the history of John Douglas s time in America Despite, neither Holmes nor Watson appearing in this segment, the story itself is wonderful and demonstrates Sir Arthur s gift for compelling, plot driven writing The climax of this segment answers several large questions left dangling out of Part I s under garments and segues nicely into the epilogue where Holmes performs a final recitation of both threads as well as the tie in with Moriarty It s a well written, superbly crafted novel that engages and entertains in equal measure THOUGHTS Holmes is a force of nature and I found him impossible to ignore when he was pontificating from the page He emits a resonance that leapt off the parchment and put a stranglehold on my attention with the strength of his personality He won me over big time I grant you that his immense ego and his chronic case of patronizingitis is such that I would not likely choose to hang out with him on the weekends and play scrabble, but as a main character he is simply superb A truly unique voice in all of literature and I am very happy to have now officially made his acquaintance 4.0 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.P.S I listened to the audio of this read by Simon Prebble one of my favorites and he did his usual exceptional job.