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The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes #7)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,486 Ratings  ·  862 Reviews
The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is loosely based on the real-life exploits of the Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915.
Paperback, Authorized Edition, 175 pages
Published March 1964 by Berkley Publishing Corporation (first published 1915)
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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 strategy (he's a little like that last sentence). It’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
Nov 14, 2015 Kirstine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 myster
Dan Schwent
Holmes and Watson investigate a murder in a country mansion, a man shot in the face with a sawn off shotgun. Things quickly prove not to be as they seem. But what does the murder have to do with the Valley of Fear...

First off, I'm not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan and was at a loss when Valley of Fear was announced as a book in the Hard Case line. While I respect Arthur Conan Doyle as one of the pioneers of detective fiction, I was never really interested in him or Holmes. In my quest to read
K.D. Absolutely
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 b ...more
Mar 07, 2008 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction, mystery
Not enough Holmes!
Finally found a copy of this to read and, unfortunately, it is too much like The Scarlet Thread. NO ONE wants to read a book about some whackjob American with a secret mysterious past! We already did that once! We want to hear about HOLMES, by God! That's why we are reading this book-- because it is a SHERLOCK HOLMES BOOK. I don't care how spectacular Birdy Edwards is. I don't care what became of him. I want to see a classic character being classic.
Surely, by the time Conan Doy
Lance Greenfield
Apr 26, 2013 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains two stories which tie up nicely towards the end.

The first is a classic Holmes crime and mystery which is resolved, as expected by the smug Sherlock, to the astonishment and adulation of Watson and all of the other characters involved. Most avid readers of the Sherlock Holmes stories would probably unravel the puzzles before they read the conclusions of the master. The twist provided by the discovery of a corpse which has been shot in the face by a shotgun is overdone these da
Eligah Boykin jr.

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 figh
This was my least favorite of all the Sherlock Holmes books I've read so far. The novel was published in 1915 and features two parts: The first half involves the murder of a man named John Douglas at his manor house. Sherlock is called in to help solve the mystery of how the murderer got away because the house was surrounded by a moat. Dr. Watson comes along to help out, but the solution of the case is disappointing and Sherlock wasn't given much to do.

The second part is an extended flashback a
Sep 04, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the last year I’ve re-read ‘A Study in Scarlet’, ‘The Sign of Four’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. It’s been an incredibly enjoyable experience, not least because each of the novels performed the charming trick of being much better than I remembered it. I take the orthodox view that it’s in the short stories where you find the true magic of Sherlock Holmes (particularly ‘The Adventures’ and ‘The Memoirs’), but this seems to have had the odd effect of downgrading the qualities of the n ...more
Jul 15, 2012 ☯Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☯Emily by: Goodreads Book Club
I usually read the short stories about Sherlock Holmes and after reading two of Doyle's novellas, I have to say I prefer his short stories. I recently read A Study in Scarlet where Doyle is introduced to the reader. This book follows the same format as A Study in Scarlet. Holmes solves the mystery in the first half and then in part 2, we go back in time to get "the rest of the story." It feels like two stories. I'm not sure I like the formula. In both books, the back story takes place in lawless ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Goddess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bis jetzt mein Lieblingsband der Sherlock Holmes Reihe! Super spannend, sehr gut erzählt und die Beziehung zwischen Sherlock und Watson hat sich (wenn man sie mit dem ersten Band vergleicht) vertieft. Vor allem fand ich die Dialoge zwischen ihnen sehr unterhaltsam, vor allem wenn sherlock Watson wie eine Mutter lobt und ihm recht ironisch Komplimente macht.
Jul 29, 2012 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle

So far this is my least favourite of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Holmes appears and solves the mystery, of course, but most of the book consists of back story in which neither Holmes nor Watson appear. There is nothing at all wrong with the prose, but the narrative, while interesting enough, is hardly compelling. Overall, I much prefer A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles. There is simply not enough Holmes in this one for my taste.
This was almost as good as The Hound of the Baskervilles, the mystery was mostly engrossing, the backstory was interesting, and the main players were all entertaining. I wouldn't even mind reading it again at some point in the future.
Sidharth Vardhan
It is written in style of ‘A Study in Scarlet’ – in two parts with first focused on Holmes solving case and second on history of parties involved in crime. The first part is of course more interesting. There is a problem around involvement of Moriarty – since Watson now knows about him but according to ‘The Final Solution’ he shouldn’t have heard about him till much later. A very elementary mistake!

Now I wouldn’t have written this review, if it wasn’t to raise doubt – somebody please tell me, di
Luís Blue Yorkie
The Valley of Fear has a very similar aesthetic as the book "A Study in Scarlet": Arthur Conan Doyle begins with the history of the crime, deductions of Sherlock, and suddenly comes the second part of the book: an isolated story that does not show almost no resemblance to the first part. However, it is always at the end that Arthur Conan Doyle shows the link between the two stories and realized so because he is considered a genius of criminal literature.
Oct 31, 2015 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final full-length novel of the Sherlock Holmes series, The Valley of Fear features Holmes and Watson on yet another adventure. This particular book features Professor Moriarty. What I find very interesting is that Moriarty isn't that prominent of a character in the original Sherlock Holmes series. He's featured more often in spin-off series.
Apr 04, 2011 Jessica-Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classic mystery fans
Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder in Part I of The Valley of Fear and in Part II exits stage left to allow the American set story of Jack McMurdo and the murderous society of the Scowrers in the Valley of Fear to take centre stage and bring everything full circle. And it all ends in an rather unexpected turn of events!

Sherlock and Watson are two of the most iconic literary characters ever written and when you read their stories there is always that little bit of extra weight that comes with
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
The Valley of Fear, the last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, ranks among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's best work. The mystery begins with a coded warning of imminent danger, drawing the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson to a secluded English country home. A trail of bewildering clues leads to sleuthing in the finest Holmesian tradition and the gripping backstory of a cult that terrorized a valley in the American West.

Reader ..... Sir Ian Mc
This is a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, although the cover & blurbs would make you think it's anything but. Great story, of course. Actually, it's two stories; Sherlock solving a mystery in England, then a flashback written by the mystery man that Holmes was investigating, followed up with an epilogue by Dr. Watson.

The first part is typical of a Sherlock Holmes novel. The second part reminded me more of an Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert E. Howard western. Both were good,
Feb 03, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Valley of Fear is the final Sherlock Holmes novel, and it has a few things in common with the first, A Study in Scarlet. In both, Holmes solves the moderately interesting central mystery pretty quickly. But instead of ending there, both books then spend an inordinate amount of time on the backstory. This is a boring way to structure a mystery—especially when the most interesting character (Holmes) gets kicked out of the picture halfway through.

Both novels' backstories take place in the U.S.
Holmes and Hams

Ah, Holmes, how could I ever tire of thee? The simplifying and yet so soothing illusion that most problems in life can be solved by smoking three pipes in a row and never actually subjecting oneself to heavy physical exertions and that things, by the power of the mind, can be made to fall neatly into place has always been my opium.

That’s why, once in a while, I take a plunge into one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes adventures, which already fascinated little Tristram when he was a
Jan 26, 2014 Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last of the four novel-length Holmes adventures, and another stunning read. Conan Doyle is at the top of his game here, mixing a traditional locked room-style mystery with an exotic narrative packed with murder and intrigue.

With these novel-length stories, the author's genius is keeping his creation off the page as much as possible, so that he shines brighter when he is present. Conan Doyle adopts the same format as he did in the first novel, A STUDY IN SCARLET, by adopting a flashback-style
Apr 09, 2013 Meli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No es mi favorito, pero tiene uno de esos giros de trama que te dejan sonriendo por lo brillantes.
Juliane Reif
Jul 06, 2013 Juliane Reif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zuschlagen!!! :-)
Perry Whitford
The final Sherlock Holmes novel written by Conan Doyle (though not the last chronologically) starts in tip-top fashion, with the master detective cracking a cyphered letter by means of some deft deduction, but too late to prevent a grisly murder.

An unconventional country gentleman who made his money in America is found dead in his home, his head blown off by a shorn-off shotgun. Holmes is called to investigate by the local constabulary, able men but but not possessed of the same genius as the su
Oct 25, 2013 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was much better than the previous short story collection. I can't help thinking that Doyle should have expanded on the idea of (view spoiler) However, it barely crops up here except right at the end, which is a shame because it feels like an afterthought. The book feels like two separate novels, welded together like a "cut-and-shut" car. Both are thoroughly enjoyable, but the j ...more
Julie Davis
Sep 05, 2014 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can hardly credit it, but I don't believe I've ever read this book. The fact that it leads off with one of Professor Moriarty's henchmen leaking encrypted messages to Sherlock Holmes was one of the most surprising things I've encountered in a book in a while. Yes, I was that sure I'd read every Holmes book several times.

I really enjoyed this book, both the first part where Holmes is solving the mystery and the second part which gave the exciting back story set in America. I listened to the in
Dec 10, 2011 Ensiform rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This adventure is even more enjoyable than the first, containing a really puzzling setup that is at the same time perfectly understandable once the razor mind of Holmes explains it all. I didn’t guess the solution at all, I must admit, although all the clues were right there in front of me. It is a nice touch to make the two detectives who are actually on the case that Holmes is helping with not obtuse in the slightest, but still completely off the right track. As in the very first Holmes story, ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was a good one: a Doyle Sherlock Holmes adventure which I had not previously read. It was typical of the sort: enjoyable but not noteworthy.

The experience was unique because I listened to it using an iPad and LG bluetooth headset. It all worked as advertised. (Thanks to Jon Moss's assistance setting it up.)

The reader was excellent--doing a variety of accents with believable variety.

It feels like cheating. I listened to an entire story--actually a story within a story--with my eyes clos
May 11, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I love Sherlock Holmes. I love how he figures out a case. I love how he manages to make obscure clues perfectly clear and logical. In that regard, this book did not disappoint.

This story was divided up into two books - part one is the crime and solution from Holmes. The second was the events which led up to the murder in part one. This part was the one I had a problem with. Way too slow, too much talking, no Holmes and I found my mind wandering while listening and hoping it would end soon.

If p
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Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. They were married in 1855.

Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. His baptism record
More about Arthur Conan Doyle...

Other Books in the Series

Sherlock Holmes (9 books)
  • A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1)
  • The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes, #2)
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3)
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #4)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5)
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #6)
  • His Last Bow: 8 Stories (Sherlock Holmes, #8)
  • The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #9)

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“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.” 755 likes
“Everything comes in circles. [...] The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It's all been done before, and will be again.” 83 likes
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