Book Review: The Valley of Fear, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When it comes to favorite detectives, I think Sherlock Holmes would rank high for most (if not all) crime fiction lovers. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of my favorites. I have read this once before, a long time back, so thought it time for a reread.

Like some of his other long stories, The Valley of Fear happens across two parts. The first part sees Holmes at the head of a mystery, the murder of Mr. Douglas of Birlstone Manor. The Scotland Yard detective Alec McDonald comes to 221B Baker Street seeking Holmes’ help regarding that case, only to realise that Holmes already has a whiff of it. The part revolves around the investigation of the murder.

I loved the first part because it is very interesting. There are clues that Holmes finds, and they make the crime fiction enthusiast in me try to solve the mystery too. There’s deduction of course, but also a lot of deception, brought about by characters and their actions. I liked the twist toward the end, and the explanation of it all. I don’t like the character of Alec McDonald much. He doesn’t quite seem as involved as Gregson or Lestrade.

The second part of the story gives the backstory as to what was responsible for the mystery in the first part. It was a bit slow to begin with, and didn’t quite engage me as the first part did. But I did like the character of McMurdo. He was very likeable. There’s a twist towards the end here too, but I kind of predicted that that might happen, so didn’t wow me as such. Neither did the twist once the story reverts back to the present in the epilogue.

I wouldn’t rate this as high as The Sign of Four, or my favorite novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, but it is on the same level as A Study in Scarlet. And like all the three, this too is very much worth reading.

A Score Of 8 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: The Valley of Fear Series: Sherlock Holmes #7
Author(s): Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Genre: Crime Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9780241952979 Publisher: Penguin Books

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.

(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
7th March 2018)



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