“The Valley of Fear”

Note: the tab marked "Explanation" reveals the ending of the story. Do not view that if you are reading the story for the first time and do not want to spoil your enjoyment.
Title: The Valley of Fear Collection: The Novels
Year published: 1914 (September) Year set in:
Mystery: Who murdered a man in his closed, moated manor house?
Apparent crime: Murder Actual crime: Shown below (possible spoiler)
Summary: The owner of a moated manor house is shot dead while the house's drawbridge is raised.

Holmes receives a coded note from an informant that warns of danger to a man, John Douglas. As he decrypts the code, he learns from a police inspector that Douglas has been murdered. They investigate and discover he was killed with a sawn-off shotgun and there is a mysterious card by the body.

Actual crime
Explanation (spoiler alert)

The body was not of Douglas but of a man who had come to the UK to kill him. Because he had been shot in the face, Douglas and his wife and friend they were able to disguise him as Douglas himself.

Quotations in this story (1)
I am inclined to think–" said I.
"I should do so," Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently.

Characters in this story (5)
Surname First name Title
Holmes Sherlock
MacDonald Alec Inspector
McMurdo John
Moriarty Professor
Watson John Doctor

Locations in this story (2)
Location Town/City County
221b Baker Street London
Birlstone House Birlstone Sussex

Other notes

This has similarities with "A Study in Scarlet" with a murder mystery in London followed by a retrospection to the events which led to the murder, set in the USA.


Fred Porlock Moriarty John Douglas Birlstone Alec MacDonald Sebastian Moran White Mason Cecil James Barker Ames Allen Hargrave Pinkertons Baldwin Scowrers Vermissa Chicago Freemen Mike Scanlan Bodymaster Jack McGinty Jacob Ettie Shafter Captain Marvin Tiger Cormac Wilson Carnaway Morris Stangar Herald Menzies Chester Wilcox