The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle

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In the last of the Sherlock Holmes novels, the origins of his rivalry with Moriarty are revealed

In London, there is a professor whose income runs to a modest £700 a year, yet in his office hangs a painting worth no less than £40,000. The author of a rarefied mathematical treatise on the dynamics of asteroids, he has twenty different bank accounts and a priestly manner that belies his vicious nature. His name is Moriarty, and he sits at the center of a vast and invisible web of crime. Years before their fateful meeting on the cliffs of the Reichenbach Falls, Sherlock Holmes vows to put an end to the professor’s secret reign of terror.

A coded message from an informant on the inside of Moriarty’s organization arrives at 221B Baker Street. No sooner than Holmes and Watson have deciphered the message—a warning that a man named Douglas of Birlstone Manor House is in grave danger—do they learn that Douglas is dead, his head blown off with an American shotgun. At a moated manor in the South of England, the dead man’s widow and best friend hold the keys to a mystery that reaches all the way across the Atlantic and proves just how powerful Moriarty’s fiendish influence has grown.

This ebook features a new introduction by Otto Penzler.

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The Valley of Fear has been less abundantly adapted than other Holmes novels, with the few standout adaptations including the 1916 silent film starring H.A. Saintsbury and the 1935 British film starring Arthur Wontner. Though unpopular as film fodder, the book has seen several different adaptations for the stage. 
Guinness World Records has listed Holmes as the "most portrayed movie character", with more than 70 actors playing the part in over 200 films. His first screen appearance was in the 1900 Mutoscope film, Sherlock Holmes Baffled.