The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle is one of many stories about Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. At the beginning of this novel, Holmes gets a message from one of Professor Moriarty's agents-Fred Porlock.
Author: Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle is one of many stories about Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. At the beginning of this novel, Holmes gets a message from one of Professor Moriarty's agents-Fred Porlock. From time to time, Porlock sends Sherlock inside information about Moriarty's endeavors. Despite the fact that the law sees Moriarty as innocent, Sherlock firmly believes him to be the puppet master of a criminal underworld. Sherlock enlists the help of his friend and sidekick, Dr. Watson, to decode Porlock's message; from it, they learn that the life of John Douglas, who resides at Birlstone, is in danger.Soon after, Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard informs Sherlock and Watson that Mr. Douglas of Birlstone Manor was found murdered. Sherlock expresses his suspicions that Moriarty was behind Douglas's murder, but MacDonald doesn't agree and reminds Sherlock that Professor Moriarty is both respected and educated. Holmes responds that Moriarty owns a painting worth more than forty-thousand pounds, which is suspicious, despite his seven-hundred-pound annual salary. MacDonald agrees this is strange. He accompanies Sherlock and Watson to Birlstone. Douglas was shot in the head at close range near midnight. The manor house is surrounded by a moat and drawbridge, and a regular guest of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas-Cecil Barker-was staying Birlstone on the night of the murder. A sawed-off shotgun was discovered at the crime scene.Barker claims he was upstairs when he heard the gunshot. He says he rushed downstairs and saw the drawbridge was up, and lowered it so help could come. Blood on the window sill suggests someone climbed through the window; Cecil maintains the intruder must have waded through the moat, but can't explain how said intruder got into the house in the first place. Next to the body, there's a card with "V.V." written on it. Douglas has a brand on his arm, but it's not new, and his wedding ring was taken. Holmes observes that Douglas had only one dumbbell, which he thinks is strange.Through interviews with others in the house, Sherlock learns that Cecil found the body and rang the bell, summoning Mrs. Douglas and the servants. Cecil urged Mrs. Douglas to return to her room, and she readily agreed. Sherlock tells Watson he thinks her agreeing to leave her husband's body was odd. Cecil reveals that a secret society might have been pursuing Douglas. Sherlock learns Douglas had been married before, but his first wife died from Typhoid, and that he had married his second wife five years earlier. Douglas met Cecil in America, before suddenly leaving for Europe. Cecil and Mrs. Douglas knew that he faced some danger resulting from his time in America, and Mrs. Douglas reveals her husband once mentioned "The Valley of Fear.".......................