All The Valley of Fear

The Valley of Fear

This is the last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, and probably the least well known. It is set in January 1887 and appeared in serialised form in The Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. In the chronology of when the stories are set it is the first one to introduce Professor Moriarty. The story is in two parts – the first being the brutal murder at Birlstone Manor of John Douglas, the second being the events in America in 1875 that led to the murder. Conan Doyle loosely based the American events on the story of the Pinkerton Agency’s involvement in suppressing the Molly Maguires, a group who played a prominent part in industrial unrest in Pennsylvania. The lead Pinkerton agent was James McParland and it is believed that Conan Doyle, who knew Alan Pinkerton, based the character of Douglas on McParland.