The book includes the story “The Valley of Fear”, “The Mystery of Cloomber” and the storybook “The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes”.
The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is loosely based on the Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915. The first book edition was copyrighted in 1914, and it was first published by George H. Doran Company in New York on 27 February 1915, and illustrated by Arthur I. Keller.
The novel starts when Sherlock Holmes receives a mysterious ciphered message from an agent to Professor Moriarty using the pseudonym Fred Porlock. Together Holmes and Watson decipher Porlock's message which relates that a man named John Douglas, residing at Birlstone, is in danger. Soon inspector Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard ask Holmes to help in the case. Holmes tells MacDonald of Porlock warning, suggesting Professor Moriarty's involvement. However, MacDonald doesn't fully believe that the educated and well respected Moriarty is a criminal.
Holmes, Watson, and MacDonald travel to Birlstone, Sussex, where they investigate the old manor with a moat where Douglas was shot. They meet Cecil Barker a regular guest of the Douglas. They also find a sawed-off shotgun and evidence suggesting that it was fired at close range, causing the head to be blown to pieces. Holmes explores Barker's claims that he was in his room when Douglas was shot. Moreover, they find a mark of blood upon the window sill suggesting someone entered and escaped by going through the moat. Beside the body they find a card with the initials "V.V. 341", and on Douglas's arm an old branded mark. Moreover, Douglas' wedding ring appears taken from his hand.
The police speculate that if the murderer must have escaped across the moat, but if this was so then the question of his clothes were wet as he walked through the town. Holmes establishing the timeline of events through interviews: Cecil Barker heard the shot, rushed down to the study and upon seeing Douglas murdered he rang the servants. Mrs. Douglas and the servants rushed to the scene. Mr. Barker persuades Mrs. Douglas to return to her room. Holmes notes Mrs. Douglas apparent lack of emotion over her husband's body.
Barker says that he believes a secret society of men pursued Douglas, and that Douglas retreated to rural England out of fear for his life. Mr. Douglas married after arriving in England five years earlier. His first wife had died of typhoid. Douglas met and worked with Cecil Barker in America, before departing for Europe. Some episode of Douglas's life in America caused the fear for his life, and Mrs. Douglas said her husband mention something called "The Valley of Fear".
By studying Cecil Barker's slippers, Holmes determines Barker's shoe made the mark on the window, to give the appearance that someone exited that way. In their lodgings, Holmes tells Watson that Cecil Barker and Mrs. Douglas are certainly lying: when a shotgun is fired at close range, the sound is muffled. Moreover, Holmes learns that the housekeeper heard a door slamming half an hour before the alarm, which Holmes believes was actually the murdering shot. White Mason, the Sussex detective, and MacDonald track a bicycle found on the grounds of the house to an American staying at a guest house. The American appears to be the murderer, but there is no sign of the man.
Holmes ask MacDonald to write Cecil Barker, telling him that the police intend to search the moat the next day. That night Holmes, Watson, MacDonald and White lay in wait outside Birlstone Manor and see Cecil Barker fish something out of the moat. The four men rush Cecil and discover the bundle from the moat is the clothes of the missing American connected with the bicycle. Barker refuses to explain the situation. At that moment, Mr. Douglas appears, alive and well. He hands Watson a written account called "The Valley of Fear", which explains why he feared for his life.
Douglas explains that he had spotted an enemy of his, Ted Baldwin, in the area and expected an attack. When Baldwin attempted to shoot him in his study, Douglas grabbed the gun and shoots Baldwin in the face. With Cecil's help, Douglas dressed the man in his own clothes, except for his wedding ring, to deceive the secret society which he and Baldwin had belong too, since both arms bore the society's Mark. Cecil and Mrs. Douglas had covered for Douglas who had been hiding in the house. In an interview with Watson, Douglas explains that his real name was Birdy Edwards acting as Pinkerton detective in Chicago. For the agency Edwards infiltrated a dangerous gang in Vermissa Valley (a.k.a. the Valley of Fear) and brought them to justice. Afterwards, the criminals attempted to kill him, after being released from jail.
Hounded Douglas had run to England, where he met and married his second wife. Holmes urges Douglas to leave England and warns that a new threat now hangs over him. Douglas takes this advice, but shortly after Holmes learns that Douglas was lost overboard on the vessel to Africa. Holmes believes Moriarty was responsible for ending Douglas' life. Holmes wants to bring Moriarty down, but warns Watson and Barker that it will take some time to achieve.
The Mystery of Cloomber is a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is narrated by John Fothergill West, a Scot who has moved with his family from Edinburgh to Wigtownshire to care for the estate of his father's half brother, William Farintosh. It was first published in 1889.
Near their residence, Branksome, is Cloomber Hall, for many years untenanted. After a little while it is settled in by John Berthier Heatherstone, late of the Indian Army. General Heatherstone is nervous to the point of being paranoid. As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that his fears are connected with some people in India whom he has offended somehow. People hear a strange sound, like the tolling of a bell, in his presence, which seems to cause the general great discomfort. Every year his paranoia reaches its climax around the fifth of October, after which date his fears subside for a while. After some time there is a shipwreck in the bay and among the survivors are three Buddhist priests who had boarded the ship from Kurrachee.
When John Fothergill West tells the general (to whose daughter Gabriel he is engaged) about the priests, he resigns himself to his fate and refuses any help from West. One night the three Buddhist priests summon General Heatherstone and Colonel Rufus Smith (who had been together with the general in India and apparently was under the same threat that was faced by the general) out of Cloomber Hall. With their psychic powers, they have a complete hold over the two erstwhile soldiers. The priests take them through the marshes to the Hole of Cree, a bottomless pit in the centre of the marsh and either throw the soldiers in or order them to jump in. The General had given his son a parcel and instructed him to hand it over to West in case of his death or disappearance. When West opens the parcel he finds a letter and some old papers. In the letter the general tells West to read the papers, which are pages from a diary that the general had kept in his days in the army of the English East India Company. As West reads the papers he understands the mystery of Cloomber. When he was in the army forty years ago, during the First Afghan War, the general was fighting against the Afridis in the passes of the Hindu-Kush.
After defeating the Afridis in a battle, he chases them to a cul de sac to slaughter them. As the general was closing in on the remnants of the enemy forces, an old man emerges from a cave and stops him from killing them. The general, together with Rufus Smith, kills the old man and proceeds with the massacre. As it turns out, the old man was an arch-adept, who had reached the zenith of Buddhist priesthood. His chelas (students) vow to avenge his death. The three chelas let the general live on for forty years to prolong his misery. The sound that appeared to emanate from above the general's head was the tolling of the astral bell by the chelas to remind him that wherever he goes, he will never escape their wrath.
The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes is a short story collection of Sherlock Holmes pastiches written by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr, first published in 1954.
This series might be called "The Unrecorded Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes," since the stories are based on cases referred to in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works but never before reported by Dr. Watson.
Now under the authorship of Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr, Dr. Watson has been persuaded to describe fully the amazing adventures that were only briefly mentioned in the earlier tales. The authors have carefully reconstructed the world of Sherlock Holmes, whose headquarters was his rooms at 221 B Baker Street. Their stories are the inspired results of years of meticulous research, of creative imagination, and of scrupulous attention to the minute details that characterized all the efforts of the world’s most famous detective.
The twelve stories in The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes derive from the unsolved cases to which Dr. Watson alludes in the original fifty-six stories and four novels. The plots are new, but these stories are painstaking reproductions of the originals, in construction as well as in texture.
Table of Contents:
THE VALLEY OF FEAR
THE MYSTERY OF CLOOMBER
THE EXPLOITS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
By Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr
1. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SEVEN CLOCKS
2. THE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLD HUNTER
3. THE ADVENTURE OF THE WAX GAMBLERS
4. THE ADVENTURE OF THE HIGHGATE MIRACLE
5. THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLACK BARONET
6. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SEALED ROOM
By Adrian Conan Doyle
7. THE ADVENTURE OF FOULKES RATH
8. THE ADVENTURE OF THE ABBAS RUBY
9. THE ADVENTURE OF THE DARK ANGELS
10. THE ADVENTURE OF THE TWO WOMEN
11. THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEPTFORD HORROR
12. THE ADVENTURE OF THE RED WIDOW
Full AudioBook. Arthur Conan Doyle. The Valley of Fear