Wikipedia Synopsis: Holmes decodes a cipher warning of. Moriarty’s organization for “Douglas” in “Birlstone”, but a corpse is there already. When Mr. Douglas blows the head off his American assassin, he dresses the body as himself, and hides, to throw off the chase for good. Holmes guesses the missing dumb-bell weighted down the killers clothes in the moat. The calling card left, VV341, is Vermissa Valley Lodge 341. Decades ago for Pinkerton, he went months undercover, first with Freeman in Chicago, then west to desolate mountain coal mine area, to take down corrupt murderers who ran the Valley Freeman Lodge, but criminals pursued. Holmes warns Douglas, when acquitted, to flee England. But Moriarty prevails. The second Mrs. Douglas telegrams that her husband was lost overboard on his way to South Africa on a ship.
The Valley of Fear is loosely based on the real life events of Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent James McParland. While, not my favourite work by A.C.D it is still marvellously written and strongly portrays the life of Mr. Douglas and the dangers of undercover police work.
I didn’t really connect with the story line and I was also distracted by another book I was reading, thus making it hard to write half decent book review. 😦