"You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty? The greatest schemer of all time, the organizer of every deviltry, the controlling brain of the underworld, a brain which might have made or marred the destiny of nations -- That's genius, Watson. But if I am spared by lesser men, our day will... read more
Famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. John Watson, are summoned to solve a murder. The victim's gruesome death was caused by a blast to the face from a shotgun. The only witnesses are the victim's wife and his best friend. Both say that, upon hearing the gunshot, they rushed... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. John Watson, are summoned to solve a murder. The victim's gruesome death was caused by a blast to the face from a shotgun. The only witnesses are the victim's wife and his best friend. Both say that, upon hearing the gunshot, they rushed down, saw only the dead body, and immediately alerted the rest of the household. However, by observing the small size of a candle in the room of the murder, Holmes deduces that the witnesses did not alert the house immediately and therefore lied in order to protect someone. Eventually, Holmes manages to unearth the truth--the "victim" is actually the body of the murderer. The assassin and his target had a violent struggle resulting in the accidental death of the assassin. Just then, the "dead man" comes out of hiding and confirms Holmes' theory.
Next, Watson, upon receiving a written account of the events leading up to the "murder", narrates the meaning behind the aforementioned events. John McMurdo was a member of a secret society located in Vermissa Valley (the titular Valley of Fear). The society controled the politics and money supply of the Valley through fear, intimidation, and murder. While serving in the society, McMurdo received word that Birdy Edwards, a Pinkerton detective, was planning to trap the society. McMurdo gathered his fellow members together to surprise and kill Edwards, only to reveal that McMurdo IS Birdy Edwards. McMurdo had all of the society arrested and put on trial. However, only a few escaped execution and plotted revenge on McMurdo/Edwards. One of these members, Ted Baldwin, was the assassin sent to kill McMurdo/Edwards, leading up to the beginning of the book.
Back at Baker Street, Homes receives word that McMurdo/Edwards had died by drowning during a cruise. Holmes suspects murder by crime boss Professor James Moriarty, who had been in league with Baldwin and the other escaped convicts. Homes swears vengeance on Moriarty, setting the stage for the Adventure of the Final Problem.
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