Reviews - What do customers think about The Valley of Fear and Selected Stories (Classic, Modern, Penguin)?
The quality of Holmes stories declines Mar 25, 2002
This edition by Penguin contains the full-length Sherlock Holmes novel THE VALLEY OF FEAR along with selected short stories from THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and HIS LAST BOW. THE VALLEY OF FEAR was written after Conan Doyle killed off Holmes in 1892, but is set before Holmes' disappearance at the Reichenbach Falls. THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES opens with a story that shows that Holmes didn't die in his struggle with Professor Moriarty after all.
These stories show a decline in Conan Doyle's writing. As Iain Pears wrote in the introduction to another Penguin edition of Holmes stories, in the latter half of his life Conan Doyle turned to mysticism and spiritualism and was increasingly unable to portray the cold rationalism of Sherlock Holmes. Many of the stories lack motivation. The story HIS LAST BOW, which is final story in the canon according to Holmesian time, is a poorly-plotted bit of propaganda for England in World War I.
There are footnotes to each story, compiled by Ed Glinert. An expert on literature set in London, Glinert explains the geographical settings of the Holmes stories, and defines anachronistic terms that are no longer use. He also points out the mistakes Arthur Conan Doyle frequently made in his stories, which are often quite amusing (contradicting timelines, Conan Doyles' incomplete understanding of obscure sciencs, etc).
Because of the illuminating introduction and the helpful footnotes, I'd recommend over any others this edition of THE VALLEY OF FEAR AND SELECTED CASES