I very much enjoyed this book and it felt like a treat as it was almost two books in one; the first being set in Birlstone Manor House with Sherlock and Dr Watson investigating the gruesome murder of Mr Douglas, and the second set in ‘The Valley of Fear’ in Vermissa Valley in America detailing the history of the crime and not featuring Sherlock at all.

I loved the whole book as it was full of typically enticing detective teases such as the body found in the manor house with its drawbridge raised and its impassable moat so it seems no outsider can enter, the seemingly unexplainable clues in the room such as the one dumbbell and the missing wedding ring on the body, the cryptic message to Sherlock first alerting him to the possibility of a crime and this message being written in numbers which relate to page numbers and words in an unidentifiable book, to the surprising twist at the end and the explanation of the mystery and who is who – could you ask for more? Totally brilliant and completely enjoyable. I think this may be one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes’ stories.




When Holmes and Watson receive a cipher from one of Moriarty's henchmen warning of dark doings at a manor house, they find themselves on the trail of a murderer. Almost immediately, they are on their way to Sussex where they discover a corpse with its head blown to pieces. But all is not as it seems. For the origins of this case lie in America.
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