Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear (7)

Summary: This chapter was very long and the end of Part 1. We solve the case–or rather, Sherlock does, while displaying his love of dramatics by making the police and Watson sit in the cold night on a stakeout without telling them what they were even staking-out. Finally the murdered man’s friend, Cecil Barker, shows up and tries to haul in evidence he’d hidden in the moat, when Sherlock jumps out. Cecil wasn’t going to say anything, but then the wife appears. We think we’re going to get some kind of illicit lovers’ confession, but then the dead man himself comes out, not dead at all. He knew a guy was coming for him, and when he attacked he killed him. When they realized none of the staff had heard, only his close friend and wife, he decided to fake his death to stop his pursuers once and for all. Now that that mystery’s solved, does that mean we get back to the Moriarty stuff?

Sherlock Rating: 4 monacles/4 magnifying glasses. I’m rating this chapter and this mystery as a whole, even though the book isn’t over yet. It wasn’t the most exciting, but it was interesting. I enjoyed how Sherlock messed with the police, and I liked the twist that the guy wasn’t dead. I’d suspected that, but it was still a surprise. I’ll still rate the book as a whole when it’s finished.

Mystery Story Convention: the victim that really isn’t dead. This is at least the second Sherlock mystery where this has happened (this was the better of the two by far), and it is probably a required plot at some point in every mystery series. Spoiler: Agatha Christy even used it in Ten Little Indians.

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