A coded warning from an associate of the devious Professor Moriarty directs Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard to a secluded manor house in Sussex. There the trio discover a gentleman shot dead at close range, surrounded by a mélange of mystifying clues — a peculiar tattoo-like mark, muddy footprints, and a missing wedding ring — that ultimately lead to the spellbinding backstory of a cult that terrorized an American mining town. The last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, The Valley of Fear ranks among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's best tales. Its plot draws upon the real-life activities of the secret society known as the Molly Maguires, offering a subtle comment on early-twentieth-century union struggles in the United States as well as the political situation in Ireland. Crisp, realistic characterizations and a suspenseful narrative make this novel essential reading for Sherlock Holmes fans as well as all lovers of mystery and detection.