I confess I haven't read The Valley of Fear from cover to cover as of yet. I listened to a really great radio adaptation of it starring Clive Merrison a while back. But I have not read the book as of yet myself.
So, I dug out my old dusty copy of it (as seen above) and started reading it a couple days back. I also have the book in a Bantam collection but I much prefer reading it separately. I don't know. Unless it's the short stories collected, I have a hard time reading the full Sherlock Holmes novels in the collected editions. Yeah, I know. Yet another strange hang up.
This novel is the only other story where Professor Moriarty is mentioned apart from The Final Problem and The Empty House. It's funny to think much like Irene "The Woman" Adler, he only really appeared in one story. Yet, think about all the movies written that have used the character as Sherlock Holmes's chief nemesis.
Of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is famous for muddling his own continuity in this book. Since in The Final Problem Watson has no idea who Moriarty is yet in this story Watson knows about Moriarty.
I suppose this all stems from the fact that this particular story was written 22 years after The Final Problem was printed. Famously, Doyle has become tired of his creation by when he printed The Final Problem. So, it's possible he just didn't feel like going over the old manuscripts to check certain story elements.
Or he knew and he really just didn't care.
Of course nowadays if a writer were to do that, can you imagine how many fans would complain about this on message boards, blogs, websites, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or anything else they can find?
I still find it really odd how few film and television adaptations there are of this particular story. There are only two films I know about. The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes starring Arthur Wonter and Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace starring Christopher Lee. But both are only loosely based on the novel. Arthur Wontner closely resembled Sidney Paget's artwork in a way that was eerie. But the films starring him are so slow and boring. Sorry, it's a fact. The Christopher Lee film is not bad in the sense that it's directed by the great Hammer director Terence Fisher and physically Christopher Lee is the best choice for Sherlock Holmes. It's also filmed in German. And this could have been a very enjoyable movie to watch but the travesty of the film is the fact that when they dubbed it in English they DID NOT get Christopher Lee to dub his own lines. Instead they got some truly terrible American actor to do it. And that just ruins watching the film for me. Especially since Christopher Lee has the most amazing voice this side of Tom Baker. There is one animation starring Peter O'Toole that is a direct adaptation. I haven't seen it and I heard apart from Peter O'Toole's performance the acting and the animation really terrible.
Ever since I wrapped up working on Alice Faulkner I have been putting a great deal of thought into doing another Sherlock Holmes story. This time I had wanted to do something from the canon as opposed to doing another pastiche. I think what continues to draw me back to The Valley of Fear is the fact that it has not been done a great deal.
So, we'll see.