I finally finished reading The Valley of Fear on Monday before heading out to King Richards Faire. You read that right. And no. I didn't go in costume. The world is not ready for me in tights.
I had started reading the book about a week or so before. After several failed attempts over the past nine years, I thought it was finally time to read it. I enjoyed it. The Scowrers part of the book was somewhat difficult to plow through. Although, it had some interesting scenes I found it as difficult as when I was trying to get through the second half of A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. Which had the very same structure of the first half being entirely a Sherlock Holmes novel. And then the second half being a flashback of how the person they have captured came to be in his present circumstance.
Although, the structure is definitely more similar to Scarlet. Which I suppose is very fitting since A Study in Scarlet was the very first Sherlock Holmes novel and Valley of Fear was the very last novel.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote one more series of short stories after, but as far as the full novels are concerned Valley of Fear was the last in line.
I've already made a decision that this very well may be my next project. I've started scripting it looking at both my battered copy as well as one I'm working from on the Complete Sherlock Holmes website.
I had really thought about doing another Sherlock Holmes story after I wrapped up Alice Faulkner. But this time I wanted to do one written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was kind of a toss-up between Scarlet and Valley. Neither had been adapted very often. However, there was a great adaptation for Sherlock Holmes series starring Peter Cushing.
I suppose for a British television company, there was a great difficulty in adapting either of those stories at the time. Especially since a great chunk of both stories take place in the United States. And I'm sure it's very difficult to make the landscape in England look like the landscape in America just as much as it's difficult to try and pawn off Vancouver as the great Grimpen Mire.
It has been attempted. VERY unsuccessfully.
But since very little has been done with The Valley of Fear, I thought it would be the ideal choice.
It's going to have to go through heavy restructuring. The Scowrer's part in particular. I don't think readers will tolerate a whole section where Sherlock Holmes does not appear. But I want to do it in a way that doesn't bastardize the great story Conan Doyle has written.
I'm using the art Frank Wiles created for Valley of Fear (see image above) as reference while I'm working on the book.