CHAPTER ONE 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Who is Porlock? Who is Professor Moriarty? What is the content of the letter Porlock sends to Holmes? What book did Holmes and Watson use to decipher the code? What did the coded message say? Who came to solicit help from Holmes and Watson? How was the information in the coded message confirmed? CHAPTER TWO Where did the murder take place? What did MacDonald think of Professor Moriarty? How did Holmes prove to MacDonald that there was more to Moriarty than there seemed to be? How does Moriarty punish his minions if they make mistakes? Who sent a letter requesting help to MacDonald? How was Mr. Douglas murdered? CHAPTER THREE 1. Briefly describe the village of Birlstone. 2. What was the house where the murder took place called? 3. What the features restricted access to the Manor House? 4. Briefly describe John Douglas. 5. What did Douglas' neighbors think of him? 6. Briefly describe Mrs. Douglas. 7. Who was the guest at the Manor House? 8. How was he connected to the Douglas couple? 9. Name two of the Manor House's servants and indicate their jobs. 10. Describe Mr. Douglas as he was found by the doctor and the sergeant. 11. Who was first on the scene of the crime? According to Barker, how did the murderer escape? 12. Why does Barker think so? 13. Where was the murderer hiding in the room? 14. What distinguishing mark was on Douglas? 15. What was missing from Douglas' personal effects? The Valley of Fear Essay Questions 1. 1 How does Doyle create suspense in the novel? Doyle creates suspense through his narrator acting as a stand-in for the reader, for we only see what Watson sees and thus are kept in the dark about the facts in the case that Holmes has already started to unravel in his mind. Furthermore, Watson's observations can be piquant and memorable. When he notices a sly smile on Mrs. Douglas's lips or her questionable tone when asking whether or not they've found anything out about her husband's murder, readers justifiably prick their ears up. Similarly, Cecil Barker is written as a very suspicious character. His interaction with Mrs. Douglas in the garden leads readers down a path of suspicion and speculation. And finally, Doyle creates suspense when he sets up climactic moments, such as the Manor House stakeout or the capturing of Birdy Edwards. 2. 2 What is the relationship like between Holmes and Watson? Holmes and Watson have a fascinating and justifiably famous literary relationship. Watson reveres his friend, and he is a staunch ally and defender of Holmes's occasionally infuriating or suspect detective practices. He asks questions, clarifies, and narrates/archives the adventures. He can help explain Holmes to outsiders who do not quite understand or appreciate him. Holmes is a little dismissive of Watson sometimes, but in this novel he is very kind and encouraging. He does not tell him everything he is thinking, but nonetheless he trusts him more than he trusts anyone else. 3. 3 What does the novel tell readers about Victorian England and Gilded Age America? The novel was written in 1914 but is set in the late 1800s. The first thing that is apparent is the authority and power of Britain, especially as opposed to the Irish. The Irish, though depicted in their new country of America rather than in England, tend to be malevolent, violent, and irascible. The British appear as proper, professional, estimable, and capable. America is rapidly industrializing and is beset by labor and class conflicts; it is a chaotic, tempestuous place. In both countries women are treated as mere helpmates or lovers for men and have no social power. Law enforcement continually butts up against people who feel defeated by the entrenched authority. 4. 4 Why does Doyle make Moriarty a part of the tale when he does not necessarily have to be? Moriarty arguably does not have to be in the story at all. If MacDonald had come to Holmes with the tale of the murdered Douglas, everything from that point forward would have happened in the same way. Douglas could live at the end; or, if Doyle really wanted him murdered, he could have a vengeful Scowrer eventually get him. However, Moriarty is there in the penumbras, exercising his power in a way made more ominous by its inability to be traced. Doyle does this to set up his detective's future clashes with Moriarty by emphasizing the extent of his influence. Moriarty is also Irish, which deepens the understanding of Doyle's treatment of the novel's themes. Finally, Moriarty's malevolence and intellect make this otherwise standard tale into something more ominous and compelling. As Doyle writes in "The Final Problem," a short story where Moriarty actually appears, "He is a man of good birth and excellent education, endowed by nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty...But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers." 5. 5 How does McMurdo fool McGinty and the Scowrers? McMurdo is a lot of things, but perhaps the most notable thing about him is his incredible courage. It requires immense courage to infiltrate the dangerous and shady Scowrers, especially with a perceptive and tempestuous man like Bodymaster McGinty in charge. McMurdo manages to fool them using a few tactics. First, he admits to having a lawbreaking past, and he demonstrates a strong hatred of and animosity towards law enforcement. Second, he impresses McGinty by his bold, self-assured, and confident mannerisms. Third, he is willing to throw himself headlong into the Scowrers' bloody deeds. Fourth, he easily withstands pain and fear during his initiation. Fifth, he is personable and has a lovely singing voice. All of these help ease his passage into the society; his competence and intelligence keep him in its good graces.