The Valley of Fear written by Arthur Conan Doyle (Scene 4 – 6)

 The Valley of Fear written by Arthur Conan Doyle

Act I

Scene 4

Background information

James Stanger is a newspaper editor who is writing against McGinty and his organisation. McGinty is really concerned and wants to teach him a hard lesson. He knows that the newspaper articles against his organisation could cause a lot of tension. 


McGinty and other scowrers are gathered at Union House Saloon. McGinty reads an article written by James Stanger. Its headline is “Reign of Terror in the Coal and Iron District”. Stanger points out the existence of a criminal organisation in the valley. The article mentions that the outrages have made the lives of innocent people miserable. He has not yet mentioned any names in his article. McGinty decides that Stanger should be given a verbal warning and he forms a committee for this purpose.

Scene 5

Background information

As mentioned earlier, Mr Douglas of Birlstone manor has been horribly murdered. Sergeant Wilson, Doctor Wood, and detective White Mason are present in the manor to investigate the murder. They start their investigation by interrogating Mr Barker (A close friend of Douglas) and Ames (butler). Mr Douglas’ body is lying in his study room and Doctor Wood is inspecting the body. 


Mason has requested Inspector MacDonald and Holmes to help in the investigation. Sergeant Wilson and Mason start their investigation by interrogating Barker and Ames. Douglas was shot with an old sawn-off shotgun. Mason notices a brand on the deceased’s arm which is a triangle inside a circle. Ames and Barker have no idea of the brand on Douglas’ arm. Barker and Ames assure the police that they would cooperate during the investigation. Barker and Ames give the details of the incident. Barker was in his room when Douglas was shot. He rushed to the room and saw Douglas lying dead. Mr Barker informed the police at midnight that his friend has been murdered.

Scene 6

Background Information

Holmes, MacDonald and Watson are travelling towards Birlstone. On the way, they are discussing some important aspects of the murder mystery. 


Holmes, MacDonald and Watson are discussing the structure of the manor where Douglas and his wife lived. Holmes suspects that either Douglas was one of Moriarty’s subordinates who betrayed him. MacDonald shares the details with everyone about the early life of Douglas and his wife Ivy Douglas. He informs Holmes about Barker who was living with Douglasses for the past few years.

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