The Valley of Fear Written by Arthur Conan Doyle
Holmes, Watson, and MacDonald have reached Birlstone Manot to assist in the investigation.
Holmes is observing the brand on Douglas’s arm. He also notices a piece of plaster at the angle of Mr Douglas’s jaw. Ames informs the detectives that Mr. Douglas cut himself in shaving a couple of days earlier. Holmes assumes that Douglas was restless and anxious before his murder. Holmes looks at the shotgun closely to find any clue but unfortunately, the words have been cut off. He tries to read the words carved on the gun. It says “Pennsylvania Small Arms Company”.Detectives suspect that anyone from the household might have murdered Douglas due to any personal reasons. Somehow, the detectives are quite puzzled at the noisiest weapon the murderer used. They come to another hypothesis that Douglas has committed suicide. The intruder did not steal anything from the house. Holmes suggests that the brand on Douglas’s arm and the card marked V. V 341 give the impression of some sort of secret society. The murderer entered the house and waited for Douglas in his study room. They didn’t have any lengthy conversation between them as the candle is hardly burned down. Holmes observes the boot marks and is surprised to see that they are different in size. Meanwhile, Watson comes up with news that police have found the intruder’s bicycle.
The scene sets at Union House Saloon where McGinty and his scowrers are gathered to officially make McMurdo a member of their organization. All the scowrers are waiting for the moment when McMurdo will be branded. They want to see how he bears the pain.
Cormac leads in McMurdo, who has been blindfolded. McGinty asks him if he is ready to be tested. He nods in agreement and the crowd cheers. Carter brings the extremely hot brand from the brazier and presses it on McMurdo’s arm. Everyone watches to see how he bears the pain. He clenches his fists but doesn’t cry out. McGinty warns McMurdo that the punishment for any breach of their oath of secrecy is death. Officially McMurdo becomes a member of lodge 341. Scowrers cheer and clap for McMurdo. After a short celebration, they proceed to business.
A coal owner, Andrew Rae, is creating trouble for the scowrers. They mutually decide to punish him as he has not taken any warning seriously. Two brothers from Merton are about to arrive in Vermissa Valley to do some business. They have been assigned a job to deal with Josia Dunn, the manager at Crow Hill Mine. McMurdo volunteers to go with the scowrers but McGinty advises him to wait till the right moment. They release a pension for Jim Carnaway’s widow. He was shot dead a month before. Morris (an unwilling scowrer) that great companies in New York don’t consider their threats and are planning to bring their organization to the court. This infuriates McGinty and he scolds Morris for being a croaker. They decide that James Stanger (the newspaper editor) must be punished severely this time as he has not taken any warning seriously. Morris protests against killing him as a law and order situation in the valley is already alarming. McGinty warns Morris of horrible punishment if he didn’t stop being annoying. McGinty allows the scowrers to deal with Stanger severely.
Baldwin, the Willaby brothers, Scanlan, and McMurdo are outside the offices of ‘the Vermissa Herald Newspaper’.
Baldwin deploys McMurdo and Scanlan to take their positions at the main gate and keep watch. Baldwin enters inside the office and manically beats Stanger. He starts to bleed. McMurdo pushes Baldwin back reminding McGinty’s order not to kill him. They all scatter in different directions as people have started to gather outside the office.