“I have been in the Valley of Fear. I am not out of it yet. Are we never to get out of the Valley of Fear”
So, Chapter 5 has been sent out and the tale starts taking the shape of a classic detective story, with the standard sequence of suspects and witnesses being interviewed by the authorities. But what did you make of the interviews? It is the professional MacDonald taking the lead here rather than Holmes (the inspector depicted sitting at the head of the table with Holmes at his right hand); but while MacDonald is preoccupied with the romance of potential infidelities and affairs, Holmes is concerned with the far more domestic matters of candles, lamps and slippers. White Mason’s contributions seems limited to interjections of enthusiastic slang. But what of Watson? Although taking a back seat in this story so far (after his early collaboration with Holmes on cracking Porlock’s code) we do see some of his own detective work, with his asides to us trying to decode the various expressions and comments of Mrs Douglas.
As for Mrs Douglas, is she innocent or guilty? And what of Barker’s defensiveness? How is the narrative portraying these two?
In any case, we have finally heard someone utter the words ‘the valley of fear’. More will be revealed tomorrow, when chapters 6 & 7 will be sent out. Until then, do post any thoughts or comments about this chapter below. And the next meeting is, again, at 6pm on Monday evening.
Cheerio for now,