About the Reading Group

The Valley of Fear, the final Sherlock Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, was published from September 1914 to May 1915 in the Strand Magazine. In honour of this auspicious literary anniversary Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Leeds Humanities Research Institute are hosting a reading group in order to discuss this classic Holmes tale of English country house murder and transatlantic conspiracy.

However, there is a twist: in order to simulate the sort of serialised reading experience the Strand’s readership would have had a hundred years ago, we will be reading The Valley of Fear a chapter a day over two weeks. The group will meet at three key points to discuss the unfolding story: after the first chapter, seven chapters later at the end of part two, and at the finale. Registered members of the group will be emailed a chapter a day.

This is the perfect opportunity, and excuse, to revisit The Valley of Fear or experience it for the first time. Also, with the centenary of the First World War a topic for discussion, this allows us to have a look at what people were actually reading at the beginning of the conflict.

The reading group will meet in Blackwell’s Bookshop, 21 Blenheim Terrace, Leeds, at 6pm on the 5th, 12th and 19th of October. Places are free, but limited. To register for a place on the group please click here.

If you are unable to attend the group itself you can still contact us at valleyoffear@leeds.ac.uk to sign up for the daily chapter emails, and join in the discussion on the blog. Alternatively you can Tweet along using #valleyoffear2015.


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