Review published on November 1, 2017.
The Valley of Fear is a graphic novel adaptation by Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard, based on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes is concerned about Moriarty, and he receives a coded message from one of his fellow investigators. It alludes to a murder and Holmes is determined to investigate the matter.
This is a typical country house murder mystery with a twist. It features an American storyline involving a Pinkerton. The adaptation could have been incredibly wordy considering the source material, but it isn’t. The storyline moves on at a good pace and at no point does the reader think that the script feels out of place with the artwork. The depiction of the characters is not based on any particular actor, considering how many there have been, and that is a testament to the artist’s skill. The style of the clues are also worthy of note, as the art makes the story really easy to follow.
This would be a good first graphic novel for those who are not keen on the idea. It would also appeal to those who are Sherlock Holmes or mystery fans. It stays true to the spirit of the novel that it is based on. I really like the graphic novel adaptations that SelfMadeHero produce, and I know from my experience as a librarian that teenagers love them. The quick pace of this novel means that The Valley of Fear will also be popular with teenagers.
This would be a great reading group book. It could fit in with either an adaptation theme or a mystery theme. There are lots of potential discussion points, including: does the adaptation work, does the artwork change how you perceive the characters, and how the American side of the story has influenced other authors.
It is an enjoyable read that engages the reader from the first page.
Angela Finch 5/5
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard
SelfMadeHero 9781910593349 pbk Sep 2017