The Valley of Fear

Professor Moriarty

The Valley of Fear, notable for Professor Moriarty's involvement, is set before "The Final Problem" (December 1893), the short story in which Moriarty was introduced. This introduces a logical difficulty, as in "The Final Problem" Dr. Watson has never heard of Moriarty, whereas by the end of The Valley of Fear Watson is, or should be, familiar with Moriarty's name and character.

The "Moriarty" element in the story is tied into the fate of the informer in the story. It ties the Molly Maguires background to another event of that period: the murder of James Carey, an informer who was shot aboard a ship off the coast of Natal, South Africa in 1883 by Patrick O'Donnell, an Irish republican who had relatives in the Mollies and briefly visited the Pennsylvania coal mining district, supposedly looking for the suspected informer among them.

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