I usually read the short stories about Sherlock Holmes and after reading two of Doyle's novellas, I have to say I prefer his short stories. I recently read A Study in Scarlet where Doyle is introduced to the reader. This book follows the same format as A Study in Scarlet. Holmes solves the mystery in the first half and then in part 2, we go back in time to get "the rest of the story." It feels like two stories. I'm not sure I like the formula. In both books, the back story takes place in lawless America, but the death takes place in England. (Is that because it is easier to kill someone in England or perhaps there are more places to hide in America?)In this book, we have a brief introduction to Professor Moriarity. We learn some facts about him, but we don't actually meet him. Holmes is called to investigate a mysterious death and quickly interprets all the clues necessary to solve the case. After determining the murderer, Doyle then spends half of the book explaining why the murder took place. For some reason, I was able to quickly determine who the murderer was and why. This is very unusual for me, so perhaps I have read a similar book in the past.I did think the story and writing was better in The Valley of Fear than in The Study of Scarlet, so I gave the book 4 stars, but would have given 3 1/2 stars if Goodreads allowed it.