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Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Demon

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The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly - Big Damn Hero. It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly - Big Damn Hero. It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit. Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick's calling card... Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something - or someone - is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.


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The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly - Big Damn Hero. It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly - Big Damn Hero. It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit. Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick's calling card... Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something - or someone - is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.

30 review for Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Demon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove is a 2019 Titan publication. A fun, clever, holiday mystery- Holmes & Watson style! I have not read any of the previous Holmes & Watson mysteries written by James Lovegrove. I was a little wary about a new Sherlock Holmes mystery, written by someone other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to be honest. However, after indulging in my usual heartwarming and saccharine sweet holiday romances, I was looking for a good holiday murder Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove is a 2019 Titan publication. A fun, clever, holiday mystery- Holmes & Watson style! I have not read any of the previous Holmes & Watson mysteries written by James Lovegrove. I was a little wary about a new Sherlock Holmes mystery, written by someone other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to be honest. However, after indulging in my usual heartwarming and saccharine sweet holiday romances, I was looking for a good holiday murder mystery, when this book popped up on my radar. For the most part the book has received positive feedback- so I decided to give it a try. The story examines the darker side of Christmas folklore. We all know about Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but apparently these jolly souls have evil counterpoints- or opposites- for example: Black Thurrick, who is also said to make an appearance during the Christmas holidays, punishing children by replacing their gifts with batches of Birch Twigs. Holmes and Watson are hired by Eve Allerthorpe to investigate the ghostly happenings at her estate, after she believes she witnessed the demon Thurrick. Not only that, Thurrick’s hallmark calling card of Birch twigs were found outside of doors or windows on occasion. The hitch is that dear Eve is about to come into a healthy sum of money, just so long as she is deemed of sound mind. Witnessing demonic apparitions might cause one to question her sanity, which is why Holmes & Watson need to get to the bottom of things before Eve loses her inheritance- or worse- is institutionalized. Although Eve’s family is less than welcoming, Sherlock Holmes brushes off his chilly reception and gets right down to work. What ensues is a puzzling mystery, with several nice red herrings, and some truly wonderful dialogue between Holmes and Watson. Although Lovegrove does occasionally satirize Holmes’ uncanny powers of observation and embellishes and exaggerates his and Watson’s relationship, a bit here and there, I think the author is very sincere and takes his task very seriously. He obviously respects these classic characters and does them justice. I thought the author did a good job with this mystery, which kept me guessing and thoroughly entertained. I suspect Lovegrove enjoyed breathing new life into the Sherlock Holmes mystery series and I for one truly enjoyed reading it! 4 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... It is late December 1890, Eve’s Allerthorpe’s birthday is fast approaching and on Christmas eve she will turn twenty-one-years-old. On her birthday she will inherit a sizeable fortune left to her by her aunt…but only if she is found to be of sound mind. If, however, Eve is found to not be of sound mind then the inheritance will be divided and spread equally between other family As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... It is late December 1890, Eve’s Allerthorpe’s birthday is fast approaching and on Christmas eve she will turn twenty-one-years-old. On her birthday she will inherit a sizeable fortune left to her by her aunt…but only if she is found to be of sound mind. If, however, Eve is found to not be of sound mind then the inheritance will be divided and spread equally between other family members. Every year for Christmas the Allerthorpe’s host a gathering with their extended family coming from far and wide to celebrate the festive season at their family home of Fellscar Keep, an isolated castle located in East Riding, Yorkshire. Fellscar Keep has a history and the local area is steeped in folklore, myth and local legend. One such local legend is that of the ‘Black Thurrick’ an evil entity, the dark to the light and an anti-father Christmas. The Black Thurrick replaces the benevolence and goodwill of Father Christmas with malevolence and ill will. The Black Thurrick removes the toys of those children who have been bad and exchanges them with bundles of birch twigs. And, if an offering isn’t left out for the Black Thurrick then, the Black Thurrick will steal the children of the household, take them back to its underground lair and eat them. When she was a child, alongside her younger brother, Eve’s mother used to regale the two children with tales of the Black Thurrick, a tale told to scare the children into being good and one that has been etched in Eve’s memory. Now, nearing Christmas and Eve’s birthday bundles of birch twigs are being left around Fellscar Keep. In the dark of the night, mysterious noises are being heard emanating from the east wing of the castle. And Eve, herself, by the glow of moonlight has glimpsed a figure resembling the countenance of the sinister Black Thurrick walking across the frozen lake late at night. With no-one else to turn to, Eve travels to London where she asks Holmes and Watson for aid, for their help in the hope that they will be able to uncover the truth behind the strange occurrences that are plaguing both her and Fellscar keep. To add to matters, while Holmes and Watson are at Fellscar Keep investigating the tale of the Black Thurrick things take on a more serious tone when one of the household is found dead under suspicious circumstances. The folklore is well incorporated and adds an ominous air to the story. Deep in winter Fellscar Keep is gripped by the coldness of the season with snow blanketing the area and the setting is very atmospheric. The gloomy, expansive and secluded Fellscar Keep, a castle on an island in the middle of a lake, joined to the land by a causeway, surrounded by a forest and miles away from the nearest village. There’s a vigour to the storytelling, a zeal to the writing and you can tell that Lovegrove has a genuine love for the iconic duo in his work. The mystery doesn’t disappoint, neither does the setting, the characters, the deductions, the twists or the denouement of the investigation. It is all cleverly plotted, honours and serves to pay homage to the characters of Holmes and Watson by once more bringing them to life in a gripping and highly entertaining mystery that captures the era perfectly and feels deeply reminiscent of a classic Holmes tale. I really liked the actual ending with Lovegrove ending things with some festive cheer done in a very Holmesesque way. It felt like a fitting end and leaves you with a smile upon your face. Simply, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon was an absolute joy to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    Now I haven't read any Sherlock books since I was younger and they were Conan Doyle ones which I loved. I was a bit dubious about reading this as I didn't think anything could come close to his, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I throughly enjoyed it and loved how I was transported to back in time. The characters were so descriptive and the story was so well written. I have gone on to reserve a few of his others and cant wait to get my hands on them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    Eve Allerthorpe, daughter of a wealthy dysfunctional Yorkshire family, enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. She believes her family home, a large ugly and remote Gothic castle called Felscar Keep is haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit called Black Thurrick – a sort of anti-Santa. Although, of course, Holmes dismisses such supernatural mumbo-jumbo, he does suspect that something criminal is afoot. His suspicion is endorsed when, soon after he and Watson arrive at Felscar Keep, Eve Allerthorpe, daughter of a wealthy dysfunctional Yorkshire family, enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. She believes her family home, a large ugly and remote Gothic castle called Felscar Keep is haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit called Black Thurrick – a sort of anti-Santa. Although, of course, Holmes dismisses such supernatural mumbo-jumbo, he does suspect that something criminal is afoot. His suspicion is endorsed when, soon after he and Watson arrive at Felscar Keep, a member of staff there is found dead. For the most part, the author did manage to get the settings and period details spot on; although, at one point, he did refer to a land area in hectares, rather than the old imperial measurement of acres, which would have been used then. Despite that small anomaly, the narrative did seem authentic and the character portrayals of Holmes and Watson didn’t deviate from Conan-Doyle’s originals. Of course, by the end, after many twists and turns, Holmes manages to solve the whole case, just in time to get back home for Christmas. In all, a light but very enjoyable read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    This was just a huge amount of fun and got the characters spot on - great mysteries too! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  6. 5 out of 5

    hannaღ

    Such a cozy and clever book, perfect for this time of the year!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deepu Singh

    Yes, its five star when it comes to the writing style and vocabulary, explaining the characters, building a character over the time, without giving a loose thread in the main storyline, keeping up suspense for even a little bit of details in story. It was my first book i read of James Lovegrove and not only it stuck to the point that its a Sherlock Holmes story but also it made me fall in love with these characters again. Writer did a excellent job to make the characters alive again, no Yes, its five star when it comes to the writing style and vocabulary, explaining the characters, building a character over the time, without giving a loose thread in the main storyline, keeping up suspense for even a little bit of details in story. It was my first book i read of James Lovegrove and not only it stuck to the point that its a Sherlock Holmes story but also it made me fall in love with these characters again. Writer did a excellent job to make the characters alive again, no concessions made to characters, they promise the same Sherlock and Watson whom we used to love. I really appreciate the way that writer managed to sewn all the part of the stories which contains secrets and suspense untill the end, and like a debriefing he opens one after another secret of the story. Go for it it's a perfect Christmas gift (which i have given to myself)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    After the last of the Cthulhu Casebooks, Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils, was published last year, I thought I’d got to the end of James’s entertaining cross-genre series. So, it was a lovely surprise to get this one arrive through the post – even though it’s a Christmas tale which has arrived before Halloween! It is 1890 and Sherlock and his friend John Watson are approached by Eve Allerthorpe, whose family seat at Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire appears to be haunted by a demonic spirit – After the last of the Cthulhu Casebooks, Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils, was published last year, I thought I’d got to the end of James’s entertaining cross-genre series. So, it was a lovely surprise to get this one arrive through the post – even though it’s a Christmas tale which has arrived before Halloween! It is 1890 and Sherlock and his friend John Watson are approached by Eve Allerthorpe, whose family seat at Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire appears to be haunted by a demonic spirit – the sinister Black Thurrick, seen walking across the icy lake around the family home, and who leaves small parcels of birch tied together with twine as a sign that the recipient’s days are numbered. Understandably, this is driving Eve to distraction. She fears that it may be part of a plot to make her insane, for she stands to inherit a fortune on her 21st birthday in a few days, if she is sound in mind. Such a cry for help means that Holmes and Watson agree to visit Eve in her home. The duo’s visit to Yorkshire soon makes them realise that (of course!) the situation is more complicated than at first expected. As the Allerthorpe family gather at Fellscar Keep for their traditional family Christmas, it is clear that something odd is happening. When a member of the Allerthorpe household is found dead, which suggests that there may be more to this than initially thought… There’s something special about a Victorian Christmas, isn’t there? Thoughts of Charles Dickens, huge meals, men in top hats, gaslights and falling snow are (for me, anyway) as about as traditional Christmas as it gets. Dickens himself, of course, knew how to use these iconic ideas to good effect and James does well to incorporate the same images in this novel. We begin Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon with the chase of a Father Christmas through a crowded London department store, and end with a Christmas feast worthy of A Christmas Carol. In terms of time, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon is set between the first and second of the Cthulhu Casebook stories, and as a result this one is perhaps more related to the Gothic ghost stories of Victorian/Edwardian England than Cthulhu. It does read nicely as a standalone, although Holmes and Watson do mention other cases along the way to put things into context. To me, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon felt like a cross between a Dickensian mystery and an Agatha Christie crime novel, with a touch of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights for the harsh Northern setting and William Hope-Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghost Finder for things that go bump in the night. It also helps that the setting is terrific as well. There’s lots of dashing around the snowy environment where most of the book is set, across lake ice and snow-white slopes and in a wonderfully Gothic castle. At the same time, to counterbalance this, there’s roaring fires and good food and drink mentioned in detail. James does well to balance the two by going all Agatha Christie in a grand setting of oak-lined libraries and drawing rooms and cigars and brandy after meals. On a genre note, there’s a nice nod to Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton stories, which it would be wrong of me to spoil. The gathering of the Allerthorpe clan for Christmas does create a wide variety of potential murder suspects, which Holmes and Watson do well to deal with. The initially frosty reception from the inner circle of the household towards our detective duo is admirably portrayed, but the characterisation allows us to warm to some as the plot proceeds. The biggest plus in this novel, and indeed the series, is that the tone and style of writing makes this one seem like a Conan Doyle novel, albeit for a 21st century readership. The prose is right and Holmes’ and Watson’s actions are both realistic and appropriate. The explanation of the processes by which Holmes makes his deductions is a joy to read. All in all, like Lovegrove’s other Sherlock novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon is a deceptively easy read that draws you in and, once started, I found difficult to put down. One last point – the cover and the format of the print edition is lovely. Removing the dustcover shows an embossed cover and spine that would make the book look good sitting nicely on any reader’s shelf. It’s not essential, but it does create the impression that this is a quality book the reader would like to keep. This is one that I can see me dipping into on a perennial basis. I’ve already added it to my pile of Christmassy reads for next year. “Yuletide is the time we commune with our friends and loved ones. It is the time when we banish demons, lay ghosts to rest, re-establish bonds with those who are dear to us, and reaffirm the good in the world.” So: may I be perhaps the first to wish you Merry Christmas?! This one is thoroughly recommended, to be read perhaps as the snow falls and the nights draw in. This is one you may keep coming back to.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lee Allen

    A gripping new case for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for the Yuletide season. There have been many follow-ups and interpretations of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, as well as spin-offs featuring other characters from the canon, both in print and in film and television. Some are widely successful - Anthony Horowitz's two authorised novels and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' modern-setting BBC TV series amongst the most notable. James Lovegrove has written several Sherlock Holmes stories A gripping new case for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for the Yuletide season. There have been many follow-ups and interpretations of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, as well as spin-offs featuring other characters from the canon, both in print and in film and television. Some are widely successful - Anthony Horowitz's two authorised novels and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' modern-setting BBC TV series amongst the most notable. James Lovegrove has written several Sherlock Holmes stories since 2013, with this the latest, published in 2019. 'Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon' begins a few days before Christmas in 1890 with the arrival of a potential new client in the form of Eve Allerthorpe, who is terrified that she is being haunted by preternatural forces - a ghost who may or may not be the spirit of her dead mother; and a folkloric demon known as the Black Thurrick, one of the many interpretations of a Christmas demon (Krampus being the most widely-known in the 21st century). Intrigued by the story of her persecution, and not at all convinced her tormentor is supernatural in origin, Holmes agrees to take on the case. He and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family home in Yorkshire, where they encounter Eve's immediate family, who immediately make it known they are not welcome. As Holmes begin to unearth secrets and lies, the Black Thurrick selects Watson as his next target, followed by a suspicious death that may finally crack open the case. 'Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon' is a thrilling Victorian mystery, packed full of Holmes' deductive brilliance and wry wit, foreboding atmosphere and a seasonal chill. Revisiting Holmes and discovering a new story that captures the essence of Conan Doyle's storytelling and Holmes' character is a joyous gift - this reminiscent of a Christmas 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', with its remote setting, historic dynasty and folkloric horrors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this while enjoying a few days off over the Christmas period. I sincerely hope that Lovegrove writes more Holmes mysteries in this vein. Synopses and reviews of his other Holmes' novels suggest they stray considerably from the tradition of Conan Doyle's stories, but on the merit of 'The Christmas Demon', I may explore them in the future.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Clarke

    Review coming soon on Sci Fi and Scary

  11. 4 out of 5

    booksofallkinds

    *I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher. As always, James Lovegrove has blown me away with this masterpiece of historical fiction featuring my favourite Victorian sleuths, Holmes and Watson. It is the week of Christmas and Holmes and Watson find themselves travelling to Fellscar Keep, a wealthy castle by all accounts, to solve a mystery for their young client, Eve Allerthorpe. In a few days, Eve is due to come into her inheritance from an aunt as long as she is found to be of sound *I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher. As always, James Lovegrove has blown me away with this masterpiece of historical fiction featuring my favourite Victorian sleuths, Holmes and Watson. It is the week of Christmas and Holmes and Watson find themselves travelling to Fellscar Keep, a wealthy castle by all accounts, to solve a mystery for their young client, Eve Allerthorpe. In a few days, Eve is due to come into her inheritance from an aunt as long as she is found to be of sound mind. A strange appendage to a will but not surprising considering the problems that her mother suffered with, which resulted in her death over a year ago. But Eve is afraid she is going mad because a childhood monster, known locally as the Black Thurrick, is haunting her and she is terrified. Unwilling to believe in myth and legends, Holmes is determined to uncover the truth, and as there is a huge family gathering for Christmas, there are plenty of suspects, but Watson isn't so quick to dismiss the chance of something supernatural. And when a murder is committed, will this be one case that this dynamic duo will have to walk away from, leaving it unsolved? Roaring to life through James Lovegrove's exquisite descriptions, I felt like I was back in the past at this huge house with this quirky and troubled family, and I never wanted this story to end. Sherlock Holmes and Watson are excellently drawn and I could picture each scene like a movie reel in my mind, making me loathe to put to this story down at any point in my evening. The plot is great and I was delighted and surprised by parts of the story and by the truth behind the drama. If you love Sherlock Holmes or enjoy historical fiction at all, then you need to read SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE CHRISTMAS DEMON by James Lovegrove. It is truly fantastic!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    I'm conceding defeat and I'm not even sure whom to. See, despite being an ardent mystery fan since a wee girl, I've been lukewarm at most to the Sherlock Holmes canon, and have had very little interest in reading the Sherlockiana that has spawned since. Not even Neil Gaiman's brilliant A Study In Emerald could draw me in, and I waved off my delight in G. S. Denning's Warlock Holmes series as being of a similar exception, given the overtly supernatural element common to both. Nancy Springer's I'm conceding defeat and I'm not even sure whom to. See, despite being an ardent mystery fan since a wee girl, I've been lukewarm at most to the Sherlock Holmes canon, and have had very little interest in reading the Sherlockiana that has spawned since. Not even Neil Gaiman's brilliant A Study In Emerald could draw me in, and I waved off my delight in G. S. Denning's Warlock Holmes series as being of a similar exception, given the overtly supernatural element common to both. Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse's Mycroft & Sherlock books were also, I rationalized, exceptions since they focused on the deeds of Sherlock's siblings, and not on the tiresome detective and his sentimental companion themselves. Not even my appreciation for the most recent adaptations of Sherlock on the screen -- whether they be Guy Richie's movies, the Beeb's episodes or the excellent Elementary -- could sway me. So I'm not sure why I said yes when the magnificent Polly Grice over at Titan Books offered me a copy of James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes And The Christmas Demon. Perhaps it was because of all the other Titan-published Sherlock-adjacent books that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps it was because I absolutely adored what James Lovegrove did with his recent Firefly novels. Regardless, reader, I trusted the sources enough to finally say yes. There was always the chance, of course, that I'd find this novel tiresome in the same ways I find Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works tedious. All the hallmarks of the original Sherlock stories are still present here in this gorgeously bound volume but Mr Lovegrove's deftness of touch makes it so that I don't find the relationship between the main characters irritating, and that I'm not wildly annoyed by the "exotic" touches to the story (just thinking of The Speckled Band still makes me incredibly grouchy.) While this wasn't a difficult mystery to solve -- tho some of the clues were quite ingenious -- it held together better for me than a lot of the original canon, and was so entertaining as to completely batter down my resistance to new material. Plus, I do love a Victorian Christmas! Perhaps I would have been grumpier if this book had come out after Halloween, as I'm always aggrieved at retailers ignoring Thanksgiving due to profit margins being better on the bracketing holidays, but with the weather turning and the supernatural bent to this Christmas tale, it felt like perfect timing. I can't imagine a cozier new book for fans of classic mysteries to curl up with as winter looms, and sincerely hope this book finds its way into many a mystery-lover's stocking as Yuletide approaches. It has certainly given me the gift of appreciation for new Sherlockiana, and for that I am thankful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    This was one of the better Holmes pastiches that I've read recently, with Holmes firmly rooted in the scientific realm while he and Watson go about solving this case. Holmes and Watson have just wrapped up a shoplifting case and are taking lunch when they are approached by a well-to-do young lady. Eve Allerthorpe stands to inherit a large sum of money from her maternal aunt Jocasta on her birthday - Christmas Eve - provided that she is of sound mind at that time. Eve's mother had had mental This was one of the better Holmes pastiches that I've read recently, with Holmes firmly rooted in the scientific realm while he and Watson go about solving this case. Holmes and Watson have just wrapped up a shoplifting case and are taking lunch when they are approached by a well-to-do young lady. Eve Allerthorpe stands to inherit a large sum of money from her maternal aunt Jocasta on her birthday - Christmas Eve - provided that she is of sound mind at that time. Eve's mother had had mental health issues and had committed suicide almost a year previous, so it was a valid concern. Eve thinks that she is being haunted by two ghosts/specters and implores Holmes to help her. Eve believes that the ghost of her dead mother is haunting the east wing of Fellscar Keep, the main family's ancestral seat. Her mother jumped to her death from the tallest window in that wing. While she hasn't experienced phenomena herself, the servants reported hearing odd grunts and groans, as well as seeing a figure dressed in white. The second apparition haunting her is Black Thurrick, a local legend akin to Krampus or some other opposite of Santa/St. Nick. She and her brother Erasmus have found bundles of birch twigs on their windowsills, and she found another bundle while walking the grounds. Eve also spotted what she believes to be the figure of Black Thurrick crossing the frozen lake surrounding the Keep late one night. She invites Holmes and Watson up to Fellscar Keep until her birthday, hopefully to solve the hauntings once and for all and prove that she is not insane. Holmes and Watson do not find a very warm welcome when they arrive at the Keep: Eve's father is convinced that it's all a product of her poet's imagination and that the holidays are supposed to be a family-only affair. The London pair are seen as interlopers. Things soon begin happening: Watson finds a bundle of birch twigs on his windowsill, a scullery maid is found dead, fallen from the same window that the mistress of the house fell from a year before. Watson is all-to-ready to believe that the strange happenings are due to the supernatural, but Holmes is not so sure. There are plenty of suspects and red herrings in this book, but readers will probably begin to realize who the culprit is soon enough. I found Eve Allerthorpe to be a bit prone to dramatics (as her father said, the girl has an imagination) and a bit too kind-hearted. We do get to see why, for all that Watson can be exasperated with him, Sherlock Holmes remains his very good friend. We also get clues on when in the canon timeline this story occurs, with Watson mentioning that it was a few months before Holmes confronts Professor Moriarty. The fussy reader obsessed with timelines and dates in me appreciated it greatly (but that's just me).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was the first novel by James Lovegrove that I have read, and it was enjoyable. He kept the flavor of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, he didn't add any un-needed details to Holmes or Watson and did not try to make them anything besides the detectives we have come to love them for being. The supporting characters were multi-dimensional (as far as they could be when they only appear to drive the mystery forward), and the mystery was one that Doyle could have thought of himself. I This was the first novel by James Lovegrove that I have read, and it was enjoyable. He kept the flavor of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, he didn't add any un-needed details to Holmes or Watson and did not try to make them anything besides the detectives we have come to love them for being. The supporting characters were multi-dimensional (as far as they could be when they only appear to drive the mystery forward), and the mystery was one that Doyle could have thought of himself. I appreciated that while in the Doyle style-it was a quicker read then the original stories (my opinion), and that bit of 'modernization' was nice. While quicker than what I find the originals, my only complaint was that it did seem to drag a bit in places-but that could just be me, or just how I was feeling during this reading of it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    3.5/5 - an excellent sherlock holmes pastiche - and two good plots - however i discovered the culprit of the attent on eve allerthorpe to make her mentally ill, and i also discovered the second culprit, the one of the murder of the scullery maid, but there i didn't know the why's -

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I found this to be an engaging and complex mystery with a slightly warmer and more human Sherlock Holmes and a more competent version of Watson. Thoughly enjoyable with an interesting cast of characters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Williams

    This was so much fun. A perfect Christmas read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    1890 - Eve Allerthorpe, the eldest daughter from a wealthy family stands to inherit a fortune when she turns 21 on Christmas eve. However there is a clause in the will that stipulates that Eve must be of sound mind to inherit. Eve arrives at 221B Baker street upset and on edge and explains to Sherlock Holmes that she is being haunted by Black Thurrick - a Crampus style demon from childhood stories. She claims to have seen him from her window, a dark face with glowing eyes, crossing the estate 1890 - Eve Allerthorpe, the eldest daughter from a wealthy family stands to inherit a fortune when she turns 21 on Christmas eve. However there is a clause in the will that stipulates that Eve must be of sound mind to inherit. Eve arrives at 221B Baker street upset and on edge and explains to Sherlock Holmes that she is being haunted by Black Thurrick - a Crampus style demon from childhood stories. She claims to have seen him from her window, a dark face with glowing eyes, crossing the estate with a sack on his back. Is she going insane? Holmes and Watson travel to Yorkshire to investigate. Is Eve really losing her grip on reality or are there darker forces at work? I've read all of the Sherlock Holmes books by James Lovegrove and they are all excellent. Thank you to Titan books for the ARC.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paperbacks

    Firstly, James Lovegrove is my go to for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, no one brings the character to life quite as wonderfully as he does in my view. It's a beautiful book too, under the dust cover the publishers have gone into great detail with an embossed cover and a wonderfully embossed spine to really give it a look of a book published much longer ago, thank you so much Titan Books for sending me a copy for review. Set, as you would expect, at Christmastime, Holmes and Watson find themselves Firstly, James Lovegrove is my go to for a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, no one brings the character to life quite as wonderfully as he does in my view. It's a beautiful book too, under the dust cover the publishers have gone into great detail with an embossed cover and a wonderfully embossed spine to really give it a look of a book published much longer ago, thank you so much Titan Books for sending me a copy for review. Set, as you would expect, at Christmastime, Holmes and Watson find themselves in Yorkshire trying to find proof that a Miss Eve Allerthorpe is being tricked into believing she is not of sound enough mind to receive an inheritance. Whilst of course the "demon" of the piece could be interpreted in many ways, the centrepiece around Eve's disquiet is the sinister Black Thurrick, a Krampus style character, straight from her childhood. Her nightmares being rekindled by curious sightings and insidious gifts. One of my favourite passages of the book comes when Holmes recounts all the different traditions like The Black Thurrick from around the world, I found this totally fascinating and somewhat macabre, but this completely ensured that the Thurricks activities seemed perfectly at home with their sinister counterparts throughout history. Fellscar Keep is our home for this story, it immediately felt eerie and too big for its few inhabitants, but also a fantastic backdrop conjuring up a feast of references for creepy castles in my mind. There was, however, also a warmth with crackling fires and a huge library to scour for clues. For me this is why the authors writing really captures my imagination, playing so well that there are two sides to everything, a light and dark which makes misdirection all the harder to spot, especially when you throw in family drama on top.  The history of the Keep itself is also a hugely fascinating chapter, dark beginnings which really are pretty intense and feed into they hysteria that is being created, this was a direction that I didn't see coming at all and it was just fantastic to read. Stories within stories, it's just perfection. There are extra points on offer to those who know their heraldry... Lovegrove injects great humour into proceedings though too and keeps on top of a large cast of characters well, proving that latterly in the story, large family gatherings being awkward and tiresome were just as much so in those times as they can be now. He is also masterful at setting a scene and creating atmosphere. The Yorkshire countryside in deepest winter, invoking the sparkle of a fresh snowfall at Christmas that we all long for, whilst also using it as a perfect backdrop to a heart stopping set piece of horror story style blinding mists and dark forests. The family members' stories intertwine wonderfully, each of them adding a little extra piece to the puzzle, and the history feeding in nicely too. His deductions are as clever as you would expect, when they are not being reduced to parlour tricks, and offer a timely reminder to sweep your attic floor. I honestly found this to be a delightful read, and any book that mentions my hometown randomly gets an extra tick in the box for its scarcity! Holmes and Watson's banter is brilliant though and I loved turning every page waiting to discover which cutting comment, sneaky sarcasm, great wit or indeed faux pas, usually by Watson, would come next. This is a fabulous addition to any bookshelf and a great alternative story for the festive season.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Swords & Spectres

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Growing up … well, when I was about 16, I remember pretending to be sick so I could stay off school and plow my way through the Complete Sherlock Holmes collection that I’d come across. That book (a few shorts aside) was the best book I’d ever picked up and it was one of my saddest days as a reader when I finished it. So, when I got an e-mail advertising Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon from Titan Books it I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Growing up … well, when I was about 16, I remember pretending to be sick so I could stay off school and plow my way through the Complete Sherlock Holmes collection that I’d come across. That book (a few shorts aside) was the best book I’d ever picked up and it was one of my saddest days as a reader when I finished it. So, when I got an e-mail advertising Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon from Titan Books it was impossible to refuse. I’ll also say that I had a bit of a mixed set of feelings about reading a Christmas novel in October, but it actually felt really good and now I’m well into the Christmas spirit. Sadly it will be a much different Christmas due to living in the modern age rather than Holmes’ time, but beggars can’t be choosers. My main concern (never having read a book by this author, much less one set in the world of my favourite consulting detective) was that it wouldn’t be any good. I imagined someone trying too hard to fill the shoes left by the death of Sir Arthur. At the very least, I assumed it would be nowhere near as good as the work by Anthony Horowitz. Thankfully, it over-performed and knocked me for six. The long and the short of the previous paragraph ‘thought it might not hit a homerun, but it went and hit two.’ The writing itself is just different enough from Conan-Doyle’s writing to not make it feel like Lovegrove is trying too hard to be the great man, but brilliant enough that it fits the characters perfectly and tells a wonderful story from start to finish (even if a couple of the deductions were a bit too shoe-horned in, but then Conan-Doyle had a habit of that as well, so I suppose it fits perfectly.) The general plot is that a young woman from a wealthy Yorkshire family comes to London at her wit’s end, claiming to be haunted by a demonic Christmas being known as ‘The Black Thurrick’. She implores Holmes and Watson to come and prove her to be of sound mind for, if she is not of sound mind, she goes without her inheritance. Holmes, spying an easy case because any sane man knows that supernatural creatures are a thing of fairy tales to scare small children, readily agrees. The overall plot is one that the reader needs to keep a vigilant eye on (much like with any Holmes plot by any good Holmes author). The plot fractures into several different paths and the shrewdest investigator might find themselves at a loss as to how to keep all the threads tied. The book provided me with hours of evening enjoyment and sucked me right into the cold, inhospitable Yorkshire countryside come 19th century Christmas and I loved every second of it. The characters, for the most part were well-fleshed out and believable. Some of them felt a bit over-exaggerated at times but it didn’t make the book feel bad in any way, shape or form. In fact, they felt over the top in the same way some of Conan-Doyle’s were. I would highly recommend this as not only Christmas read, but a read for any time of the year if you want a good Holmes and Watson tale. And that cover. Beautiful? Elegant? Both describe it well. All I can say is that it’s the kind of cover that makes me happy I own the physical copy rather than a kindle version. I hear the same author also has a Homes and Watson series set around the Cthulhu mythos and am very intrigued by that. I will have to get my hands on those books as I seriously need more Holmes and Watson in my life after the tale of The Christmas Demon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    A. Luna

    I often find myself wanting to curl up with a good book. Now that fall is slowly unfurling its child, though quite slowly in Puerto Rico, I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate book to read in the damp weather than James Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon. This story is masterful in the way it manages to conserve the authenticity of the original Sherlock Holmes novels while still giving it somewhat of a modern flair. Lovegrove’s version of Sherlock Holmes is reminiscent of I often find myself wanting to curl up with a good book. Now that fall is slowly unfurling its child, though quite slowly in Puerto Rico, I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate book to read in the damp weather than James Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon. This story is masterful in the way it manages to conserve the authenticity of the original Sherlock Holmes novels while still giving it somewhat of a modern flair. Lovegrove’s version of Sherlock Holmes is reminiscent of today’s charming and cocky counterpart. Like the one featured on Sherlock, he lacks social cues, creates social faux pas more than once, but all in all, is truly a sweetheart around those he cares about. Dr. Watson is the same hard but compassionate man with a genuine interest in helping others. In this instance of Sherlock Holmes, we’re placed right in the middle of a jolly London getting ready for Christmas. After apprehending a red-handed—and red-suited—thieving Father Nicholas, Sherlock and Watson meet a twenty-year-old woman named Eve Allethorpe. She feels that she’s on the verge of lunacy, which is not all too rare for her eccentric family. As a child, her mother would tell her tales of the Black Thurrick, a hunchbacked creature that would come after rotten children after leaving bundles of birch sticks at their homes. Now that bunches of birch twigs have started to appear around the Allerthorpe castle, she fears that her childhood monster has come back to haunt her. She decides to task Sherlock and Dr. Watson to help her solve the mystery before it’s too late. Is there really a monster hunting her? Is she bordering delusion? Either she loses her mind, or someone loses their life. The case manages to capture enough of Sherlock’s interest. Soon enough, the dynamic duo is on the hunt! Honestly, I’ve always absolutely loved the original Sherlock Holmes Series. I haven’t read all of the novels but the ones that I’ve finished, they’re absolutely fantastic. Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon does a good job of emulating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style, and Lovegrove makes sure to use a “Sunday” vocabulary which adds to the late 19th-century ambiance. It doesn’t feel time-displaced and adds to the authenticity of the story. As for the plot, it’s just convoluted enough to be entertaining while still making sense. I couldn’t pick up on any plot holes, which is always good. I genuinely couldn’t put it down. The slow burn is clearly evident: the mystery’s end is finished at an agonizingly slow pace. It makes you even more jittery, like wanting to scratch at an itch but you don’t even know where it is. The plot doesn’t give up on itself quickly which in turn makes you want to gobble up the book. I think I ended up reading 200 pages in one day! The characters are really dynamic so you get a pretty picture of them, even though there are more than five. Small details about each character are cleverly weaved within the plot itself, which makes for a pleasant, continual build-up of each character. This isn’t an easy task, but Lovegrove manages it well. The way in which the author writes also paints vivid pictures of the castle, the landscape, the fear, and the winter chill. Plus, you don’t even suspect the resolution to the mystery until the very end! If you’re a fan of the brusque detective novel and a lover of slow burns, this book is for you. You’d do good to sit down with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea and start to read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bethxdd

    So it’s mid-October, the spooky season and here I am reading a Christmas story! I am fond of Halloween but I am definitely more of a Christmas lover and this was the perfect story to get me into the festive mood. I loved everything about this enthralling tale – from the much loved crime-solving duo, to the setting, the cast of characters, the sinister Black Thurrick and the haunting of Mrs. Allerthorpe – it’s one that I’ll surely be reaching for again and again. I was fascinated by the Black So it’s mid-October, the spooky season and here I am reading a Christmas story! I am fond of Halloween but I am definitely more of a Christmas lover and this was the perfect story to get me into the festive mood. I loved everything about this enthralling tale – from the much loved crime-solving duo, to the setting, the cast of characters, the sinister Black Thurrick and the haunting of Mrs. Allerthorpe – it’s one that I’ll surely be reaching for again and again. I was fascinated by the Black Thurrick and was eagerly eating up Eve’s stories about him. The Black Thurrick is a terrifying tale told to Eve and her brother, Erasmus, at bedtime in a bid to get them to behave. To me, the Black Thurrick was pretty similar to the Grinch; described as evil, a hunched figure carrying a sack slung over its shoulder that punishes children who have behaved badly during the course of the year. The Black Thurrick is said to steal infants from their home, hence the sack. He replaces presents with clusters of birch twigs so when Eve starts discovering them placed around her family’s home, she calls upon Sherlock Holmes and John Watson to find out who is behind this sinister act. I really enjoyed the vast cast of characters and how the whole extended Allerthorpe family came to visit. It made the story very entertaining at times and added in some great festive scenes. My favourite relationship was the one Eve had with her brother. I loved how close they were – it reminded me of my relationship with my own brother and even though we see each often less often now, we are still really close and have fortunately always got on with one another, even growing up. It was very touching too see how much they cared for each other. James Lovegrove did a fantastic job with Sherlock and John – as he usually does. In some stories, I feel like John doesn’t contribute much to the story and often ends up being in the way but with The Christmas Demon he was right in the thick of it. He was always there when Sherlock needed him and he was there for characters he barely knew, namely Eve, by comforting her when she was panicking about the Black Thurrick and caring for other members of the household if they were taken ill. I loved this side of John and found a lot of his scenes to be very touching. Sherlock, of course, was his usual self and completely focused on solving the case. I loved all the interactions between Sherlock and John. A particular favourite of mine was when they are investigating the east wing which is where the ghost of Mrs. Allerthorpe supposedly resides. John voices the possibility that the residents genuinely did experience something uncanny and ends up being scolded by Sherlock for believing in the supernatural. I thought that scene was hilarious and there’s a few like it when John wonders if the Black Thurrick is not simply a scary story told to children at bedtime, but actually a real living creature. I loved how John was much more open to the possibility of supernatural entities but is constantly shot down by Sherlock who is ultimately fearless and entirely certain that the residents are being terrorised by one of their own. I was expecting The Christmas Demon to be good but I didn’t expect it to capture my attention so quickly. It was an intriguing and gripping story, filled with so many twists and turns that it rapidly evolved from simply being about one creature terrorising an innocent family, to becoming so much more. I loved seeing Sherlock gradually piece things together and explaining how he reached these conclusions. I thought the ending was very heart-warming and I can’t wait to see what James comes up with next! This is a fantastic story and one fans of the originals are sure to love. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    James Lovegrove is one of my all-time favorite Holmes pastiche writers, so no one is as surprised as me to find myself giving a Christmas-Holmes mash-up by Lovegrove an "It was okay" rating. I turn to Lovegrove's pastiches because his characterization is fairly spot-on (not perfectly, but fairly), and his tales are filled with both adventure *and* mystery (Conan Doyle did call them the ADVENTURES of Sherlock Holmes, after all). But the plot in this one was just a little too straightforward: James Lovegrove is one of my all-time favorite Holmes pastiche writers, so no one is as surprised as me to find myself giving a Christmas-Holmes mash-up by Lovegrove an "It was okay" rating. I turn to Lovegrove's pastiches because his characterization is fairly spot-on (not perfectly, but fairly), and his tales are filled with both adventure *and* mystery (Conan Doyle did call them the ADVENTURES of Sherlock Holmes, after all). But the plot in this one was just a little too straightforward: interview this person, interview that person, investigate a crime scene, and repeat until (in the final couple of chapters) the action does pick up somewhat. The bulk of the novel, however, began to drag, because I can only read so many interviews and crime scene searches without variation in the action to keep me hooked. That still would've easily been enough for three stars, though -- sometimes a slower mystery is all right, and this had the benefit of "holiday tale" and "crazy extended family" tropes to whet my interest. Alas: the characterization was also a problem. I've grown accustomed to Lovegrove writing a Holmes that is a little more callous, and a Watson that is a little more cowardly, than Conan Doyle's versions, and I'm generally okay with this (each writer has to put their own stamp on the thing, after all). But here, Holmes is mockingly dismissive of *everyone*, pretty much all the time (including *Watson*!), and either rolling his eyes or making a cutting sarcastic remark. A little of this goes a long way, and while the ending did show us "Holmes-with-a-heart," the last three pages were not enough to make up for what had come before. Watson, meanwhile, spends the book eating, sleeping, or wishing he could be doing one of those two things. (BTW, for the record: *Sherlock Holmes is not dismissive of the supernatural*. He is CAUTIOUS of it, as an explanation -- when others are ready to proclaim the culprit a ghost or demon or what have you, he responds with the need to start with the simplest explanation [that it's human culprit] before going down more unlikely paths, or that the work of the evil supernatural forces can be done just as well by more common, human hands. So he doesn't go conducting seances or consulting mediums or calling in the ghost hunters. But he does *not* roll his eyes and sarcastically insult everyone around him for being SOOOO STUPID as to consider the possibility of the supernatural, and then rant to Watson about how stupid everyone is. He's a *skeptic,* not an asshat. Portraying him otherwise drives me INSANE, pastiche writers. *Please stop doing it.* Thank you. Ahem.) The end result was a read that felt slightly "off" all the way through. I appreciated the last few chapters for picking up the action and giving us a glimpse of Holmes's heart, which kept me from finishing the book with a sour taste in my mouth -- but this one was not for me. I was hoping for a holiday Holmes story I could reread every holiday season, but this is not that. ... but that's all right. Lovegrove has written so many Holmesian adventures I've adored. A let-down every once in awhile won't change that. I eagerly await his upcoming collection of Holmes short stories later this month.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Derwin

    To say I’ve been looking forward to this for most of the summer - is something of an understatement. I adore Christmas, love horror, get an incredible kick out of Victoriana fiction, so to combine all three by none other than James Lovegrove; well, it’s a Christmas dream come true. The action literally starts with a chase, as Holmes is looking for a jewel thief, stealing pearls from a period-accurate department store. It doesn’t take long to figure out the villain is a store employee working with a To say I’ve been looking forward to this for most of the summer - is something of an understatement. I adore Christmas, love horror, get an incredible kick out of Victoriana fiction, so to combine all three by none other than James Lovegrove; well, it’s a Christmas dream come true. The action literally starts with a chase, as Holmes is looking for a jewel thief, stealing pearls from a period-accurate department store. It doesn’t take long to figure out the villain is a store employee working with a fake Father Christmas in traditional green garb, hiding pearls in his mistletoe wreath. And the historical accuracy adds to the atmosphere. Afterwards, Holmes and Watson retire to a 19th century equivalent of a coffee shop, where they have been followed by a haunted young woman. She believes her sanity, more than life, is in danger. On 5th Dec she comes of age and is due to inherit a great deal, as long as she is ‘sound of mind’ unlike her mother before her. She is in fact, terrified as if a demonic presence haunting her. This book is everything you want from a Christmas book; as Holmes steps into a late Victorian Christmas London - full of humour and detective shenanigans. Holmes fans know from films at least, that the detective likes to pick apart a puzzle and explain the reality or solution in minute details. Lovegrove approaches this idiosyncratic habit with a wry sense of humour that makes the explanations so convoluted you ride along with it. There is enough of a supernatural element to the mystery, that horror fans will enjoy it, and from its beautiful cover and interior dingbats, it simply oozes festive delight. It’s up to the reader to decide if there really is a Christmas demon, or if the explanation remains mundane. And the only way to find out is to buy and read this book immediately. It’s the perfect Christmas read and keepsake. You have to get this now. It’s elementary my dear reader.

  25. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Bunce

    Review originally published at BORG.com on December 4, 2019. Christmas Sherlock?–Holmes and Watson pursue a yuletide murder in new Lovegrove novel Review by C.J. Bunce In the Victorian holiday tradition of spending Christmas sharing tales of ghosts and other haunts, comes James Lovegrove′s latest novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon. Another excellent addition in Lovegrove’s long list of new tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero and his earnest confidante and co-conspirator in sleuthing, Review originally published at BORG.com on December 4, 2019. Christmas Sherlock?–Holmes and Watson pursue a yuletide murder in new Lovegrove novel Review by C.J. Bunce In the Victorian holiday tradition of spending Christmas sharing tales of ghosts and other haunts, comes James Lovegrove′s latest novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon. Another excellent addition in Lovegrove’s long list of new tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero and his earnest confidante and co-conspirator in sleuthing, Dr. John Watson, here readers encounter the master detective in a tale of murder and high crimes in the yuletide season. Like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, expect an ample serving of curiosity and cleverness, and perhaps a side of the supernatural. It’s 1890 and Holmes and Watson are called to Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire by one Eve Allerthorpe, the heir-apparent to a family fortune. She believes she is haunted by a Krampus-like being, the legendary Christmas demonic spirit known as the “Black Thurrick.” Holmes and Watson believe she’s being duped–the family fortune will belong to her when she turns 21 this Christmas Eve unless she is found to not be of sound mind. So who is trying to prove that she is insane? As the family and extended guests arrive for the holidays, Holmes and Watson ruffle feathers, encounter strange happenings, and investigate the wing of the house where the family matriarch died, as Watson finds himself the next target for the demon. Click here to see rest of review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Verushka

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon. I didn’t expect the strong beat of nostalgia with which I began the book because one of James Lovegrove’s talents seems to be creating the atmosphere of Holmes from Doyle’s writing — which d’uh, I know, it’s probably why his name is on the book. But here’s the thing, for me at least, it’s been some time since I’ve been back to Holmes and Watson’s world. The last book I read like that would have been by Doyle I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon. I didn’t expect the strong beat of nostalgia with which I began the book because one of James Lovegrove’s talents seems to be creating the atmosphere of Holmes from Doyle’s writing — which d’uh, I know, it’s probably why his name is on the book. But here’s the thing, for me at least, it’s been some time since I’ve been back to Holmes and Watson’s world. The last book I read like that would have been by Doyle himself, but this one, made me feel like I was back there a chapter in. Back with Holmes and Watson’s camaraderie, with the beat of their friendship that was oh so familiar and made me realise much like Kirk and Spock (Original series) I missed them so much. I missed the back and forth, and the banter and I missed how they worked together. I missed them. They worked together seamlessly as always, gaining Eve’s trust and bringing to the Allerthorpe household an outsider’s POV that highlighted their secrets and every damn issue they have hiding in plain sight — that one does not mention in polite society. There are demons to be had in this, but they are, as you would expect of the human kind, highlighting exactly the people Even surrounds herself with. I enjoyed the atmosphere Lovegrove created so much, the actual outcome of the case was incidental to everything Sherlockian that got me there. I found myself willingly lost in a Sherlock adventure I didn’t think I’d enjoy so much.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Davis

    I would consider myself a pretty avid Sherlock Holmes fan and this is a fun, quick read that was perfect for reading during Christmas break. Holmes and Watson are summoned to the North of England to help a young heiress figure out if she is being haunted by a Christmas Demon. The story grows more raveled in details and circumstances as the plot thickens with great characters and happenings around the sprawling estate. There are a few reasons I didn't give this book a 5 star rating. First, I feel I would consider myself a pretty avid Sherlock Holmes fan and this is a fun, quick read that was perfect for reading during Christmas break. Holmes and Watson are summoned to the North of England to help a young heiress figure out if she is being haunted by a Christmas Demon. The story grows more raveled in details and circumstances as the plot thickens with great characters and happenings around the sprawling estate. There are a few reasons I didn't give this book a 5 star rating. First, I feel like the author tried to use every big word that he knew to describe what was going on. I would have preferred a more in depth plot with a more limited vocabulary than the alternative. It is a quick read but at the same time smothered in big words that seem unnecessary. I was also able to guess a large percentage of the final answer with around 100 pages remaining. Holmes and Watson present the facts so well throughout that I found it easy to get to an answer. The answer was great and I didn't get it all, but I would have enjoyed it more if I had no clue when I got to the end. I would recommend this book to any and all Holmesian reader but understand that it does have a few things that needed to be overlooked in my opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Judy Hall

    Eve Allerthorpe has fled her home, thinking she is being haunted by a Yorkshire Christmas Legend. She is a sensible young woman, despite that, so she comes to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to see if they help her. If her mental health is questioned before her birthday, she will lose her inheritance so she needs to know if someone is trying to make her appear mad. With only a few days to her birthday and Christmas, Holmes and Watson agree to travel to her family home, an isolated manor on an Eve Allerthorpe has fled her home, thinking she is being haunted by a Yorkshire Christmas Legend. She is a sensible young woman, despite that, so she comes to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to see if they help her. If her mental health is questioned before her birthday, she will lose her inheritance so she needs to know if someone is trying to make her appear mad. With only a few days to her birthday and Christmas, Holmes and Watson agree to travel to her family home, an isolated manor on an island. There they meet her eccentric family and learn there are more mysteries than just the Christmas Demon. Lovegrove does a good job with the tone and the language. It fit well into the Victorian tones of Conan Doyle. The opening scene seemed a little over the top, but other than that it was very well done The Allerthorpe family is an intriguing collection of people to meet in an isolated location. It was a really good read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Andrews

    Watson and Holmes are minding their own business when Eve Allerthorpe approaches them with a problem, she is being haunted by a Christmas demon. The Black Thurrick is wrapped up in a demonic fable her mother told her growing up. It’s always been one of legend but when Eve is fast approaching her 21st birthday and a large inheritance is she merely going mad or is something more sinister at play? I received this in exchange for a an impartial review. I know I am slightly out of season but I was Watson and Holmes are minding their own business when Eve Allerthorpe approaches them with a problem, she is being haunted by a Christmas demon. The Black Thurrick is wrapped up in a demonic fable her mother told her growing up. It’s always been one of legend but when Eve is fast approaching her 21st birthday and a large inheritance is she merely going mad or is something more sinister at play? I received this in exchange for a an impartial review. I know I am slightly out of season but I was pleasantly surprised. James Lovegrove has a way of making you feel like you’re reading a modern day Arthur Conan-Doyle. Holmes and Watson still have their relationship full of quirks and quibbles and there are even references to the classics. It’s not often you get such a cohesive continuation of a classic series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Geary

    I thoroughly enjoyed this Sherlock Holmes Christmas mystery, very well done with some twists and turns not expected. Although it is set before The Hound of the Baskervilles takes place, there are many elements of this story that reminded me of Hound - the lonely moors of the Yorkshire Dales, strange goings-on that can’t be explained both inside and outside of the ancient castle known as Fellscar Keep, including an apparently supernatural being that seems to be haunting the inhabitants of the I thoroughly enjoyed this Sherlock Holmes Christmas mystery, very well done with some twists and turns not expected. Although it is set before The Hound of the Baskervilles takes place, there are many elements of this story that reminded me of Hound - the lonely moors of the Yorkshire Dales, strange goings-on that can’t be explained both inside and outside of the ancient castle known as Fellscar Keep, including an apparently supernatural being that seems to be haunting the inhabitants of the ancestral home of the Allerthorpes. True Holmes afficionados will enjoy an allusion to (explanation of?) Watson’s wandering bullet wound. It also gives a nod to the one true Sherlock Holmes Christmas story from the Canon. James Lovegrove does a fine job in capturing the spirit as well as the storytelling abilities of Arthur Conan Doyle in this pastiche.

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