James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon was published by Titan Books in October 2019.
Information about James Lovegrove:
James Lovegrove is the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin. He was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1998 and for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2004, and also reviews fiction for the Financial Times. He is the author of Firefly: Big Damn Hero with Nancy Holder and Firefly: The Magnificent Nine, and several Sherlock Holmes novels for Titan Books. He lives in south-east England.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon:
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.
REVIEW SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CHRISTMAS DEMON BY JAMES LOVEGROVE
Are you in need of something entertaining and thrilling to read during the holidays? There's no need to look further, because James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon will be the perfect novel for you to sink into during the holidays.
Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon is one of the most captivating novels I've ever read about Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. This novel took me wholly by surprise, because I was pulled into the story from the very start by the author's gripping storytelling skills. I couldn't help but turn pages in order to find out what happens at the end and how the mysteries are solved.
This novel is a good old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes story with speculative fiction elements. It reads like a Victorian mystery story that has been aimed at modern readers who love mysteries and are captivated by sprinkles of folklore and horror. It's slightly akin to George Mann's Wychwood and Hallowdene, but is a pure-blooded Sherlock Holmes story with plenty of details.
In this novel, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited by a new client, Eve Allerthorpe, who is greatly distressed by strange happenings that seem to haunt her at Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire. She tells Holmes and Watson that she is about to inherit a large sum of money left to her by her aunt if she is "sound in mind" upon reaching the age of twenty-one. She is, however, close to losing her wits, because she believes that she is being haunted by a demonic and nightmarish Christmas spirit, the Black Thurrick, who leaves people small bundles of birch twigs tied together with a string. When Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson travel to Fellscar Keep, they notice that something strange is indeed going on and the Black Thurrick is not the only spirit haunting the Allerthorpe family. Soon, a member of the household is found dead...
As one might expect from a Sherlock Holmes story, the story flows flawlessly towards the end and becomes increasingly captivating as the mystery deepens and things are revealed to the reader. James Lovegrove creates an alluring sense of mystery and once he has the reader in his grasp, there's no letting go, until the final chapter. There's no doubt about his admiration of Sherlock Holmes stories, because he pays homage to what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has created and writes intriguingly about the iconic and famous characters and their adventures amidst the snow covered landscapes where mystery and terror abounds.
The characterisation is marvellous, because the author fluently writes about the eccentric Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick, Dr John Watson. He also manages to bring the lesser characters alive with his story, because he has the ability to create fascinating characters. For example, Mr and Mrs Trebend are well-portrayed minor characters who work for the Allenthorpes and so are Eve's brother and her cousin, because they both have their own problems to deal with.
The Allerthorpe dynasty and the source of its wealth is introduced excellently to the readers. The author writes engagingly about the Allerthorpes and the fate of Eve's mother, because the members of the great dynasty have their own dark secrets. The author's way of writing about Thaddeus Allerthorpe and his younger brother, Shadrach, pleased me, because he fluently conveyed the image of two brothers who are different yet remain bound together by their family background, wealth and heritage.
The folklore elements are handled in a captivating way. As an admirer of folklore horror and folklorish dark fiction, I was impressed by the author's way of writing about the Black Thurrick and its assumed existence, because he wrote atmospherically about it and gradually deepened the overall sense of strangeness. I enjoyed reading about the Christmas demon, the ancient Celtic mysteries and the family secrets.
Next, I'll say a few words about the Black Thurrick. This dark Christmas spirit is kind of like a bit different kind of Krampus. It punishes children who have misbehaved and it has been said to steal children from their beds so that it can eat them in its underground lair. It also leaves bound birch twigs as a sign of its visit. It was compelling for me to read about this spirit and how Eve claimed to have seen it, because the events were well-handled.
This novel has an incredibly atmospheric setting and a deeply Gothic feel to it, because the events take place in a gloomy and remote Yorkshire castle that is surrounded by snow and is built upon a lake. This remote and wintry setting acts as a perfect background for the sinister and unsettling happenings.
I find the writing and quality of the prose excellent. I was pleased to notice that the author uses old-fashioned expressions and sentences, because it adds to the atmosphere. I have to mention that I was also taken by the author's attention to details. This novel has many minor details which add depth to the story.
One of the things that immediately attracted me to this novel is its beautiful cover image. The cover design is gorgeous and fits the story. The interior design is also perfect.
James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon is a perfect blend of mystery and speculative fiction elements and should not be missed by those who love Sherlock Holmes stories. If you enjoy reading gripping stories, have a love for mysteries and appreciate details, you'll love this novel, because it has been written out of love for storytelling.