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Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
By James Lovegrove

Titan Books
22 October 2019/ ISBN 9781785658020
Mystery/Historical -- Holiday: Christmas

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 

UK AMAZON

London 1890: After foiling a fake department store Santa with “taking ways”, Holmes and Watson repair to a tea shop. They are approached by a young woman in a state of distress who proceeds to tell a surprising tale. Eve Allerthorpe comes from a wealthy family who live in a gothic pile called Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire. Since childhood she and her brother have heard tales of the terrible Black Thurrick, a local spirit who haunts the area around Christmas. The creature leaves bundles of birch twigs for naughty children before carrying them off to his lair This is surely just a legend, but now Eve insists that she has not only received twigs but has actually seen the being herself. She is soon set to inherit a large sum of money, so could it be that somebody is trying to drive her mad?

This one has all the ingredients of not only a good Holmes story but also a good Christmas one. Namely, a seasonal setting, a house party in a spooky isolated mansion, a creepy legend coming to life, sinister secrets and several hauntings. I confess to being a keen reader of these “pastiches” and found this to be one of the best to date. Not only does it hit the ground running with the pair in pursuit of the bogus Santa, but it features all of the above and more, filling the pages with ghostly and murderous happenings. There are plenty of suspects among the eccentric Allerthorpes, something new occurs on almost every page and it all ties up neatly in the end, like a good Christmas present. The author has got down Watson’s narration style well, and his Holmes rings true. If we can’t have Conan Doyle back adding to the original canon, at least we can still enjoy a good book like this one. More please!

Reviews of other titles by this author

The Sign of Seven - Anthology
The Labyrinth of Death (Sherlock Holmes) - James Lovegrove

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and www.craftsuprint.com/rachel-a-hyde/
Reviewed 2019
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