cover image Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon

Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon

James Lovegrove. Titan, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-785658-02-0

In December 1890, Eve Allerthorpe, the 20-year-old heroine of this stellar Sherlock Holmes pastiche from Lovegrove (Sherlock Holmes: The Labyrinth of Death), travels from her family’s estate in Yorkshire, Fellscar Keep, to London, where she has the good fortune to run into Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Eve is slated to come into a substantial financial legacy on Christmas Eve, her 21st birthday, if she is of sound mind, but her sanity is in peril, as she explains to Holmes and Watson. Eve is troubled by reported sightings of a ghost resembling her late mother, who suffered from mental illness, as well as signs that a legendary monster her mother used to tell her about, the Black Thurrick, is real. Birch twigs have been left for Eve, the very item that the Black Thurrick, a dark inversion of Father Christmas, supposedly left for bad children instead of presents. In addition, Eve has glimpsed a figure outside her home resembling the description of the Black Thurrick. Holmes and Watson travel to Fellscar Keep to investigate. Canonical characterizations complement the ingenious plot. Lovegrove joins Denis Smith and Philip Purser-Hallard in the top rank of authors of traditional Holmes pastiches. (Oct.)