There is no better time of year to set a ghost story than at Christmas. The nights are long and dark. The death of the year looms over us. With the crackle of the logs burning in the fire place (or as in my case, a 10 hour long YouTube video of Christmas ambience being cast on to the TV screen in my living room) it is the perfect time to slip under a blanket and read a gothic Victorian tale.
A gothic Victorian is tale exactly what you will find in the pages of Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon. James Lovegrove takes the beloved Holmes and Watson and gives them a devilishly difficult puzzle. It all begins when they meet the lovely Eve Allerthorpe. After she tells them her story it becomes clear that the young woman has an enigma on her hands. It is with the mention of Black Thurrick, a Christmas demon from English folk lore very similar in description to the infamous Krampus, Holmes becomes enthralled. It is not long before the detective and his doctor chum are on the way to Fellscar Keep in Yorkshire to get to the bottom of whatever is going on. Is it the Black Thurrick tormenting the castle’s residents or is there a more to this mystery than there seems to be?
This book is excellently written. I was completely absorbed in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The little bits of Victorian life that were place in the book gave this novel the feel of a real gothic classic. There were times that I lost track of how long I’d been reading because I really wanted to solve the mystery. Holmes and Watson were brilliantly reincarnated and anyone who is a fan of the original tales by Arthur Conan Doyle will enjoy reading the story of the Christmas demon. Furthermore, as someone who loves the Jeremy Brett TV series version of Sherlock Holmes and the Benedict Cumberbatch one, I was very satisfied with both the perfect combination of wit and arrogance that Lovegrove gave his detective. My only gripe, and it is a small one, is that for some reason every time I read the parts that had been written in the Yorkshire dialect I cringed a little. Perhaps it is just me (and it very likely is) but for some reason I kept hearing it spoken in the voice of Harry Enfield.
I would highly recommend reading this over the winter. It is currently sitting proudly on my shelf next to my copy of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The cover is gorgeous for those of you who love a pretty book. I love the end papers too.
Curl up with a copy of it and a hot chocolate. Put the fireplace on the telly and join Holmes and Watson in solving the mystery of the Christmas Demon.
Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon is published by Titan Books. Click here to go to the site to get yourself a copy.