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.
First of all, this is a beautiful book. There’s careful attention to detail; the naked cover and spine have a lovely period vibe. This would make a super Christmas gift for a book lover. It’s also a great read too – James Lovegrove creates a marvellous homage to the much-loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle series, featuring the practically perfect crime-solving duo of Holmes and Watson.
I had such fun reading this, and you soon know you’re in safe hands as Lovegrove recreates Doyle’s world and the snappy intellect of Holmes from the opening lines “Father Christmas! Halt right there!”. The opening scene is driven and humorous, I really enjoyed the immediacy of being hurtled into the last moments of their current mystery, when being re-united with Holmes and Watson.
At 221B Baker Street, we are introduced to the focus for this book after a plea from a young heiress to save her from a demonic Christmas spirit; our detectives are soon heading up North to solve the mystery of the mysterious Black Thurrick.
It’s a tale set in and around a strange Gothic lakeside castle in the wilds of Yorkshire, where an eclectic selection of characters provides Holmes and Watson with an unusual mystery and many conundrums to solve. Soon, a shocking murder occurs, and the investigation intensifies amid a gloomy and ominous snow-clad setting, where the lure of creatures from folklore increase both pace and atmosphere.
This was an entertaining book and Lovegrove emulates the world created by Doyle with wit, atmospheric archaic detail and intelligence. A pacey, witty, mystery adventure honouring Doyle’s creative genius in a way only good writers can. It certainly felt like Christmas had come early when I read this book – with huge thanks to Sarah & Titan Books for being my early Santa!
Book lovers request this for Christmas! What a fabulous book to open Christmas morning…