Bookish Wednesday: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon

I often find myself wanting to curl up with a good book. Now that fall is slowly unfurling its child, though quite slowly in Puerto Rico, I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate book to read in the damp weather than James Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon. This story is masterful in the way it manages to conserve the authenticity of the original Sherlock Holmes novels while still giving it somewhat of a modern flair.

Lovegrove’s version of Sherlock Holmes is reminiscent of today’s charming and cocky counterpart. Like the one featured on Sherlock, he lacks social cues, creates social faux pas more than once, but all in all, is truly a sweetheart around those he cares about. Dr. Watson is the same hard but compassionate man with a genuine interest in helping others.

In this instance of Sherlock Holmes, we’re placed right in the middle of a jolly London getting ready for Christmas. After apprehending a red-handed—and red-suited—thieving Father Nicholas, Sherlock and Watson meet a twenty-year-old woman named Eve Allethorpe. She feels that she’s on the verge of lunacy, which is not all too rare for her eccentric family. As a child, her mother would tell her tales of the Black Thurrick, a hunchbacked creature that would come after rotten children after leaving bundles of birch sticks at their homes. Now that bunches of birch twigs have started to appear around the Allerthorpe castle, she fears that her childhood monster has come back to haunt her.



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She decides to task Sherlock and Dr. Watson to help her solve the mystery before it’s too late. Is a monster really hunting her? Is she bordering delusion? Either she loses her mind, or someone loses their life. The case manages to capture enough of Sherlock’s interest. Soon enough, the dynamic duo is on the hunt!

Honestly, I’ve always absolutely loved the original Sherlock Holmes Series. I haven’t read all of the novels but the ones that I’ve finished, they’re absolutely fantastic. Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon does a good job of emulating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style, and Lovegrove makes sure to use a “Sunday” vocabulary which adds to the late 19th-century ambiance. It doesn’t feel time-displaced and adds to the authenticity of the story.

As for the plot, it’s just convoluted enough to be entertaining while still making sense. I couldn’t pick up on any plot holes, which is always good. I genuinely couldn’t put it down. The slow burn is clearly evident: the mystery’s end is finished at an agonizingly slow pace. It makes you even more jittery, like wanting to scratch at an itch but you don’t even know where it is. The plot doesn’t give up on itself quickly which in turn makes you want to gobble up the book. I think I ended up reading 200 pages in one day!

The characters are really dynamic so you get a pretty picture of them, even though there are more than five. Small details about each character are cleverly weaved within the plot itself, which makes for a pleasant, continual build-up of each character. This isn’t an easy task, but Lovegrove manages it well. The way in which the author writes also paints vivid pictures of the castle, the landscape, the fear, and the winter chill. Plus, you don’t even suspect the resolution to the mystery until the very end!

If you’re a fan of the brusque detective novel and a lover of slow burns, this book is for you. You’d do good to sit down with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea and start to read it. I highly recommend it! You can purchase it through Barnes and Noble.

Stay tuned for our interview with James Lovegrove and our giveaway for a chance to win your very own copy of Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon!