Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove


Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove


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.


My Review:

As a boy I loved reading the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes novels and watching the TV adaptations, then all of a sudden I stopped reading them. It has been many years since I last read one of the books and this Christmas I was looking for something a little different and then I found it in Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon (Titan Books) by James Lovegrove.


The year is 1890 and it is close to Christmas and everyone is looking forward to spending time with their families over the festive period including Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson but an unusual case has come to light and Holmes requests that Dr Watson journey with him to Fellscar Keep which is the family home of the Allerthorpe’s and it was Eve Allerthorpe who approached Sherlock Holmes with the ghostly goings on at the family home. Eve believes that the home is being haunted by the demonic Black Thurrick. Just to add to the mystery Eve Allerthorpe turns 21 on Christmas Eve and stands to inherit the family fortune from the late Mrs Allerthorpe. Could it be that there are some who do not want Eve to receive her inheritance?

Holmes and Watson find that they are not made welcome when they arrive and Sherlock Holmes in very wary to say the least of the ghostly goings on. It is said that the Black Thurrick is leaving bundles of birch twigs on the window ledges of Eve’s bedroom, a sign of the Black Thurrick. As the wider family gather at the Allerthorpe family home for Christmas the bitterness and the quarrels begin. A sign of jealousy towards Eve herself. Holmes and Watson begin the task of investigating the ghostly and demonic goings on in what is a terrific Christmas tale.

Fingers are point at various family members with whom some may have a real grudge and some who are just trying to deflect attention on to others. As the story unfolds there are more ghostly apparitions and even Dr Watson himself finds a bundle of birch twigs on his window ledge.

Holmes is looking for a murderer not a demon and he must solve this crime and prove there is no demon but just a murderer on the loose on the family estate but who is it?
This is just a great Christmas mystery that even the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have loved. I really like James Lovegrove’s style of writing and the characters that he brought to the mystery as well the Black Thurrick from folklore to add a bit of Christmas ghostly goings on.

384 Pages.

Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove was published by Titan Books and was published on 22nd October 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

On the cover jacket there is a quote “When friends become enemies there’s no limit to the damage they can do” and there is the real crux of this incredible novel by M.L. Rio. In If We Were Villains there is a touch of Shakespeare and may be that in no small part is due to the fact the author M.L. Rio is a Shakespearean scholar.


What a debut novel this really is. A story of how friendly rivalry among good friends can turn into something much more sinister and here it really does. Oliver Marks is studying Shakespeare at a renowned Arts Conservatory. There he is with a group of other friends but with Oliver he always has this doubt that he will be playing a ‘bit part’ in one of the others plays. There is friendly rivalry among the group. Like any group of friends there are always moments when you disagree or just fall out with each other, but then when things turn ugly something is bound to happen and it does. One of the group is found dead and no the suspicions start.

So it is that Oliver was charged and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Fast forward a decade and Oliver is released with the truth out of what really happened. And what of the remaining group, what part did they play? Each one of the characters in this dazzling murder mystery with added Shakespearean quotes throughout the story.

M.L. Rio’s plot is something so very unique and unlike anything I have read I the crime genre. It is so different is just extraordinary. A novel of revenge, and of lust with each of the characters having the sort of personalities that are destined to make an Impact on each other with the resulting scenario. As a lover of thrillers and the personalities involved I found these leading characters so intriguing and was trying to get inside their mind sets. If you mention the word Shakespeare to anyone then the reactions tend to be straight love him or hate him so it will be interesting to see how this novel goes down with the readers.

I guess the one burning question is now how does M.L. Rio follow this? Another thriller with more Shakespeare? I for one would not complain.

Thank you to Lydia Gittins for the advanced review copy of If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio is published by Titan Books and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.


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The Vinyl Detective – The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel

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The Vinyl Detective – The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel

The Vinyl Detective is back! Following on from book one (Written in Dead Wax) and for those new to this series The Vinyl Detective likes to ‘find’ long lost records on vinyl (remember those). But along the way he ends solving a crime or two and gets into some sticky situations. Now author and screenwriter Andrew Cartmel returns with The Run-Out Groove. (Titan Books).


In the second book we see The Vinyl Detective finding a rare album by the 1960’s rock band “Valerian” in a charity shop, this starts a chain of events which our intrepid ‘detective’ can solve with a little help from his friends and not forgetting the cats.

This time around he starts to look into the tragic singer and her son who disappeared and the feuding family members that have not come to terms with the singer’s death all those years ago a case not resolved never gives closure to those left behind. But someone is out to make sure that they never get to the truth as to what really happened. I really enjoyed the Vinyl Detective and his girlfriend Nevada and together they set about trying to solve the case, prepare for all sorts of shenanigans and the story is light and amusing at times and if you enjoy a pleasant detective story set to a backdrop of a maze of London streets, then this is for you. There is enough in the story with plenty of twists and turns and the odd blind alley to keep you entertained. This is really different to the usual detective stories and I found I was really hooked on the story. The settings are so well described that I felt I was almost there with them as they set about trying to solve the mystery. A wonderfully crafted Mystery.

Thank you to Lydia Gittins for the advanced review copy.

The Vinyl Detective – The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel is published by Titan Books and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.