Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon is a pastiche novel by James Lovegrove. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are visited by a lovely heiress who has been experiencing manifestations of a legendary demon known as the Black Thurrick who supposedly menaces the countryside where her family resides during the Christmas holiday. This nocturnal menace leaves little bundles of twigs as a sign of its presence in the area. The Allerthorpe family has had some recent tragedies with the matriarch throwing herself out a tower window . Young Eve Allerthorpe stands to inherit a nice little financial primogeniture, but one of the conditions is that she keep her sanity. Although Holmes doubts that an actual supernatural being is the culprit, he does suspect some foul deeds are indeed being committed.
Holmes and Watson trek out to the family estate where they meet an eclectic group of family members who have many other secrets and dark motives to untangle. Just to make matters even more interesting, the scullery maid is killed quite dramatically. I suppose there is not really an undramatic way to commit murder, but there you have it…
So I read and review a lot of Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and I wish I could come up with a more original criticism or something else I have not noticed before in these publications better, however Lovegrove lets me down here on that score. Once again, he is a competent writer and does not really deliver anything all that terrible, but we Sherlock Holmes pastiche readers keep seeing this tendency to have Holmes constantly having to debunk these supernatural shenanigans. There is also almost always some wealthy family with some kind of legendary curse in the background. The patriarch is some gruff rich dude who does not appreciate the presence of Holmes and Watson and then is later shown the error of his ways. There is once again some damsel in distress. The plot is rife with cliched, overused elements. Even if Lovegrove still manages to make the cliches somewhat entertaining, there are still merely cliches.
Next up is a return to the twenty-third century as the crew of the USS Enterprise engage in A Contest Of Principles by Greg Cox.