Sherlock Holmes and 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 realize that no one is beyond suspicion.
Sherlock and Watson head to a castle to help a young woman being haunted. Sherlock quickly discovers how someone is leaving the ominous twigs, but not who or why. Despite being unwelcome by most of the rest of the household, Sherlock continues his investigation as time is running out.
This latest Sherlock Holmes mystery is a bit of a slow burn. However, the characters are engaging and entertaining. I enjoyed this intriguing mystery. And it certainly kept me guessing the whole time. While part of the mystery was easy to uncover, I didn’t see the big reveal coming. I look forward to more installments from this author.