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Doctor Who: Devil in the Smoke
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Doctor Who: Devil in the Smoke (Doctor Who E-Books)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  423 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Madame Vastra, the fabled Lizard Woman of Paternoster Row, knew death in many shapes and forms. But perhaps one of the most bizarre of these was death by snow...

On a cold day in December, two young boys, tired of sweeping snow from the workhouse yard, decide to build a snowman – and are confronted with a strange and grisly mystery. In horrified fascination, they watch as t
Kindle Edition, 67 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by BBC Digital
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3rd out of 4 books — 7 voters
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Community Reviews

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An adventure with the Great Detective!...

No, no that one...


While this is a short story set in the fictional universe of Doctor Who, none of his regenerations participated in the story, not as a cameo or even mentioned.

The Paternoster Gang:

Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax


Victorian London (19th Century)


The Paternoster Gang is an assembled team of private detectives, appearing for the first time in the TV episode, "A Good Man Goes to War" (Season 6 of the New Seri
Dan 1.0
When two boys find a body inside their snowman, unwittingly uncovering a fiendish plot, they run for their lives. One of them, Harry, has the fortune to encounter Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax, the Paternoster Gang. Can The Great Detective and her cohorts uncover the mystery of how the woman ended up inside the snowman and who killed her?

This short story features three of my favorite Doctor Who supporting cast members, Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, in an adventure in Victorian London.
I enjoyed this much more than the Melody Malone e-book. It was great fun to read about the Sontara, the Silurian and the human running around 19th century London solving murders. The book was told from the perspective of one of the boys in a workhouse who discovered a corpse. The only problem with this was it seemed to leave out any possibilities of romance between Vastra and Jenny. When Vastra is proclaiming her love and they are referring to each other as "dearest" and "darling" in their 3 min ...more
This short e-book is similar to The Angel's Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery in that it's a short book which serves as a prequel to an episode and doesn't feature the Doctor himself. This one is a prequel to this year's Christmas Special, The Snowmen, and sees Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax go up against a mysterious smoke monster.

The trio work brilliantly as a little gang and though the plot of this isn't particularly exciting it's an enjoyable read. The highlights are the many brilliant lines fro
I've been longing for more of Madam Vastra's adventures, so to have the full Paternoster Row gang of Vastra, Jenny and Strax the Sontaran together is a real treat. This is a quick and enjoyable read that appeals to a wide range of Doctor Who fans but is ultimately aimed at older children. It may be that this is the reason that it lacks some character depth, with the unique nature of Madam Vastra and Jenny's relationship missing from the story and Strax somewhat reduced to a bumbling fool. I thin ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
When I first saw Vastra and her "maid" Jenny in A Good Man Goes to War I instantly wanted more of their adventures. Who wouldn't want to read or watch more about a Silurian being a detective in Victorian England? Crazy people is who. This was awesome and fun. Smoke monster whose weakness is snow. So Christmasy and Dickensian but with an even more supernatural twist than Dickens ever wrote. I can't wait for the Christmas special in a day and this really got me in the mood. Only downer? That littl ...more
3.5 Stars. Released as a prequel to the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special "The Snowmen" (a personal favorite), Devil in the Smoke explores the presence and activities of "The Great Intelligence" in Victorian London prior to events that introduced a depressed, embittered Doctor to a governess named Clara, also known as the impossible girl. While the Doctor doesn't feature in this short tale, it is nonetheless one of the stronger Who novellas I've read, thanks in no small part to its focus on the ...more
David Monroe
This is a short novella featuring Madame Vastra (AKA: The Great Detective), Jenny Flint and Strax (AKA: The Turkish Fellow & The Psychotic Potato Dwarf). Together they fight crime in late Victorian London. The public know them as The Paternoster Gang.

Don't get your hopes up that this will give any insight into the Jenny/Vastra relationship or how Strax came back to life or how Vastra became "The Great Detective". It gives about as much character insight or back-story as an episode of Law an
Wayne McCoy
A novella that acts as a prequel to the most recent Doctor Who Christmas special 'The Snowmen.' This novel features Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, but is notably missing the Doctor. Set in Victorian England, Madame Vastra is referred to as the Great Detective. Her lizard-like appearance means she wears a veil most of the time.

A couple of young boys build a snowman and discover a dead woman in it. They are chased and one of the boys, Harry, is rescued by Strax, a stocky alien with a mind set on
Sean O'Reilly
This book is more Doctor Where than Doctor Who. Perhaps the book description should have alerted me as it doesn't actually mention Doctor Who himself but his name in the book title had led me to expect that he would make an appearance at some point.

Aside from the lack of the eponymous hero this was a decent little novella. Strax provided his customary comic relief and it was interesting to see the development of Vastra's Great Detective persona. The story moved along at a decent pace as would be
This was a pretty fun story. More than anything, it's further proof that a Doctor Who spin-off starring the Paternoster Gang needs to have been greenlit ages ago. This is true even though most of the focus is on some new orphan boy, rather than the people on the cover. I might have given this 4 stars but the author seems to have gone out of their way to diminish the relationship between Jenny and Vastra to the point that they are never referred to as more than 'friends' even in chapters where ou ...more
Jackie B!
A great story about Madam Vastra, Strax, and Jenny. I always enjoy seeing these three in Doctor Who episodes and it's great to read a story all their own. A nice Sherlockesque story of mystery and action.
A fun quick read. I enjoyed the chance to spend a little time with Madam Vastra and Jenny, even if it was a bit light on substance.
This was a cute story for fans of the Paternoster Gang (they really do need their own spin off!), but very short.
It's... yeah. It's OK. It's a pretty decent Paternoster Row Gang adventure, really. Pretty consistent with the same in the television series. Strax's... Sontaran-ness... is probably more than a little overused, but somehow manages to be funny most of the time anyway. Vastra is brilliant, Jenny is excellently capable, adorable, and sarcastic. Etc., etc.

At the same time, though, it's faintly disappointing in some ways. The titular antagonist is remarkably underdeveloped, to the point that I still
Whohoo! Я наконец добралась до Докторских аудиокнижек, и за это стоит винить Торчвуд, который я, по иронии судьбы, увидела раньше Доктора, и благодарить Элизабет Слейден, которая показала мне, что творится с whoniverse в аудиоформате.

Devil in the Smoke материализовалась в моем плеере ровно тогда, когда нужно – сразу после просмотра рождественской серии Доктора с участием Вастры, Дженни, Стракса и девочки с суфле. Кроме разочарования, серия мало чего добавила к общему впечатлению от эры Одиннадца
Theta Sigma
This is the second in the latest range of e-novellas by BBC Books which serve as loose prequels to specific episodes of "Doctor Who" - in the case of this novella, the latest Christmas Special "The Snowmen".

Like the previous novella in this range, "The Angel's Kiss", The Doctor himself doesn't feature and the focus falls on notable characters in the current version of the Who universe with the main characters being Madame Vastra, her housemaid/wife Jenny Flint and their faithful servant/heavy St
Heather Martin
This is a semi tie-in to Doctor Who, but really, this novella has no Doctor or companions. It is solely Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. I do believe it is meant to be a bit of a tie-in to the recent Christmas story, The Snowmen, which also features the aforementioned characters.

It's a short book, and moves somewhat fast paced for its length. There are a handful if typos that maybe snuck in because this was published as an ebook rather than a print book. I get the feeling it was written a littl
Entertaining diversion, with a good story that is well written by the ever-reliable Richards. Due to its length I'm guessing, the story is short on characterization for Vastra and Jenny. We do have allot of silly Strax humor as per the show. I was hoping for a less humor, but Strax is as foolish here as in the series. The ending in the Crystal Palace is a little drawn out and once again only teases us with the warrior side of Vastra.
Keiran Thegreat
A short story featuring characters from the BBC television programme Doctor Who.

Can the Silurian detective and her friends solve a fiendish winter murder mystery?

Fast paced and exciting this story works well as a narrated audio book. The plot is great for the length of the story (although I suspect it would have not sustain itself if expanded to a full length novel). All in all an excellent audio adventure.
This is very short. If I'd read it as fan fiction, I would have rated this higher but as published Who fic, I felt that the plot resolution was hurried and unsatisfying. Characterisation was good and I really did enjoy reading about Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax.
Shannon Appelcline
Devil in the Smoke. Richards does a great job of capturing the voice of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax (especially Strax!) and presents a fun Victorian adventure. It drags a bit at the end, but still feels very much a part of the series [7/10].
Jo Bennie
Dec 02, 2014 Jo Bennie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: r, d
Victorian London, its snowing and two boys are futilely sweeping snow from the workhouse yard. They give up and build a snowman, but then it begins to bleed. They flee and one runs into the arms of a strange troll like man who takes him to meet Madame Vastra, the fabled Lizard Woman of Paternoster Row.

But these monsters are the good guys and in fact it is one of the great and good of Victorian society that is bringing death to the streets. As in all great Dr Who adventures there is alien involv
This book is nearly UNREADABLE. It feels as if the author thought "It's the 1800's. I'm supposed to use big words," then got out his thesauras and changed every 3rd word to the biggest one he could find. It's also written in a weird sort of narration, sort of like Pushing Daisies or something - very self-aware and clever. Only he doesn't pull it off. At all. He takes way longer to say things than is AT ALL necessary.

The plot doesn't add anything to the doctor who christmas special, either. I wa
Riki Solanen
This was a fun, quick little read. Doesn't have the Dr in it, but the humor is absolutely wonderful! It's written very well too, in older more formal language, as befits a Sherlock Holmes mystery say.
A nice little read, based on the Madame Vastra adventures - I wasn't sure if I'd like it without the Doctor in it but was fun!
Feb 27, 2013 Mimi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Whovians
3.5 stars

This is a cute detective tale for the Doctor Who fan, particularly the Doctor Who fan who watched the 2012 Christmas Episode, "The Snowman." The point of this story was not to provide greater insight into Madame Vastra's relationship with Jenny or how she became the "Great Detective" nor to discover more about Strax's arrival in Victorian England. It is simply a fun mystery with some currently popular Whovian characters involved. It is also an ominous prelude to the possible power of Sn
Anthony Evans
A well written short that allows us the writer to indulge in even more Strax related wit.
Solid short story with Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax.
Lesley Arrowsmith
This was fun - true to the characters we've seen before - Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, and a good juvenile adventure for poor Harry from the workhouse.
It did make me feel better about my humble writing efforts, though. After all, this was professionally produced by Random House for the BBC, and there were still a few spelling mistakes and continuity errors in it. For instance, was Harry sitting at a polished table, or one with a tablecloth? It's both within a couple of pages.
This didn't detra
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Justin Richards is a British writer. He has written many spin off novels based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, and he is Creative Director for the BBC Books range. He has also written for television, contributing to Five's soap opera Family Affairs. He is also the author of a series of crime novels for children about the Invisible Detective, and novels for older children. ...more
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“He ain’t my friend,’ Harry said. ‘Not no more, he ain’t.’
Strax leaned across to Jenny. ‘At what age do these cubs become grammatical?’ he demanded.
‘Depends,’ she told him. ‘At what age do Sontarans become pacifists?”
“Madame Vastra and the others made their return to Paternoster Row by a circumspect route. Strax in particular was keen to intercept any individual he suspected might be following and forcibly remove a variety of their limbs and appendages. But Jenny prevailed upon him that most of the people he singled out were merely walking past. Given the lateness of the hour there were, thankfully, not many.
‘What about him?’ Strax said, pointing to a figure shambling slowly along on the opposite pavement.
‘That old lady is selling lucky heather, and she’s heading in a different direction so she’s unlikely to be following us.’
‘She could be bluffing. And who is this Lucky Heather anyway?’
‘It’s heather – it’s a plant not a person. It’s supposed to be lucky.’
‘Not if I catch her, it won’t be.’
‘Strax,’ Vastra said simply. ‘No.”
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