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Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

(The Cthulhu Casebooks #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,342 ratings  ·  179 reviews
In the stews of Londons East End, an outbreak of insanity sees ordinary men and women reduced to gibbering, incoherent wrecks; a mysterious creeping fog hides terrifying apparitions within that rob the wits of all who see them and even inspire suicide.

Sherlock Holmes, in the infancy of his detecting career, deduces a connection between these sinister shadows and an
ebook, 352 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Titan Books
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May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Holmes and Watson in the world of Lovecraft's supernatural Mythos. Fun but very lightweight and doesn't add anything to either body of source material.

In terms of length, it is shorter than it looks, as the paper is expended generously. Also there is a lot of exposition of both the Holmes and Cthulhu background, which is skimmable if you've already read both authors.

Only read it in a non-demanding mood and don't expect accurate period dialogue.
There are humorous moments but it isn't overall
How, oh how, am I supposed to resist a book that offers me a mash-up of two of my favorite fictional universes? I am not ashamed to be one of those people that looses all sense and reason when the words "Cthulhu" or "Sherlock Holmes" are uttered, so when they both are on the cover of the same book, well, all I can do is grab a copy and take it home.

Now the issue with H.P. Lovecraft and Conan Doyle pastiches is that everybody and their dog wrote one. The two canons are religiously beloved by
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a jolly little romp and although the style, for the most part, is authentic, the subject matter is certainly not.

There are rather too many occasions where Watty needs to explain how and why Sherl has launched himself a considerable distance from reason, and why he has contradicted earlier (and original) explanations. But... a good read all round!
The Irregular Reader
Exactly what you would expect from a Sherlock Holmes-lovecraftian mashup. I, personally, could have used more Sherlockian deductive wizardry to balance out the Cthulhu mythos, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Joe Santoro
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I saw this at the book store (yes, a real, brick and mortar store... thank you Amherst Books!), I was just too curious to pass it up. I've read quite a few Holmes stories where he's pitted against some other Victorian era hero or villain, but most of them time they make some sense.

Taking the master of logic and deduction, and mixing in Lovecraft? How could that possibly work?

Somehow, it does. I loved how Lovegrove homages the time with his prologue of 'I'm a distant relative of Lovecraft
The world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle descends into the world of HP Lovecraft.

Right up front, I should say that this story probably isnt for everyone. Watson states that all of the canon stories have been falsified. We are not talking of his discrete changing of names and places, nor of his placing his stories in misleading dates. This is flat out saying that the stories were made up and that the truth was too horrible for him to present to his readers.

We discover that Watson encountered Cthulhu
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing, if apocryphal, riff on Holmes and Watson with a hard dash of Lovecraft. Although it's a bit long in the lead-up and a bit predictable in the denouement, it turns into one of the most engrossing Holmes novels I've read in a long, long time. Lovegrove has a keen ear for the particular voices of the necessary bits (the members of the Yard, Moriarty, etc etc) and I found that his Holmes most matched the Basil Rathbone one who'll forever be 'my' Holmes. His Watson, blessedly, is a bit ...more
It's very fair to say that I had some initial misgivings over this book - due mainly to the mash-up involved, but its fair to say that it won me round, the penny finally dropping just over half way through as I came to terms with this interpretation of Lovecraft's Mythos (I can't comment on how it stacks up as a Holmes homage).
And ultimately it is fun. Basically a read along version of one of Chaosium's Cthulhu By Gaslight scenarios, with a passing nod to Sax Rohmer, its a very pleasant way to
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable read. 

I have a massive weak for anything Sherlock Holmes, and The Husband loves his Lovecraft... so it only made sense for him to give this to me for my birthday. Lovegrove obviously did his research very well (which is clear from the many references in this book) and did a decent job in recreating both 'universes'. I'm not a Lovecraft expert myself (having read only 2 of his stories), but I was able to pick up on quite a lot. The main characters felt a bit off (Watson
Great first and last lines.* The pages turned. GREAT bus book. There were passages I marked to read aloud to my husband.

But it was more ephemeral than eldritch. It did not strike to the little deeper level I expect from my Cthulhu fan fiction. It scratches the itch The Laundry Files, The Study in Emerald, and Carter and Lovecraft gave me while those pages turned. But not after.

The IDEA is magnificent. Sherlock Holmes, the exemplar of Victorian Rationality and Cross Referencing comes up against
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Unique and interesting, but at times I found my attention waining. Maybe because it was an audio version rather than reading it myself, but there were parts of this I had trouble staying focused on, other parts had me on the edge of my seat. I've gotten so used to Watson as he is portrayed in television, I wasn't as keen to see him always the one being saved rather than the one who does any of the saving. Its been so long since I've read Doyle's original work that I'd forgotten this portrayal ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I love H.P. Lovecraft and I love Sherlock Holmes. This novel is a mix of these, so I thought "Why the hell not?".
This isn't a bad novel by any means, it's well written by someone who nows the original material very well. And yet, it somehow falls short. This simply felt like a Lovecraftian tale where the main characters happend to be Holmes and Watson. The whole is not greater than sum of the parts.

Another thing I didn't praticularly like. There's a (probably necessary) trick the author uses (a

The first of a trilogy that is a mash-up between Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu mythology.

(view spoiler)
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave this two stars, but it was so much fun, so in love with its source material, and so attention-holding, that that last one stays on. The knowledge of and respect for each canon in particular earned it, I think. That opinion may change.

That being said, calling out HP Lovecraft's racism in the fictionalized author foreword doesn't absolve Lovegrove of then going on to indulge in several of the same racist tropes (particularly that of hidden secrets being the domain of foreign, more
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek, always worth!


I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows is the first in a new trilogy of books by author James Lovegrove merging together Sir Arthur Conan Doyles classic canon and literary characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson with the Cthulu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft.

Jay Sojdelius
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
On paper, it seems the combination of Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos should be a perfect match. I certainly had high hopes for this series, being a fan of both Victorian mystery fiction and the Lovecraftian brand of vintage horror.

Indeed, I was initially encouraged by the stylistic qualities of this book. The language is perhaps a bit heavy-footed and ornate, but it does possess a certain eloquence and old-fashioned charm that evokes the spirit of Sherlock Holmes.

However, it soon
Bruce Hatton
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-crime
This is a book I picked up quite by chance at my local library. Although a bit different from what I normally read nowadays, it does combine two favourite series from my early reading years: the Sherlock Holmes books of Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cthulhu Mythos horror stories of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Two series which have been considerably expanded by other authors following the deaths of their respective authors although, to my knowledge, never before combined.
I'd not heard of the author
Baal Of
Here's another book that is making me question my discernment. As I read this book I enjoyed it. It's relatively light, and it does a pretty good job of blending the two worlds, and even reads reasonably well like any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, at least to my memory. Perhaps if I did a side by side comparison, I might find that impression wrong. in any case, when I finished, I bought the next book in the series, first because the Kindle makes it really fucking easy to do, and ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 250-up-to-date
Had to finish the book prior to library reclaiming it, therefore accelerated my reading, but the last part of the book very addictive and I wanted to keep reading on. An excellent adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story, it is very different and a supernatural theme compared to ordinary plain mysteries. Very appropriate for this time of year. I bought into this fully and really enjoyed them. Can't wait for book 2 and 3 when published. ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 ...more
Laura Ruetz
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and of H.P Lovecraft and I love the recent blending of these two. This is a well written novel of some of the cases that Watson had left out of his writing when detailing his cases with Sherlock. Sherlock and Watson find themselves investigating a series of deaths that leads them to the trail of the Old Gods. The author has presented the best of both worlds here. Absolutely loved this and can't wait to read the other two.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was creative and a fun read (for me, at least. It is a little dark and I wouldn't categorize it as a general 'fun' or say beach read). I really liked how the whole book was set up with Watson chronicling in his 'lost journals'. I want to read the other two volumes.
Oct 30, 2019 marked it as dnf
Sometimes I think I should read more by white heterosexual men and then I do and I remember why I'm very picky about those...
Maggi LeDuc
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I devoured this book in a little more than a day and am already telling myself that I can't go out and get the sequel yet! I need to pace myself!
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars. Good classic Sherlock Holmes novel. Would have given it five, but it took a little while to build up and actually develop, which, in my opinion, made the book a little unnecessarily slow.
Paul Hasbrouck
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
One of best Sherlock Holmes pastiches I have ever read.
Tim Elliott
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sherlock Holmes meets Cthulu , a nerds dreams are answered in a really great way . James Lovegrove writes in a similar style that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle . I don't know if that was a happy accident or planned but either way it was a nice touch .
The story is the retelling of the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson , fresh from his service in Afghanistan. Unbeknownst to the readers , at the beginning of the story, the good doctor has had a brush with the sinister occupants of HP
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The intro was unnecessarily meta and then it was a fun little mashup that made 1+1=3, although the story wasn't super strong. Trilogy teasing is pretty well done though.

The Watson in Afghanistan chapter was surprisingly good, and captured the feel of certain older stories well and even contemporary factual pieces like Places In Between for flavor.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was a pleasant surprise.

I must admit that, at first, I was rather skeptical. Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes was a character I first read when I was little, and have reread many times since. Lovecrafts Cthulhu is a staple reread for Halloween and indeed through the year. So a combination of the two was, to put it mildly, a little off-putting, too bizarre to be credible.

Nevertheless, determined to avoid my own prejudices, I started to read. I was soon sucked in and kept those pages
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, fantasy, holmes
I kind of can't get over how wonderful this was.

I'm a massive fan of James Lovegrove's pastiches, and when I found out he was writing a trilogy of books mashing up Sherlock Holmes with the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, I was kind of beside myself with excitement. I had never read any of Lovecraft's books, but I knew they were stories of supernatural horror -- and the idea of throwing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into this world sounded like a series written specifically for me. I like heightened
Adrian Middleton
Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows starts strongly and with some well constructed prose that presents us with a slightly different version of Messrs Holmes and Watson that that seen in the original canon.
Taking us from their original meeting through their very earliest adventure, Lovegrove presents us with a mystery too terrible to be told at the time, revealing exactly why Dr Watson was invalided out of Afghanistan and why we never heard of any of Holmes' more supernatural cases.
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James Lovegrove is the author of several acclaimed novels and books for children.

James was born on Christmas Eve 1965 and, having dabbled in writing at school, first took to it seriously while at university. A short story of his won a college competition. The prize was £15, and it had cost £18 to get the story professionally typed. This taught him a hard but necessary lesson in the harsh economic

Other books in the series

The Cthulhu Casebooks (3 books)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities (The Cthulhu Casebooks, #2)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils (The Cthulhu Casebooks #3)

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