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Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

(The Cthulhu Casebooks #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,256 ratings  ·  302 reviews
It is the autumn of 1880, and Dr John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the vict ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Titan Books (UK) (first published November 15th 2016)
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Lena Aren't we living in a world both logic and illogic at the same time? …moreAren't we living in a world both logic and illogic at the same time? (less)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Start your review of Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows (The Cthulhu Casebooks, #1)
Michelle F
A concept to 'squee' over, even if it has been done before; even if it has been done to death and the darkness beyond.

The idea itself is just so quaint: what if the consistently logical famous detective, who relies so keenly on observation of the tangible world, were to come up against inexplicable madness and magic? The Casebook introduces Lovecraft's Elder gods and mythos to the traditional Holmes setting and atmosphere. It is good fun.

In what sounds to be a trilogy, Lovegrove spends some of t
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 com
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 thei
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

One would think that the two of my favourite authors/fictional worlds mixing would be awesome. It sounds interesting. In practice, though, not so much.

I can't pinpoint the exact things that aren't what I expected. However, I'll list a couple of those that may have ruined parts of this book for me.
Firstly, Sherlock Holmes is twenty-six and while you see tiny glimpses of the Holmes most of us love (Jeremy Brett is the only TV Sherlock Holmes, won't even listen to other suggestions), he takes a
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Amy Imogene Reads
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitelyyy not for Sherlock Holmes purists, but what a fun romp for those of us who are down for a little fanfiction. Loved it! Can’t wait for the next one. Review to come!
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.
The world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle descends into the world of HP Lovecraft.

Right up front, I should say that this story probably isn’t 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
Will Lawlor
Sherlock Holmes? Lovecraftian horror? What's not to enjoy??

Turns out a lot, actually. Which is rather upsetting because I was so excited for the concept of this book. Maybe that's more on me, going into this with a presumed notion of how the novel would play out. Here I was thinking that the Great Sherlock Holmes, in all his genius and charisma, would try his hardest to unearth mysteries and connect dots that simply weren't there, only to have the logical conclusion hit him in the face that, "No
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 p
Joe Santoro
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a
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
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
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good. I enjoyed this quite a bit.
Paul Anderson
Nay bad - does put SH on a level akin to ubermench a little as he just DEALS with the Lovecraft insanity

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

(view spoiler)
Jay Sojdelius
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 becom
Richard Howard
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
If you are going to attempt to add to or modify the Holmes canon you have to at least try to get the tone right. Horowitz has done this in his 'The House of Silk' as did Nicholas Meyer in his 'The 7% Solution'. Lovecraft was a writer of prodigious imagination but not much literary ability but, again, if you want to work with the Cthulhu mythos it is not enough to throw 'fhtagn' around. Holmes is always serious. Lovecraft is often ridiculous but is never silly. This mash-up fails on every level: ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pr ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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 Doyle’s classic canon and literary characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson with the Cthulu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft.

The Sha
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 b
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 secon ...more
This book was really pretty fun. I only gave it 4 stars, but not for any specific reason. More because while I really enjoyed it, and will look forward to the next two books, I just wasn't feeling that indefinable something that pushes it over the top. Now, please hear me, this a great book. I liked the characterization of Holmes and Watson. I liked the way the mythos was introduced. The plot moved at a good pace, and kept my interest throughout. Really, I wouldn't be overly surprised to read th ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book is exactly what it purports to be: Holmes and Watson investigate murders involving Lovecraftian magic. If that seems interesting, you will like this. My only real complaint is that the author decided instead of just ignoring Sherlock canon, they make Watson tell us over and over again how what he wrote in the first books wasn't *really* what happened. It took me out of the story every time, but didn't ruin this book for me. ...more
Laura Ruetz
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
John Tankersley
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. The author uses Arthur Conan Doyle’s language and makes this volume feel as though it belongs in that world. The Lovecraft elements are well woven into the story and are detailed quite well. The author also acknowledges the unappealing elements of HP Lovecraft in a respectful way. If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan who loves Cthulhu stories, this one is for you.
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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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