Bonnie MacBird

The Devil’s Due

"...none have come close to capturing the atmosphere of Conan Doyle’s original works as these books."


London, 1890. A freezing November.

As anarchists terrorize the city, a series of gruesome murders strikes deeper into its heart. Leading philanthropists are being slaughtered in alphabetical order, all members of a secret club, the Luminarians. And with each victim, a loved one mysteriously dies as well.

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson embark on a race to stop this self-styled 'Lucifer' whose motives are mysterious but whose methods are increasingly diabolical. Hampered by a new head of Scotland Yard and a vengeful journalist and distracted by a beautiful socialite with her own agenda, they attempt to close in on the killer.

As the murders continue, the letter 'H' climbs closer to the top of the list – and then Mycroft Holmes disappears. Must Sherlock Holmes himself cross to the dark side to take down this devil? Even John Watson, the man who knows him best, can only watch and wonder.

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Every crime fiction fan knows of Sherlock Holmes; his powers of deduction, his dogged determination and his ability to read people and situations easily. One of the greatest crime writers of all time created a figure synonymous with London who forever will live on in film and TV adaptations and further books written by writers around the world. 'The Devil's Due' is Bonnie MacBird's third Sherlock novel and she writes with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the forefront of her mind as her style mirrors his. Her literary technique flows perfectly as she gets inside the head of narrator John Watson to see the great man through his eyes. The problem with writing a character like Sherlock Holmes is that he can take on the role of a comic book superhero as he dashes around London solving crimes the police can't and seemingly able to spot a murderer at a hundred paces. He can become almost a pastiche and it takes a confident writer to keep Sherlock grounded. While Conan Doyle was the master at this, MacBird doesn't always achieve it with Sherlock getting beaten up, having his wrist painfully broken and suffering first degree burns within a couple of days, yet still be able to confront the killer at the end with a body full of morphine and cocaine. The plot surrounded philanthropes being murdered in alphabetical order has all the hallmarks of Agatha Christie's delightfully original 'The ABC Murders' and it was difficult to get the famous Poirot story out of my mind when reading this, but the darkness of the murders, the twist and turns of the labyrinthine plot make this a far cry from the world of Christie, and while MacBird doesn't detail the gruesome murders to give the reader nightmares, she is certainly adept at writing a chilling crime scene. I have read other books featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson written by other writers, and none have come close to capturing the atmosphere of Conan Doyle's original works. MacBird could have been looking over Sir Arthur's shoulder and watching him work, she's that close. With a fourth book scheduled for release next year, I hope this is a series that can delight readers with new adventures for everyone's favourite crime fighting duo.

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