Book Review: The Devil’s Grin by Annelie Wendeberg


Read between: 2nd-4th February 2016
Number of pages: n/a
Format: ebook

Review: I received this book from the author for free after signing up to her mailing list, the reason it peaked my interest? It’s a Victorian crime thriller involving Sherlock Holmes, I think there was no doubt I was going to read it! A pastiche- with a twist! Holmes is in fact the secondary protagonist to Anna Kronberg, a German woman with a medical degree who lives a double life as a man, Dr Anton Kronberg. An interesting premise if you think about difficult it was for women to pursue careers in a male dominated society.

Anna and Sherlock first meet when a cholera victim is washed up in a water plant on the edge of the Thames- but all is not as it seems, could he have fact been murdered after contracting cholera? Did the disease actually play a part in his death? Of course, that’s the reason Holmes is there and he sees through Anna’s male disguise instantly, a disguise she’s gotten away with for some years! I’m so surprised no-one else noticed, after all, she lacks an Adam’s apple and has very feminine features. Perhaps every other man is just and idiot.

There were some unecessary moments included in the story, that didn’t really need to be there, the first was a sex scene between Anna and her vagrant of a lover- it was a little bit confusing as to why it was there, apart from demonstrating that she was actually a woman and not a man…. the other was when, during the climax of the book, she decides to throw her arms around the great detective….and kiss him. Eh. Unlike Laurie. R. King’s novels, where the female protagonist manages to capture Sherlock’s heart- so the kisses seem less forced, I didn’t like it in this book. It was very obvious how Anna felt about him, I knew she would end up falling in love with him….the story was swinging that way but I preferred to read about the case! The case involved a mix of crime, and medical science and I felt I was learning more about diseases and medicine as I read.

It’s hard to put the story into words without spoiling yet, I mean yes, Anna does demonstrate some elements of the Mary-Sue character but she is also very clever and an expert in her field, so I can’t fault that. It had its flaws, I admit this book wasn’t perfect but it was written well. I had some apprehension to begin with, but happily, Sherlock Holmes wasn’t ruined- so yay! It would have been nice to see more of Doctor Watson, but hey, that’s just me being picky.

I must have enjoyed this book as I flew through it, especially the ebook version, it was easy to read and I am definitely interested in reading the rest of the series, the preview of book two at the end introduces the reader to one Professor James Moriarty!!!!

4/5 stars.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised and I would definitely recommend it, especially to those who like strong female characters and/or Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Try it and see!
Let me know if you’ve read this book or if you’re thinking of reading it- or just your opinion in general, I love discussing books with other people.
Thanks for reading!



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