Doctor Who: Devil In The Smoke REVIEW

Doctor Who: Devil In The Smoke book review : Festive fun with the Paternoster Gang

Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax seem to be in favour with the BBC right now. As well as starring in this year’s Christmas special, the trio now being referred to as “the Paternoster Gang” – a Silurian, her maid, and a Sontaran – have appeared in two video prequels, and now this. Are we looking at a new spinoff, perhaps?

Devil In The Smoke follows the template set by The Angel’s Kiss , the ebook released to tie into “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Like that book, it’s a swift read, clocking in at less than 100 pages. Also like that book, it’s written by Justin Richards and plays a canny game with your expectations.

The story is set in wintry London, and opens with two kids, Harry and Jim, finding the body of a woman inside a snowman. Is this connected to the Doctor’s Christmas adventure, or is it a different mystery altogether?

It’s a more satisfying read than The Angel’s Kiss , less stylised and more driven by the banter between our three leads. The Doctor is absent, but Vastra and co are already so recognisable you barely notice. You could argue that they’re basically one-joke wonders (particularly Strax) and you’d be right… but they’re still fun to hang out with.

It’s not in the top rank of Doctor Who books. Hell, it’s not even in the top rank of Who books set in London during winter (track down Kim Newman’s fabulous novella, Time And Relative …), but it’s a nice appetiser before the festive feast.

Will Salmon

Read our Doctor Who: The Angel’s Kiss review.
Read our Doctor Who: A History Of The Universe In 100 Objects review.
Read our The Comic Strip Companion review.

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