When orphans Harry and Jim find a body inside a snowman they find themselves running for their lives from mysterious figures who are out to eliminate witnesses. Harry joins together with 'the Great detective', the legendary lizard woman of Paternoster Row and her companions to try and stop a creature made of smoke before it destroys the Earth.
The story takes place in the Doctor Who universe but doesn't feature the Doctor or any of his companions. Instead it focuses on three characters, a Sontaran named Strex and a Silurian (the lizard woman) named Madame Vastra, both in debt to the doctor, and Vastra's maid servant Jenny Flint. The trio appear for the first time in the Season Six episode of the new Doctor Who, A Good Man Goes to War. This book is a prequel to the Christmas special The Snowmen. It feels a bit like the pilot of a new series about these characters, and if they made a show like that I would watch the Hell out it. As it is this little novella didn't talk about the characters in much depth and the romantic aspect of the relationship between Vastra and Jenny is barely even hinted at here.
The mystery is pretty simple and I have seen faux Victorian novels done better, but the book is good for what it is: a little light Sherlockesque fun. For serious Whovians there are references to previous episodes, such as the Tom Baker era The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
The Devil in the Smoke is a fun novella which will appeal to fans of Doctor Who and Victorian fiction. I hope to read or see more about these characters in the future.