A. Wendeberg – The Devil’s Grin

the devil's grin

published: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
published 2012
pages 238

Book on Amazon


In Victorian London’s cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murder remains undiscovered until a cholera victim floating in the city’s drinking water supply. Dr. Anton Kronberg, England’s best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg’s secret – a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine – a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper’s deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.

In (Very) Short:

+ crime story with Sherlock Holmes, yet he is not the protagonist
+ enjoyable crime story and conspiracy
+ an interesting take on Doyle’s crime stories
– the tension between Kronberg and Holmes was a bit forced
– it was as if 21st century criticism was forced onto another century

My Opinion:

The Devil’s Grin is actually written by a German author who wrote and published this in English before it was translated into German. I somehow think that it is funny to write in a different language and then have someone else translate it for you. But that’s apparently how it works. Anyway, she started out as being self-published and I am not sure if her English books still are, but the German translations are now published by a German publisher. I met her during a reading and I really liked her, so I picked the book up – in English.

The Devil’s Grin tells the story of Anton Kronberg, who really is Anna Kronberg disguised as a man to practice medicine – apparently. As Scotland Yard requires her help with a dead body, she meets Sherlock Holmes who looks through her disguise, yet keeps her secret. Both continue to investigate this case after the police stops and discover quite a monstrous and heinous conspiracy.

I enjoyed this book. It was a good read and the crime story was interesting and kept my attention. I am not sure how I felt about the character portrayal though. I know that Sherlock Holmes sometimes appears to be arrogant, and has his own view on women etc., I don’t get why Anna Kronberg had to shove that in his face all the time. I felt a constant vibe of accusations (as if he was the only one who thought that way), the sexual tension between them seemed a little forced, and a main focus of the story lay on how Anna lived her life trying to combine both halves. Something that is interesting and understandably of interest, but since I was looking for a Sherlock Holmesian crime story, that was a little too much for me.

I am aware that I am really picky here. It was a good book and a good read, but some aspects were just a little much and overloaded this rather thin book. The case itself was somewhat solved, yet a lot was left open for the next installments since this series of Anna Kronberg continues.

Bottom Line:

A good and enjoyable read, with a little too much content and issue pressed into this slim issue.


rating 3


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