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The Crimson Horror was a novelisation based on the 2013 television episode The Crimson Horror. It was written by the original writer Mark Gatiss and released by Target Books on 11 March 2021.

Publisher's summary[]

'We must get to the bottom of this dark and queer business, no matter what the cost!'

Something ghastly is afoot in Victorian Yorkshire. Something that kills. Bodies are washing up in the canal, their skin a waxy, glowing red… But just what is this crimson horror?

Madam Vastra, Jenny and Strax are despatched to investigate the mystery. Strangely reluctant to assist their enquiries is Mrs Winifred Gillyflower, matriarch of ‘Sweetville’, a seemingly utopian workers’ community.

Why do all roads lead to the team's old friends Clara and the Doctor?

Who is Mrs Gillyflower's mysterious silent partner Mr Sweet?

And will the motley gang be in time to defeat the mysterious power that threatens all the world with its poison?

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue
  • 1. 'City of Dreadful Delights'
  • 2. 'Mr Gideon Mortlock Presents Himself'
  • 3. 'The Siren of Cripplegate'
  • 4. 'A Study in Crimson'
  • 5. 'Satanic Mills'
  • 6. 'Sweets to the Sweet'
  • 7. 'Diary of a Madman'
  • 8. 'Through a Glass, Darkly'
  • 9. 'Dame's Rocket'

Deviations from televised story[]

  • The book is predominantly told from Jenny Flint's perspective, with some sections told through the eyes of other characters such as Jonas Thursday, Strax, and the Doctor.
  • The first three chapters are dedicated to an unrelated case in which Jenny first meets the Doctor. This appears to contradict The Name of the Doctor in which Vastra says that the Doctor saved Jenny's life the first time they met. Jenny should therefore already be familiar with the Doctor when they meet in this story.
  • The book introduces a mysterious associate of Mrs. Gillyflower's named Dr. Fetch who has a mechanical arm.
  • Vastra's comment to Strax that Jenny would find the Doctor by ignoring keep out signs and going through locked doors is given to Jenny herself before she parts company with them.
  • The urchin Thomas Thomas shouts encouragement to Strax as he climbs the chimney, calling him "potato head".
  • The Doctor gives Vastra and Strax perception filters before they leave to allow them to pass unnoticed on Earth.
  • The last scene with Clara and the Maitland children is omitted.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • The name Gideon Mortlock was originally going to be used in The Unquiet Dead. The character would have been a fake medium. In this story, he owns a theater.

Additional cover images[]

to be added


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 11 March 2021 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Catrin Stewart with Strax's voice by Dan Starkey.

External links[]