I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Arkham Horror book The Deadly Grimoire by Rosemary Jones, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Arkham Horror

Anyway that put to one side, let’s look at this book, by first looking at the game Arkham Horror which is a cooperative game, originally designed by Richard Launius, and is now in its third edition which was released in 2019.

It’s published by Fantasy Flight Games, a subsidiary of Asmodee, and is set in 1926 in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Each player takes on the role of an investigator, who are working to stop the Ancient Ones, eldritch horrors which lurk in the void beyond space and time.

It’s a 1-6 player game and you work together to gather clues and defeat the evil of the Ancient Ones and save the world.

As I said I haven’t actually played Arkham Horror but I do own its spin off Elder Sign the cooperative dice game.

The Story

Like the rest of the Arkham Horror novels, its set in the 1920s specifically 1926 and is a sequel to Jones’s previous novel in the setting Mask of Silver.

We see the return to Arkham of Betsy Baxter who has now become a star in Hollywood in a film serial series, The Flapper Detective, which has made her very rich!

After the fire at the Fitzmaurice house three years ago, Betsy has been looking for her lost beau Max, who disappeared that night, the last thing she saw of him was him stepping through a mirror as he pushed her out of the burning building.

Teaming up with fearless pilot Winifred Habbamock and bookseller Tom Sweets, she returns to Arkham to try and find out what happened to Max, and solve the mystery of what happened that night.

But the trio find themselves caught up in a mystery involving a mysterious book that belongs to Toms family, and is being fought over between an Innsmouth bootlegger, and a local doctor, who seek the forbidden knowledge within, to travel the secret ways.


Now this is a curious story, despite being set within the horror universe of Arkham Horror, there isn’t actually any horror to speak of, its a very interesting paranormal mystery, but even then, its quite light on that too.

But that’s not to say it isn’t a great book, Betsy was very much a minor character in the last book, but now she has been very fleshed out into a daredevil, wanting to perform ever more dangerous stunts to keep the punters buying tickets to her movies!

Yes, it’s a sequel and whilst I do think having read the previous book is helpful, you don’t need to, it explains enough to set the scene.

What is great about this book is that it’s not presenting Betsy, our Flapper Detective, as a mere jazz baby, with interest mostly in having a good time, but she is very well aware of the issues of the time, and this book doesn’t shy away from touching on the racial and social issues that those who aren’t white, and protestant faced in 1920 US. It’s not in your face, but it’s acknowledged in a very natural way which adds to the story and creates a deeper sense of immersion.

The story itself is very very well researched and there are a lot of references to silent movies, jazz, aviation etc that I ended up grabbing my phone to read more up on.

The story moves along very well, but the conclusion did feel a little rushed, but it worked.

I really want to hear a bit more about some of the characters, I think there is room to develop some other plotlines from the two books.

It is giving me lots of ideas for RPG adventures in the setting!

I have to give this book, 4.5 out of 5.

The Deadly Grimoire is out now in paperback, ebook and as an audiobook!