It’s the holiday season in Dickens Junction, Oregon. Local bookstore owner, Simon Alastair, is getting ready for the community’s annual celebration of Charles Dickens’ well-known story. But when a mysterious stranger shows up in the Junction and is murdered hours later, Simon begins to suspect that his little community has been targeted for destruction by a shadowy organization.
With the support of Zach, a dashing young magazine reporter, Simon decides to investigate the crime himself. When a second murder follows, Simon must confront the worst question of all: which of his friends and business associates is a ruthless murderer?
The Christmas Carol Murders is the first of an exciting new cozy mystery series combining the atmosphere of a classic Agatha Christie puzzle, the deft touch of Charlotte MacLeod, a hint of Oscar Wilde’s humor, and the literary spirit of the great Charles Dickens.
Review: Most often I choose my books by what genre they are in or what type of storyline. A while back a mass e-mail was sent out with a list of books we could review. Within that e-mail, there was a list of books (yes, with descriptions) that needed to be read. I looked down the list going on title alone. I really didn’t read the blurb. I chose The Christmas Carol Murders and quite frankly I am glad that I did.
In 1985, a rather funny movie came out, with a really wonderful cast of characters, by the name of Clue. As I read this book, I found myself thinking of that movie. A book all its own, but with hints of that movie and, later, the game – making me want to pull out my own worn copy of said game and play. I just may do that later.
Finding ourselves in the midst of the holiday season in Dickens Junction, we find Simon Alastair getting ready for the annual production. Within the story, we find that someone is trying to buy up all the property to change the quaint little town (straight out of a Dickens novel) into something else. Some of the property has been sold and others have been approached by a mysterious stranger (Mr. Roark who works for Marley Enterprises) that comes to town only to find himself the first murder victim in this story. Whoever is after the town is willing to pay more than what the property is worth, which I think would make it awfully hard not to say no.
I found that the well thought out and rounded characters (I mean each and every one) helped in making this story seem real in the reader’s mind. Simon finds himself in the middle of whatever is happening or about to happen. He turns into an amateur sleuth, where I think he is rather good in a bumbling kind of way, which only makes him that much more endearing. He is the one that had me saying on many occasions saying, “Col. Muster in the library with a rope” or “Ms. Scarlett in the kitchen with a knife.”
Simon not only ventures out to find out what is happening in his town,but he starts to fall for a handsome magazine writer named Zach Benjamin, who happens into town to write a story for a gay magazine. Simon is afraid of pursuing a relationship for fear of being hurt, as he was in the past. Simon’s good friend, George, comes to town and helps him with the murders and his new relationship. While the underlying flirting is going on along with life in a small town…more murders are committed along with an attack on Simon.
With so much going on, the town seems to think that they should halt all of the holiday festivities.
So now you’re invited to come to the Christmas ball in Dickens Junction to find out what is in store for the town. You’ll get to see everyone dressed in their favorite Dickens characters; you may even get to become an amateur sleuth like Simon and help him to solve the murders.
I found this to be a rather delightful story filled with loveable characters that just might be one of your neighbors or someone in your own town. Mr. Lord does a wonderful job of bringing this story to life in an old fashioned kind of way with a modern day twist. It was a very refreshing, fast paced story that dealt with the sweetness of letting go, grabbing ahold of love and seeing what new adventure it takes you on. The murders were tastefully done, reminding me of the older sleuth movies and books, weaving the tale of murder so well that it had me guessing to the very end. There were a few words that had me running to a dictionary, but they were minor,and I was able to figure them out in the context of the sentence they were just ones not frequently used.
Mr. Lord writes with passion, pulling you into the story, not letting you go until the end, leaving you wanting more. I say he has a hit on his hands. Anyone who loves Clue, Agatha Christie, Murder She Wrote, Charles Dickens’, small towns mysteries and old fashioned romance will find them falling in love with Mr. Lord’s stories.
I suggest you find your own copy of The Christmas Carol Murders, so you too can enjoy the romance of Simon and Zach, sleuthing with Simon to see if Grace, Charity, Viola, Mimsie Tricket, the Neff’s, the mayor, or maybe even Simon committed those murders. So to be cliché I will add, in the words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless us, God Bless us every one.”