Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: The Christmas Carol Murders

Paperback267 pages
Expected publication: September 24th 2012 by Harrison Thurman

I liked the premise of this one, a town founded on the charitable principles of author, Charles Dickens. All the businesses around Dickens Junction, Oregon, are named after Dickens characters and the major events in town are based upon Dickens books. So, just before the Christmas Carol tableaux is held, a recent arrival in town is found murdered followed by another murder but this time of a local townsperson and then one more murder occurs. Yikes! Enough already!

What could possibly be the motive? The only thing the reader knows is that the first victim is an employee of Marley Enterprises and that he has been trying to tempt local businesses into selling their property for huge sums of money. Is the reader to surmise being paid more than a property is worth could possibly incite murderous instincts? It seems so because no other motives were apparent. No hints of any kind were presented and no credible suspects were visible. Never mind the reason and ridiculous manner of death for the second victim.

Hmmmm . .....

As a cozy aficionado, this is not acceptable. I prefer the author to play fair with the reader and offer up several motives and or suspects and then develop the plot from there. In the final Agatha Christie-like denouement, the main character, local bookstore owner, Simon, gathers the town inhabitants and unmasks the murderer after his own investigation. No one could possibly have guessed who this was nor did the author present any hints as to the reason why this happened until the finale. Not, so not a fan of the killer coming out of left field with motives not even previously hinted at!

The plot thread of objectivism and repeated references to Ayn Rand's philosophy as opposed to Dickens's philosophy left me feeling that the author was trying to be too clever for his own good. In my humble opinion, the author's time would have been better spent with developing more of the mystery plot with less emphasis on gay romance and contrasting beliefs.

Sorry, but this one earns a solid 2* from me.

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by MindBuck Media in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. Oh No Christmas already:) I just saw all of the trees decorated in Kohls yesterday....scary

    This sounds like a fun book Kaye.

  2. I hate when the murderer comes out of nowhere, no hints, nothing, just pops up close the end. I find the fun of reading cozies is the riddles entwined throughout the story of the mystery and seeing if I can figure out whodunit.

  3. I agree with Diane - Christmas already! Yeeessh! But I agree with you. When I do sit down with a cozy I like all my motives out there and then everything built in it. It's more enjoyable that way. Plus references to Ayn Rand would turn me off in a heartbeat.

    1. It seriously annoyed me, Dar, after a while. Enough already!

  4. I love your honest reactions to this book, and admit that I would probably feel the same. I have read a few mysteries like this one, and they drive me nuts! I can think of one in particular, but can't remember the title. Such a bad move on the author's part to have the killer come out of left field:(

  5. I love the idea of the book, but your right, conclusions that come out of nowhere annoy the hell out of me. I know some think Christie was unfair in some of her books, but even in those, if you pay attention, you can always figure her books out. Not that I often do.

  6. Yikes! this is one that surely wouldn't have worked for me because I need reasons and hints...threads to follow. Your critique of this one was wonderful and the reasons for the 2 rating are very obvious! Great review!


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