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The Humbug Murders
The Ebenezer Scrooge Mysteries – Book I
L J Oliver

South Downs Crime and Mystery
27 November 2015 / ASIN: B0177QB5VC
Mystery / Historical / Holiday: Christmas

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


A few days before Christmas 1833 Scrooge's beloved mentor and former employer Fezziwig is violently murdered. Scrooge is unaware of this, and is even talking to him when it is suddenly obvious that he is conversing with a ghost. Thus begins a tortuous investigation to discover what Fezziwig was mixed up in, with the help of a young reporter called Dickens and Scrooge's newest employee.

Somehow the title and general idea of Scrooge and Dickens as sleuths seems to suggest something rather cozy, but instead the authors have concocted a much darker tale. Scrooge narrates the story, coming across as sharp and having an eye for the main chance, hoping to transform himself from a moneylender into an investment banker. He is acutely aware of these shortcomings, but is not interested at being any other way despite his love for Belle and affection for the late Fezziwig. Several other Dickens characters also appear, from Mr. Pickwick to Fagin, and although most of these have brief walk on parts, some are vital to the story. Appealing to the modern reader is the spirited Miss Adelaide Owen, who applies for the job as Scrooge's clerk and gets it by being very good at the job, very attractive and rather mysterious. The plot itself keeps the pages turning and despite its length (400 pages) manages to always have something of interest going on. Less appealing are the many mistakes as to how things would have been done back in the 1830s, and most of the time the background had more in common with something set at the time of Sherlock Holmes. If these problems are ironed out, this has all the makings of an entertaining new series.

Reviewer Notes: some violence

Reviewed 2016