London, December 1835: Charles and Kate are out with friends and family for a chilly night of caroling and good cheer. But their blood truly runs cold when their singing is interrupted by a body plummeting from an upper window of a house. They soon learn the dead man at their feet, his neck strangely wrapped in chains, is Jacob Harley, the business partner of the resident of the house, an unpleasant codger who owns a counting house, one Emmanuel Screws.
Ever the journalist, Charles dedicates himself to discovering who's behind the diabolical defenestration. But before he can investigate further, Harley's corpse is stolen. Following that, Charles is visited in his quarters by what appears to be Harley's ghost—or is it merely Charles’s overwrought imagination? He continues to suspect Emmanuel, the same penurious penny pincher who denied his father a loan years ago, but Kate insists the old man is too weak to heave a body out a window. Their mutual affection and admiration can accommodate a difference of opinion, but matters are complicated by the unexpected arrival of an infant orphan. Charles must find the child a home while solving a murder, to ensure that the next one in chains is the guilty party . . .
I enjoyed this entertaining historical mystery. While entirely fiction, it was fun to wander London in the 1830s with Dickens. It was interesting to see how Redmond wove themes from Dickens' A Christmas Carol into the plot of this novel. And I liked the way Redmond crafted the setting. I felt Dickens fall into the mud and slop of London streets and could almost smell it. The character crafting was good too. Redmond did a good job of highlighting the norms of the day through character actions. It was fun to imagine Dickens as an amateur sleuth. I am not so sure of the actual physical reality of how the first murder happened but, then again, this is fiction.
This is a good novel for readers who enjoy fiction centered on an actual historical characters. It's also a good read for those who enjoy a cozy mystery.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: September 29th 2020
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1496717171 (ISBN13: 9781496717177)
Series: A Dickens of a Crime #3 || A Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
She has lived in Illinois, California, and Texas, and now resides in a small town in Washington State with her husband and son. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her 2018 Heather Redmond debut, A Tale of Two Murders, was a multi-week Barnes & Noble Hardcover Mystery Bestseller.
Her two current mystery series are “A Dickens of a Crime” and “the Journaling mysteries.” She writes for Kensington and Severn House.
She is the 2020-21 President of the Columbia River Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC).
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