Book Reviews

The Christmas Carol Murders by Christopher Lord at Harrison Thurman Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Holiday / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller / Fiction
Reviewed by Ron Fritsch on 01-November-2012

Book Blurb

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.

Book Review

Dickens Junction is a town near Astoria, Oregon, dedicated to the spirit of the author after whom it was named. So Bleak House is a popular bed-and-breakfast. Micawber’s Investments went under in the recent financial crisis. The town’s economy at least partly depends upon its appeal to tourists.

Simon Alastair is the somewhat wealthy scion of the founders of the town. He’s also the gay owner of Pip’s Pages, a bookstore stocked only with books he’s read and can therefore recommend to his customers. When I learned that his last two partners left him to live in a larger metropolitan area, I could only think what fools they must’ve been. I would’ve remained a Junxonian.

On the day deep in the holiday season when the residents of the town present their annual tableaux in Dickens Square depicting various scenes from A Christmas Carol, two strangers show up. One is Zach Benjamin, a “model-handsome” reporter for Rainbows, a monthly gay and lesbian travel magazine, on an assignment to write a story about the charms of Dickens Junction.

When Simon asks him to stay at his house, Gad’s Hill Place, his friends, the town’s leading citizens, soon wonder if Simon and Zach are lovers. Simon is reluctant, though, to begin a relationship only to have the lure of big-city life end it once again and leave him alone with his hurt.

The other newcomer is the sinister Mervin Roark of Marley Enterprises. He goes about offering extravagant sums of money to all the owners of the Dickens Square commercial properties except Simon. If they should refuse to sell, he hints, Marley Enterprises will ruin them. Simon and his friends can’t help but wonder if somebody wishes to take over the town and destroy it and their quaintly Dickensian way of life.

When, that same day, the murders begin, Zach convinces Simon he must discover who is committing them. Simon knows the townspeople better than the sheriff’s investigator does. He also has the most to lose if the villain in this story bulldozes Dickens Junction and replaces it with something radically different.

I greatly enjoyed reading this cozy mystery pitting “Atlas Shrugged versus A Christmas Carol. Rand versus Dickens. Buyers versus sellers. Community versus selfishness.”

The Christmas Carol Murders is Christopher Lord’s first novel in a series of Dickens Junction mysteries. I’ll rush to read his second. I’d like to return to Dickens Junction as soon as Mr. Lord makes it possible for me to do so. The next witty conversation involving the exquisitely tasteful Simon, Zach, and Simon’s friend George Bascomb will alone be worth the price of admission.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 267 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-September-2012
Price $3.99 ebook, $13.95 paperback
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