Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review - The Humbug Murders

The Humbug Murders
by L.J. Oliver
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pub. Date: October 27, 2015
ISBN: 978-1476792347
Pages: 390
Buy Link: Amazon

When it comes to classic Christmas tales there's nothing better than Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Ebeneezer Scrooge story has been retold countless times on stage, television and in movie theaters. Disney even did their version with Uncle Scrooge in the 1980s. A new Ebeneezer Scrooge story is now available in bookstores, titled The Humbug Murders by New York Times Bestselling Author L.J. Oliver (Scott Ciencin and Elizabeth Wilson).

Set way before the events in A Christmas Carol, The Humbug Murders centers on Ebeneezer Scrooge when he was in his 30's working in Cheapside, London in the year 1833, six days before Christmas. It's been five years since Belle broke his heart and he has become a cold hearted man who despises the holiday season. What started out as a boring evening turns into a complicated one when his old mentor, Reginald Fezziwig, arrives at his office for an unexpected business meeting. At first Ebeneezer believes the man is an impostor, but he quickly realizes that this man standing in front of him may be in fact a ghost. Adelaide Owen, the young woman trying to become his new clerk, witnesses the shocking scene.

As soon as the ghost disappeared, the local authorities shows up suspecting that Ebeneezer has murdered a businessman - Reginald Fezziwig. With only Adelaide defending that he is innocent, Ebeneezer is determined to clear his name and hunt down the killer that leaves a message near the victims - Humbug.

As more bodies quickly piles up, Ebeneezer and Adelaide have no choice, but to rely on a young reporter, Charles Dickens for help. They must go into the dark underbelly of London, a place were greed and death stalks every corner.

A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite novels to read around the holidays and it was actually the first e-book I downloaded to my Kindle a few years ago. I was skeptical when I first heard about The Humbug Murders, which serves as a prequel reboot of the Ebeneezer Scrooge tale, but being a fan of Charles Dickens' original novel, I was also intrigued by the mystery novel. This is my first outing with authors that write under the pen name L.J. Oliver and they do a great job of making me feel this is the same Christmas Carol world. My main fears was that Scrooge's character would be changed somehow, but it still feels like the same classic character. However, he's just a little younger here. Scrooge's new clerk, Adelaide Owen, feels like a companion on BBC's Doctor Who. The whodunit plot works well here and I like the addition of Jacob Marley towards the latter half. Overall, The Humbug Murders is a fast-paced, well-written mystery that works on all cylinders.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author:

L.J. Oliver is the combined pen name of New York Times bestselling author Scott Ciencin and acclaimed author Elizabeth Wilson. Visit them on the web at

Ciencin wrote over ninety novels in the adult, YA, and children’s genres. A lifelong British mystery fan and Dickens aficionado, he began his career in the film and TV industry and continued in the business as an international film festival blogger, social media content provider, video game consultant, and creative consultant. He died in 2014. Learn more at

Following a childhood in the snowy mountains of Scandinavia, Wilson traveled to her native England to study criminology and journalism. Inspired by her mother, a personal historian specializing in Victorian-era Britain, Wilson set about exploring the streets of London, where her family originally arrived from Ireland in 1833. She now lives in the United States with her American husband and two daughters, and focuses on her first love: story-telling. Read more at 

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