Monday, November 21, 2022

The Christmas Carol by M.J. Lee

First Line: December 19, 1843. Devonshire Terrace, London. Charles Dickens sat at his desk, the pile of new books stacked in front of him.
An extremely rare first edition of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol has been found in a charity shop. Its auction price will skyrocket if more information can be found about the man named in Dickens' handwritten dedication. Genealogist Jayne Sinclair is given three days to locate information on the man with nothing more to go on than his name, a place-- Victorian Manchester, and a date-- December 19, 1843. Can she do it?

Facing a Christmas alone, Jayne accepts the challenge, little knowing that she'll find the true meaning of Christmas along the way.


When I picked up M.J. Lee's The Christmas Carol, I knew I was guaranteed an enjoyable read. After all, I've been a fan of this series since the very first book (The Irish Inheritance). What I didn't expect was a mystery that's also perfect holiday reading.

Lee is a master at finding fascinating yet little-known nuggets of history that he can weave into his story, and incorporating Dickens and his inspiration for and writing of one of the most famous books in the world-- A Christmas Carol-- is a gold mine. As familiar as I am with the story, having both read it and watched many film adaptations, I knew very little about the story's roots in Manchester, England. As the story danced between Dickens in 1843 and Jayne Sinclair in the present day, I was almost mesmerized as the author was taken on a walking tour of Manchester. I felt like a little girl exclaiming over treasures-- That's his inspiration for Scrooge! There's Tiny Tim! There's Scrooge's long-lost love! 
And watching Jayne try to identify the man to whom Dickens inscribed a copy of his book was just as special. The actual work she did to locate information was fascinating, and while she raced against the clock, she also found herself contemplating the path her life was taking, a perfect thing to do considering Dickens' story.

If you like a little mystery with your holiday reading, I've found the perfect choice: M.J. Lee's The Christmas Carol. No violence. No murders. No cheating spouses or corrupt policemen. Just a mystery and the thrill of the chase. While it will definitely put a smile on your face, don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for the other books in this series. It's one of my favorites.

The Christmas Carol by M.J. Lee
ASIN: B08K2Q6Y65
Amazon Digital Services © 2020
eBook, 309 pages
Genealogical Mystery, #8 Jayne Sinclair mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon. 


  1. How absolutely fascinating, Cathy! I never thought about the work that goes into finding those pieces of the past, but it's considerable, isn't it? That's an interesting challenge, too, to solve that mystery within a short period of time. Little wonder you liked this one.

  2. Oh boy, do I like the sound of this one! A Christmas Carol is probably my favorite Dickens novel, so following Jayne Sinclair on her quest sounds fascinating.

  3. That does sound good for this time of year - I'll keep it in mind.

  4. This does sound like the perfect holiday book. Everything about it just sounds like fun. :D


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