Wednesday, August 08, 2018

A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond

Heather Redmond launches a new mystery series with Charles Dickens as the amateur sleuth. Dickens, who is working as a journalist, with his eye on a writing career, is a fascinating character in A Tale of Two Murders. It appears that the series will be called "A Dickens of a Crime".

Dickens is at dinner with the Hogarths, his editor's family, when they hear women screaming. Dickens, Hogarth, and the eldest Hogarth daughter, Kate, rush next door where a widow lives alone with her two children. They find Christiana Lugoson so sick that Dickens carries her to her room, and he and Kate tend the ailing young woman. But, Christiana dies within twenty-four hours. The death of a seventeen-year-old bothers Dickens, but he has no proof that something was wrong about the scene. It's only when another journalist mentions a similar death exactly a year earlier that Dickens suspects murder. With his editor's permission, he makes inquiries. He and Kate spend a lot of time together on the investigation. Interviews of young women and their mothers takes a woman's touch. But, the two also use the investigation as an excuse to spend time together.

Redmond who is the author of a romance series, emphasizes Dickens' courtship with his future wife in the first in this historical mystery series. The mystery is convoluted, but the details of Dickens' life and the Victorian world stand out in a the book, although it drags at times. Dickens' interactions with his younger brother, his family, and his fellow journalists is reminiscent of some of his books.

I spent time checking background and Dickens' biography to match the novel with the facts. It's probably an issue when writers use an actual person as the amateur sleuth. Fans of Charles Dickens' works will appreciate the foreshadowing of future writings; character names, plot ideas, and the warm family environment at the Hogarths'. Although readers will understand where the title A Tale of Two Murders comes from, I was more interested in the connections to A Christmas Carol.

Heather Redmond's website is

A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond. Kensington Books, 2018. ISBN 9781496717153 (hardcover), 320p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.


Kay said...

It is interesting and also a bit of a gamble when an author uses a 'real life' person as a sleuth. I love books set in the 19th century so I might try this one if it crosses my path.

Nicole Pyles said...

What an interesting sounding book! I kind of like the cover a lot. I'd give this one a try!

Lesa said...

The book was a little slow at times, but I really enjoyed all the parts about Dickens' personal life.

Gram said...

Thanks...I put it on my library list and someday may get to it.

Bonnie K. said...

This looks good. I've added it to my Goodreads list.

Lesa said...

Gram & Bonnie, I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it.