Murder by Ghostlight, by J.C. Briggs, is an eloquently written suspense murder thriller, in the genre of Sherlock Holmes, but of course, in this case, the story follows the famous writer, Charles Dickens. Although fictional, the author has cleverly entwined Dickens in the plot, where, Dickens finds himself suspected of murder, and in the story that ensues, he must not only prove his innocence but becomes obsessed with finding the real murderer. The depiction of the dark and sullen world of 1850’s Manchester, England, the leap from heart-breaking poverty and squalid living conditions of the normal working class, to the rich and wealthy, depicts a society where the gulf between them is a dark and deep hole. In the midst of this fog and smoke-ridden industrial city, Charles Dickens works with local police, trailing a series of murders. This is true suspense to the last page, tantalizing the imagination while challenging the reader to try and figure out just exactly who is behind the grisly deaths and what body will next be revealed when the fog clears. Written with a true panache for the English vernacular of the period – Murder by Ghostlight takes the reader back into the pages of time, walking streets lit by gas lamps, the sound of horse-drawn carriages, the backdrop harmony of its people – and of course, foggy wet England – so well described that one shivers as one turns to the next page and looks forward to that warm cup of tea.
Review by author Réal Laplaine