My review of The Convivial Codfish by Charlotte MacLeod
At Christmastime in Boston, a thief targets the local scrooge.
The angry old men of the Comrades of the Convivial Codfish club celebrate yuletide doing what they do best: eating, drinking, and greeting the season of giving with a spirited ‘bah, humbug!’ Though well past sixty, Jem Kelling is a relative infant compared to some of the club’s elder statesmen, and he has waited decades to host their annual Christmas scowl. And during his first evening as Exalted Chowderhead, he is thrilled to find the wine abundant, the chowder superb, and the humbugs as lusty as ever. But as the night winds down, Jem is horrified to find that the ceremonial Codfish necklace has vanished — right off of his neck!
His nephew-in-law, art investigator Max Bittersohn, is convinced his new uncle was the victim of a practical joke. But when the old man takes a hip-snapping tumble, Max is forced to conclude that one of the scrooges is trying to perpetrate a deadly Christmas jeer.
Another great entry in the series. We got lots and lots of Max, but very little Sarah. It had me guessing who the culprit was up until the end. The story flowed well and there was plenty of action to keep my attention. But there wasn’t a whole lot of meat to go with the potatoes as it were. I do like Max as a character.
I do have two complaints about the story. 1) Not enough Sarah. She was barely mentioned throughout the book, it was very much centered on Max. 2) The cast of characters, while interesting, was slightly too large. It was a bit of a pain to keep track of who was who. That may have been intentional as a way for the reader to sympathize with Max having to step in to replace Jem Kelling suddenly and not knowing who was who. Other than the ones we’ve already met (Max, Sarah, Jem) none of the new characters was all that fleshed out. They each had an obvious trait, but no real depth, nothing to make them remarkable as a character rather than a placeholder.
The eBook was formatted well with only a few minor spelling/punctuation flaws, most likely caused by a bad OCR. (Chair for chain, etc.)