Decided to share this again. First published last holiday season.
Since I was a child, I would watch countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol on TV and
in the movies. I’ve seen variations of the character of Scrooge played by the likes of Alec Guinness, Susan Lucci, Jim Carrey, Vanessa Williams, and Scrooge McDuck. I even read the novel way back, when I was into a Reading the Classics Phase, which is a great phase to be in, frankly. We learn from the masters.
In 25-words or less, A Christmas Carol is a story of a mean, hard-hearted person who hates Christmas and all it stands for i.e. love, charity, and warm fuzzy slippers. On that fateful Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge could have just as easily uttered, “Cripes! It was an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. Someone pass me a Tums.” Let’s face it, if antacids had been around then, it might have been a different story.
But being a genius writer, Dickens has Scrooge find his inner self, thanks to an unending supply of colorful and inventive ghosts who are out to show he doesn’t have to be the rat-fink he thinks himself to be. It is touch and go for awhile, but kindness and mercy win out. Love of fellowman scores a touchdown. And we, the readers, cheer from the sidelines. Yes, you can be a B&BP (bigger and better person) if only you try.
Taking this story to heart since I was around five-years old, I was convinced it was possible to help change a person’s character. Yes, enlighten them as to the good in everyone, help them to see the gentler part of humankind, that which sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and you’ve got something. Although, according to Lila Hamilton Alvarez, the matriarch of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to accessorize. I should have listened to her.
So, at the ripe old age of 49 and holding, holding, holding, held and strangled, I have come to realize change is not going to happen for some people. They are incapable of change, they don’t see the need, or sadly, some people believe they don’t deserve happiness, so changing for the better is not an option. For them, a troubled, loveless life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Psych 101, folks.
But because of Charles Dickens, I saw the hope. I saw the possibility.
Consequently, I spent decades trying to win one or two people over, loving them just a little bit more than the day before, and to hopefully, make them love me.
Forget it. You can’t make anybody do anything. What’s the old saying? You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Or was it, you can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think?
But Dickensian lovers, despair not. I am not slamming a man who knew minutely about humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. There is a deeper truth in A Christmas Carol, one I failed to see the first few hundred times of viewing or reading.
The beauty of the character of Ebenezer Scrooge is not that he changed, but that he wanted to change. He wanted to be a B&BP. It was and is the miracle of inner perspective. And Christmas, after all, is the time of miracles.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. And God bless us, everyone.
Kirkus Reviews - "This latest installment of Haven’s murder mystery series offers a twisty whodunit laced with a healthy dose of suspense. Lee is an appealing heroine who is faced with a case where everybody has secrets, including the victim. The fast-paced tale builds tension primarily through Lee’s investigation, which takes her inside the storied culinary school. Members of the Alvarez family figure prominently as supporting characters in the tale, including Lee’s mother, Lila, and Richard. Haven skillfully includes enough backstory on the Alvarezes to acquaint newcomers to the series without overshadowing the central mystery. Humor is also a significant part of the narrative, from Lee’s dry wit to the puns in the chapter titles (“A Wrinkle in Thyme”; “The Sound and the Curry”). The book may appeal to fans of Sue Grafton or Diane Mott Davidson.
A solidly entertaining mystery."
The Culinary Art of Murder, Book 6 of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, is now available at Amazon, and other fine stores!
Lee’s Uncle Tío is smitten with the lady guest chef at a Silicon Valley culinary art institute. When the lady is arrested for two murders, a fellow chef, and the dishwasher, Lee agrees to help find the real killer. But undercover work at the institute proves to be more dangerous than whipping up a chocolate soufflé. Can she find the murderer before her own goose is cooked? If it turns out to be the ambitious southern belle chef, will Tío ever forgive Lee for sending his new lady love to jail?
Honeymoons Can Be Murder is now available for download only at Amazon!
New spin-off series: A Lee Alvarez Mystery Novelette.
When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?
The reviews are in!
Kirkus Reviews - The Culinary Art of Murder "Offers a twisty whodunit laced with a healthy dose of suspense...The fast-paced tale builds tension... an appealing heroine. A solidly entertaining mystery."