Christmas Day dawns and there's a stranger in Market St; Inspector Bucket. He is a pioneer of the new idea in policing; a Detective, brought in to find out who killed Jacob Marley. His friend, the taxidermist, Mr Venus, provides a post mortem on the dead body - discovering a splinter of wood in a wound in the head.
He goes to visit an unseasonably inhospitable Scrooge to ask him about his partner and finds his journal in which, on the night of the murder, is written the letter "C" - Scrooge tells him this could refer to a money collection. It also shows he went to the Old Curiosity shop that day. Then there is the name "Nancy".
At the Old Curiosity Shop, Little Nell has made a miraculous recovery and she and her Grandfather along with one-legged pub landlord, Silas Wegg, gin-soaked mid-wife, Mrs Gamp, and the local busy-body, Fanny Biggettywitch are having a pot-luck style lunch with a generous sideorder of gossip about the Inspector.
The Cratchits enjoy a thrifty but joyous day, crowded into the little house with John, fiancee of Martha the eldest daughter sharing their tiny goose.
The Barbarys is a more genteel affair, but far less happy. Severe daughter, Frances is blatantly jealous of her younger sister Honoria's easy enjoyment of life..Honoria knows nothing of their financial ruin. She is seeing a dashing young soldier Captain Hawdon, and Frances with her strict religious views is openly disapproving. Arthur Havisham is slumming it in rooms above the pub and Compeyson tells him he needs to trust the plan to win back what Arthur believes to be his due. Compeyson, with all his skill as a conartist will inveigle his way into Amelia's trust by presenting himself as a mediary between the siblings. However, when he turns up at Satis House and suggests this course of action to Amelia, she turns him away - she has no need of a stranger to solve her family problems. She has no need of any man. Spurred on by the challenge she presents, Compeyson returns to Arthur. His ambition has grown...they are going to take Amelia Havisham for every penny she's got.