A Christmas Odyssey: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Once again, the distinguished mathematician Henry Rathbone is approached to help solve a mystery. This time, the call comes from an old friend whose son has gone missing--and just before the Christmas holiday. Now in his early twenties, Lucien has known trouble for some time and has often fallen victim to the vices of drugs, alcohol and women. Thus, his father now fears the worst.

Henry's first thought is to enlist the help of Hester, since ...
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A Christmas Odyssey: A Novel

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Overview

Once again, the distinguished mathematician Henry Rathbone is approached to help solve a mystery. This time, the call comes from an old friend whose son has gone missing--and just before the Christmas holiday. Now in his early twenties, Lucien has known trouble for some time and has often fallen victim to the vices of drugs, alcohol and women. Thus, his father now fears the worst.

Henry's first thought is to enlist the help of Hester, since her work in the East End clinic might prove useful. However, when he calls in at the clinic, the first person he meets is their old friend, Squeaky Robinson, who says he mustn't involve a good woman in this kind of search, and volunteers himself instead. Henry agrees and, joined by Crow, a young doctor at the clinic, the pair trawls the pubs, brothels and opium dens of the West End, which in some ways are even worse than those in the East. After all, these establishments cater to people with money, and as a result the entertainment procured is more extreme and dangerous.
    
The trio finds a young barmaid who actually knows Lucien and who insists on coming to help them, and through their sleuthing, they find even more troubling information about the missing youth: he had become obsessed with a woman called Sadie, and had begun working for a major drugs dealer.
    
Eventually, the group finds Lucien on the streets, but badly injured following a vicious knife-fight. He asks them to let him die: he's beyond redemption. But of course, they refuse to do this and instead patch him up and nurse him, all-the-while still wondering about the elusive Sadie. The only clue to her whereabouts seems to be a pool of dried blood.

Eventually they learn Sadie's sad truth--a tale of prostitution and murder. But just as this comes to light, the detectives' own situation becomes increasingly dire. The drug baron is not a man to be toyed with and Rathbone and his friends quickly realize he has them trapped, confined to a labyrinth of underground passages and alleyways.

Finally, with nothing left to lose, Lucien embarks on an act of bravery and self-sacrifice that will ultimately save all their lives and reunite father and son for a much-deserved Christmas celebration.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345523174
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Series: Christmas Mysteries Series , #8
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 481,866
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Anne Perry
ANNE PERRY is the New York Times bestselling author of seven previous holiday novels as well as the William Monk series and Thomas Pitt series set in Victorian England, five World War I novels, and one stand-alone novel set in the Ottoman Empire.

She lives in the Scottish Highlands. The author lives in Scotland.

From the Hardcover edition.

Biography

Born in London in October 1938, Anne Perry was plagued with health problems as a young child. So severe were her illnesses that at age eight she was sent to the Bahamas to live with family friends in the hopes that the warmer climate would improve her health. She returned to her family as a young teenager, but sickness and frequent moves had interrupted her formal education to the extent that she was finally forced to leave school altogether. With the encouragement of her supportive parents, she was able to "fill in the gaps" with voracious reading, and her lack of formal schooling has never held her back.

Although Perry held down many jobs—working at various times as a retail clerk, stewardess, limousine dispatcher, and insurance underwriter—the only thing she ever seriously wanted to do in life was to write. (In her '20s, she started putting together the first draft of Tathea, a fantasy that would not see print until 1999.) At the suggestion of her stepfather, she began writing mysteries set in Victorian London; and in 1979, one of her manuscripts was accepted for publication. The book was The Cater Street Hangman, an ingenious crime novel that introduced a clever, extremely untidy police inspector named Thomas Pitt. In this way an intriguing mystery series was born…along with a successful writing career.

In addition to the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels, Perry crafts darker, more layered Victorian mysteries around the character of London police detective William Monk, whose memory has been impaired by a coach accident. (Monk debuted in 1990's The Face of a Stranger.) She also writes historical novels set during the First World War (No Graves as Yet, Shoulder the Sky, etc.) and holiday-themed mysteries (A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Secret, etc), and her short stories have been included in several anthologies.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Anne Perry:

The first time I made any money telling a story I was four and a half years old—golden hair, blue eyes, a pink smocked dress, and neat little socks and shoes. I walked home from school (it was safe then) with my lunchtime sixpence unspent. A large boy, perhaps 12 or 13, stopped me. He was carrying a stick and threatened to hit me if I didn't give him my sixpence. I told him a long, sad story about how poor we were—no food at home, not even enough money for shoes! He gave me his half crown—five times sixpence! It's appalling! I didn't think of it as lying, just escaping with my sixpence. How on earth he could have believed me I have no idea. Perhaps that is the knack of a good story—let your imagination go wild, pile on the emotions—believe it yourself, evidence to the contrary be damned. I am not really proud of that particular example!

I used to live next door to people who had a tame dove. They had rescued it when it broke its wing. The wing healed, but it never learned to fly again. I used to walk a mile or so around the village with the dove. Its little legs were only an inch or two long, so it got tired, then it would ride on my head. Naturally I talked to it. It was a very nice bird. I got some funny looks. Strangers even asked me if I knew there was a bird on my head! Who the heck did they think I was talking to? Of course I knew there was a bird on my head. I'm not stupid—just a writer, and entitled to be a little different. I'm also English, so that gives me a second excuse!

On the other hand I'm not totally scatty. I like maths, and I used to love quadratic equations. One of the most exciting things that happened to me was when someone explained non-Euclidean geometry to me, and I suddenly saw the infinite possibilities in lateral thinking! How could I have been so blind before?

Here are some things I like—and one thing I don't:

  • I love wild places, beech trees, bluebell woods, light on water—whether the light is sunlight, moonlight, or lamplight; and whether the water is ocean, rain, snow, river, mist, or even a puddle.

  • I love the setting sun in autumn over the cornstooks.

  • I love to eat raspberries, pink grapefruit, crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

  • I love gardens where you seem to walk from "room to room," with rambling roses and vines climbing into the trees and sudden vistas when you turn corners.

  • I love white swans and the wild geese flying overhead.

  • I dislike rigidity, prejudice, ill-temper, and perhaps above all, self-righteousness.

  • I love laughter, mercy, courage, hope. I think that probably makes me pretty much like most people. But that isn't bad.
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      1. Also Known As:
        Juliet Hulme
      2. Hometown:
        Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
      1. Date of Birth:
        October 28, 1938
      2. Place of Birth:
        Blackheath, London England

    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
    • Posted October 11, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      The annual Anne Perry Victorian Christmas saga is a great but very dark thriller

      With less than two weeks before Christmas, not everyone in frozen London is rejoicing. Affluent sexagenarian James Wentworth feels bah humbug ill over the behavior of his son Lucien. All the younger Wentworth dies for are drugs and sex ever since he discovered the dens of iniquity in the West End last year after meeting Sadie.

      Desperate to save his offspring from himself, Wentworth turns to his long time friend Henry Rathbone for help. Henry agrees to find the lad who he remembers as being nice and charming. However, though he has hope and promise for a happy intervention, Henry also knows he ventures into a part of London's depravity he is totally unfamiliar with. On his Christmas Odyssey into the West End, Rathbone meets former brothel owner Squeaky Robinson employed at Hester Monk's clinic and Dr. Crow physician to the downtrodden and underbelly. The three unite to follow clues to Sadie and her brutal owner Shadwell while also encountering Bessie the courageous teen.

      The annual Anne Perry Victorian Christmas saga is a great but very dark thriller in which the beacons of light in the Shadwell shadows of the slums comes from the hopes of the three males and the teen who joined them on their venture. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as the audience anticipates a Christmas showdown between the Odyssey voyagers and the evil that welcomes them to his version of the Eagles' Hotel California.

      Harriet Klausner

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