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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Anne Perry's Christmas novels (A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Visitor, et al.) are quickly becoming an annual literary holiday tradition for mystery lovers worldwide. For the last four years, she has given her fans a cozy, inspirational historical Yuletide yarn -- and the tradition continues in 2006.
The novel is set in 1890 England and featuries the Reverend Dominic Corde, a secondary character in Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels (The Cater Street Hangman and Brunswick Gardens) and his new wife, Clarice. The couple receive "the greatest Christmas gift they could have been given," when the elderly vicar of a small village in Oxfordshire takes an unexpected vacation and Corde is asked to stand in for him temporarily over the holidays. Leaving behind a bleak, industrial London for the picturesque hamlet of Cottisham, the Cordes are absolutely ecstatic about the opportunity -- that is, until Clarice finds the body of the Reverend Wynter hidden away in the cellar. As Christmas quickly approaches, the Cordes investigate the shocking death by talking to the parishioners, some of whom are harboring atrocious secrets…
The appeal of Perry's Christmas novels isn't so much the intricate plot twists or the meticulously detailed Victorian Age ambiance; it's the timeless message behind the spirit of the holidays: forgiveness, compassion, and hope: "…a way forward to the best in ourselves and all that we can become." Amen to that. Paul Goat Allen