I’d never read anything by Anne Perry before this, and this may certainly not be my last by her. The reason I chose it was simply because I was looking for Christmas mysteries and the summary and sample on Audible sounded quite promising. The only disappointment was that it was so short. (But I gather Perry writes a Christmas novella every year, so … )
A Christmas Return
by Anne Perry
2017 / 192 pages
read by Jenny Sterlin – 4h 11m
rating: A+ / seasonal crime
One day a week or so before Christmas Mariah Ellison received in the mail what she believed to be a Christmas pudding from someone. But it’s not a Christmas pudding, it’s a disguised cannonball. With only a vague memory and the postal stamp to go by, she figures out what it’s about.
Twenty years prior a teenage girl was badly hurt and murdered in a community not too far from where Mariah lives now. A local doctor was arrested and tried for the crime, but he was found not guilty. The first lawyer who worked on the case quit and was then found dead – with a bloody cannonball next to him. The local understanding was that the lawyer’s wife, Mariah’s good friend, had murdered her husband, but she was never charged.
Along with the cannonball, Mariah also received a letter from the widow’s grandson saying they needed help. Christmas or no, Mariah promptly left to help her friend.
The current trouble started because the man who was found not guilty has returned to prove his actual innocence as he wants to marry a woman with money. For Mariah and her friend’s family, this opens the whole can of worms again.
The book is nicely written, the characters are well developed and the plot has a couple good twists. The narrator does a fine job. There’s also has a very timely theme developed regarding women’s friendships and shame and coming forward.
From the publisher “Decked with intrigue and trimmed with Yuletide spirit, A Christmas Return is a holiday treat wrapped in the glorious storytelling talents of the reigning master of Victorian mystery.” (Publisher’s comment)