Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sophia Rose Reviews A Christmas Return by Anne Perry

I'm turning the blog over to Sophia Rose who's reviewing a historical holiday mystery by Anne Perry
Tell us all about A Christmas Return Sophia Rose!

A Christmas Return by Anne Perry
#15 Christmas Stories
Historical Mysteries
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Published:  11.7.17
Pages:  192
Rating: 4
Format: eARC
Source:  Net Galley
Sellers:  AmazonBarnes& Noble - Kobo

Tis the season of giving--and with this wonderful book, New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry shares a brand-new holiday mystery filled with bygone relationships and hidden secrets.

As Charlotte Pitt's grandmother Mariah Ellison finds herself investigating a long-unsolved slaying, it becomes clear that grappling with intrigue and foul play runs in the family. A festive Christmas package left on Mariah's doorstep contains an ominous present, sparking memories of a twenty-year-old murder that shattered her friendship with the victim's widow. Though the gift is a bitter reminder of that tragic time, in the spirit of the season Mariah travels to Surrey in hopes of reconciling with her estranged friend and solving the crime that drove them apart.

On arrival, Mariah joins forces with the murdered man's grandson, a sleuth in his own right who's discovered promising evidence as well as a suspect. But Surrey's picturesque hills conceal dark doings and shocking revelations that could make the holiday anything but calm and bright.

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

Sophia's Review:

It's like a Christmas tradition now for me to grab the latest release in Anne Perry's Christmas Stories series.  Each year for the last fifteen years, the author has gifted her fans with a Christmas themed mystery for a minor character from one of her Victorian era detective series (Thomas Pitt or William Monk series) to solve. 

This year, it's Thomas Pitt's irascible grandmother in law, Mariah Ellison who gets to help bring justice for many when she travels back to an old friend's house and twenty years into the past to dig up the truth.  The hunt for the truth dredges up dreadful memories from her own past that she must shake out and deal with so she can do what she does best- stubbornly bully her way to the answers.

As with most of Perry's work, the past is meticulously drawn and the social issues of the day addressed alongside the mystery.   Mariah was a physically and sexually abused wife and had no recourse in her day because women were considered legal chattel to their husbands.  Other women in the story are threatened with loss of reputation based on a whiff of scandal perpetrated by the villain.

The mystery is not difficult in the sense of trouble figuring out the culprit so much as gathering the evidence that will finally deal him his just desserts.  Mariah was quite the crusader for justice and she does not let her own feelings or fears get in her way of confronting the rapist and killer.  I did find myself a tad disappointed because the story had to be condensed, and unlike the longer series, the reader isn't given much of the killer's background or some of the explanation behind his crimes.  There also could have been a bit more closure between Mariah and those she came to help as well.

But that said, this was an engaging story of murder, revenge, and justice for the Yuletide.  Fans of historical mysteries should take a look at either of the author's long running series.

Author’s Bio:
Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is a British historical novelist.

Juliet took the name "Anne Perry," the latter being her stepfather's surname. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many of them feature a number of recurring characters, most importantly Thomas Pitt, who appeared in her first novel, and amnesiac private investigator William Monk, who first appeared in her 1990 novel The Face of a Stranger. As of 2003 she had published 47 novels, and several collections of short stories. Her story "Heroes," which first appeared the 1999 anthology Murder and Obsession, edited by Otto Penzler, won the 2001 Edgar Award for Best Short Story.

Recently she was included as an entry in Ben Peek's Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, a novel exploring the nature of truth in literature. WebsiteTwitter:

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:


  1. Another author I have yet to try! So many great ones out there. If only we had time for them all right? Great review for this and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Agreed! So many... we all need a timeturner so we can get to them all. :)

  2. I so need a xmas story! 3 more weeks!

  3. I haven't read the series, but I like that a writer picks up the minor character at Christmas and gives them a book of their own, now that to me sounds like a treat for both the minor character and the reader.

    1. Yes, that is exactly how I feel, Kathryn. She's so good to her readers by doing this. :)

  4. Thanks Sophia Rose I always enjoy it when I'm blog-jacked by you ;-)
    I love Anne Perry and this looks good

    1. Oh yes, I'm a very nice blognapper. ;) Thanks for letting me, Debbie!

  5. A new author for me to look into. This looks good. Thanks for sharing Sophia.

  6. Always happy to point folks toward new authors. You betcha! :)

  7. I like Christmas reads but it's been a while since I've read a mystery. Sounds like a good book.

    1. I do love my romance for certain, Mary, but running it neck and neck is a delicious mystery. :)

  8. Sophia I would love these. I am assuming since these are secondary characters from those stories they will work on their own?

    1. I think so. The storyline will mention their connection to a broader story world, but the 'case' is standalone and unconnected to the series.