Anne Perry has dazzled readers for decades with her gripping Victorian novels and has won new fans with her acclaimed World War I series. Perry's thrilling Christmas novels, recent additions to her unique repertoire, are set in the most joyous season of the year. In A Christmas Guest, Mariah Ellison, better known as the vinegar-tongued Grandmama from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, makes a stunning appearance in a bracing story full of devious delight . . . and certain death. For Grandmama Ellison, Christmas is no reason to celebrate. And when her daughter and son-in-law plan a Christmas vacation to Paris sans hers truly, the cantankerous Grandmama is forced to stay elsewhere-and travels to the chilly, windswept Romney Marshes to spend the holiday with Charlotte Pitt's parents, Caroline and Joshua Fielding. Grandmama is immediately miserable. For starters, Christmas with the Fieldings is nothing like the cultured life to which she's accustomed, and the Romney Marshes are unbearably provincial. When Joshua's cousin Maude Barrington arrives, Grandmama is at her wit's end. Although Maude is well traveled and friendly, Grandmama thinks she's improper and strange. But when Maude is found lifeless in bed, Grandmama senses foul play and takes it upon herself to assume the role of amateur detective-uncovering not only the truth about Maude Barrington but some startling truths about herself as well. Enlivened with bold characters and vivid, witty writing, A Christmas Guest is yet another holiday novella with the perfect combination of mystery and murder mixed with a generous helping of yuletide cheer. From the Hardcover edition.
Charlotte's tetchy Grandmama from Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries does a bit of sleuthing on her own (and learns the true meaning of Christmas) in the author's latest holiday treat (A Christmas Visitor). When the London lady finds herself banished to the Romney Marshes home of her former daughter-in-law, Caroline (now married-scandalously, in Grandmama's opinion-to a younger actor), she is more than indignant. As if it isn't bad enough to be exiled to "some bog by the sea" at Christmastime, another guest soon arrives: "pointlessly joyous" Maud Barrington, the middle daughter of an old local family who has returned after 40 years of travel in Muslim Africa. Maude's family won't have her; they think she'll be an embarrassment to a visiting peer. Grandmama doesn't take to brash, vivid Maude, either-but as soon as Maude is discovered, suddenly and suspiciously dead in her bedroom, Grandmama regrets her coldness and vows to uncover the truth. When she imparts the sad news to Maude's family in the nearby town, she finds the reaction of Maude's two sisters strange. Their husbands, too, seem odd. Who might be the guilty party Grandmama digs deep into family secrets and betrayals and becomes a whole new person along the way in this quick and enjoyable read. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 01, 2005
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Excerpt from A Christmas Guest by Anne Perry
"I DO NOT ACCEPT IT!" MARIAH ELLISON SAID indignantly. It was intolerable.
"I am afraid there is no alternative," Emily replied. She was wearing a beautiful morning dress of pale water green with fashionably large sleeves and a sweeping skirt. With her fair coloring, it made her look prettier than she was, and having married money she had airs above her station.
"Of course there is an alternative!" Grandmama snapped, staring up at her from her chair in the withdrawing room. "There is always an alternative. Why in heaven's name should you wish to go to France? It is only a week and a half until Christmas!"
Emily sighed deeply. "We have been invited to spend Christmas in the Loire valley."
"Where in France is immaterial. It is still not England. We shall have to cross the Channel. It will be rough and we shall all be ill."
"I know it would be unpleasant for you," Emily conceded. "And the train journey from Paris might be tedious, and perhaps cold at this time of year . . ."
"What do you mean perhaps?" Grandmama snapped. "There is no possible doubt."