A Christmas Return by Anne Perry

A Christmas ReturnA Christmas Return by Anne Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Stand Alone
Publication Date: 11/7/17

This lovely novella is loosely related to the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. Thomas nor Charlotte makes an appearance in this novella, but they are mentioned. It definitely made me realize that I am woefully behind in that series. Evidently, a lot of family changes have transpired since I last read one of the books in the series. I’m thinking I need to go catch up!

The only real relationship this novel has to Christmas is that it is set at Christmas time. However, it is also a novel of justice, growth, self-knowledge, and renewal. The main characters were good friends twenty years ago when a tragic death tore them apart. Can that friendship be renewed and can a twenty-year-old murder be solved? Seeing Mariah’s growth, understanding and self-forgiveness is a delight.

Mariah Ellison is Charlotte Pitt’s paternal grandmother. She has always been a curmudgeon – well, not just a curmudgeon because she was mean, spiteful and hateful. In this novella, we learn about her early life and basically what made her who she is today. It is nice to see that a genuinely nice and caring person appears to be emerging.

Twenty years ago, in a small English village, a fourteen-year-old girl was abducted, raped, tortured and murdered. Mariah’s friend, Cullen, an honest, ethical lawyer was set to represent the accused, Dr. Durward. Then, after a visit to another village a number of miles away, Cullen told the defendant he could no longer represent him. The next day, Cullen was murdered, and rumors were spread about his wife, Rowena, having murdered him. Dr. Durward was later tried and found not guilty of the girl’s murder and nothing ever happened with the murder of Mariah’s friend.

Today, that defendant is back in town stirring up trouble for Rowena and her grandson, Peter and also impugning Cullen’s name. Peter sends a desperate message to Mariah for help and the next day she’s on a train determined to help however she can – and to mend a torn friendship with Rowena. The last Mariah saw Peter, he was only ten years old. He has now grown into a man who remembers her with great affection and respect.

Mariah and Peter work hard to solve the murder and bring the killer to justice. Mariah’s unique understanding of someone who is as dark as this murderer allows them to take avenue’s that would not normally have been looked into. There is a short time to be able to find the killer and bring him to justice. Can they do it? If the murderer is really Dr. Durward, he cannot be tried again, so what can they do?

This is an entertaining short read and if you have read the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books, you will greatly appreciate Mariah’s metamorphosis. She’s still a work in progress, but she’s growing every day.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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