A CHRISTMAS GUEST (Amateur Sleuth-England-1800s) - Ex Perry, Anne – 3rd Christmas Story
Ballantine Books, 2005 – Hardcover


Grandmama Mariah Ellison has been sent to spend Christmas with her daughter Caroline and actor son-in-law Joshua Fielding. Not only are they at Romney Marshes, a provincial town by the sea, but Joshua's cousin, Maude Barrington arrives. Maude is much traveled, lived in foreign lands and has an enthusiasm for life that displeases Mariah even more than usual. But when Maude is found to have died during the night, Mariah feels something is not right, and decides to find out the answers. But as she learns about Maude and her family, she realizes some truths about herself as well.

Ms. Perry is a superb writer. Her descriptions of characters, time and place put you in the story. You feel Mariah's sense of abandonment and displacement, then determination, then realization. While there is a murder involved, it really is the story of Mariah and her self-discovery. I've loved Ms. Perry's previous two Christmas books, but feel this is her best so far.

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