Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry

With Christmas approaching, Emily Radley, Charlotte’s sister is suddenly called from London to be with her dying aunt.  Alone, she makes the journey to Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland.  A tragic legacy haunts this close-knit community and a lone shipwreck survivor threatens to unlock old wounds, but also to offer a solution to an old crime and bring peace and resolution to the community.

For a couple of years now that Anne Perry's Christmas books have been a favourite read of mine during the Holiday Season. They are historical mysteries, usually featuring characters of her most famous series, and they deal with themes like redemption, forgiveness, love, family bonds... all those feelings usually related to the festive period.

In A Christmas Grace the main character is Emily Radley, Charlotte Pitt's sister (from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series). Despite looking forward to the Christmas season in London, she finds herself travelling to Connemara in Ireland at the request of  an estranged Aunt who is gravelly ill.

Aunt Susannah leaves in a coastal village and soon Emily gets to meet its few inhabitants. There's a general sense of fear over a coming storm and Emily can't help but wonder why they are so worried. When the storm finally comes there is a shipwreck and only one man is saved. The villagers reaction leaves Emily puzzled until she finds out that 7 years before another ship was wrecked and another man was saved... one that was later murdered by someone from the village... Susannah's request is that Emily discovers who did murder that man 7 years ago so that peace can come to te village once more.

Emily, who had been missing the mysteries she was involved in with her sister in the past, starts her own investigation of who the victim was and what might have lead to his murder. She gets to know the people and their secrets and eventually follows a trail left by Susannah's late husband to know more about what really happened.

Although this was an easy and fast read I have to say that I found it less moving and interesting than previous stories in this same series. The mystery was a bit thin, we don't get to know the victim very well, there was little suspense involved and in the end it felt a bit unresolved. Perry's description of the scenery was ver interesting but the characters never really came alive. I think there should have been more about Aunt Susannah, her past with her husband and something about the celebration of Christmas.

Grade: 3/5


  1. I didn't even know that there were Christmassy books from Anne Perry. I have read just three of her mystery murders with Pitt and Charlotte and loved them.

  2. My favourite Anne Perry books are her series about WWI. But then, I write about WWI so there's an immediate connection. I've read a few of her Pitt novels and found them more formulaic and with less depth. A pity (no pun intended) given her obvious skills as a writer.

  3. Mystica, you much try these if you like the Pitt series. You can find reviews of most of Perry's christmassy books here on the blog. :-)

    Mary Tod, are you talking about No Grave As Yet and Shoulder The Sky? I haven't tried those yet but I mean too. Besides the Christmas books and the Pitt series I have only read the Monk series which is my favourite...