A mysterious stranger sends the Narraways on a dangerous pilgrimage...
A Christmas Message is a tantalising festive tale from Anne Perry, the master of Victorian crime. Perfect for fans of C. J. Sansom and Ann Granger.
Christmas 1900. Victor Narraway, Thomas Pitt's former boss, and his new wife Vespasia are travelling by train from Jaffa to Jerusalem. Although enjoying their time together and the interesting people they meet, Vespasia soon becomes concerned that someone is watching their every move.
When one of their new acquaintances is found murdered, the only clue is a mysterious piece of parchment written in a foreign tongue, and a message imploring Narraway to continue the stranger's quest. Sensing its importance, Narraway and Vespasia decide to fulfil their dead friend's wish.
Continuing to Jerusalem with the parchment in hand, they quickly find themselves embroiled in danger. With Vespasia's fears suddenly realised and a watcher on their trail, will Narraway and Vespasia's fates follow that of their friend or can they make it to Jerusalem unscathed?
What readers are saying about A Christmas Message:
'As always I was lost in the extraordinary events'
'It is an extraordinary story and so gripping'
Metaphysical concerns weigh down bestseller Perry's unsatisfying 14th Christmas-themed mystery (after 2015's A Christmas Escape). In 1900, Victor Narraway, the former head of London's Special Branch, gives his wife, Vespasia, a trip to Jerusalem, a present whose "spiritual resonance" surprises her. On a stopover in Jaffa, the pair encounter a kind old man at their hotel, but when they return to their lodging on the following evening, Victor finds the man with his throat slit and his room ransacked. Meanwhile, Victor discovers a piece of parchment in his jacket pocket evidently from the dead man. Folded within the parchment is an unsigned note beseeching Victor to deliver it to "House of Bread on the Via Dolorosa" by Christmas Eve. The Narraways feel morally obliged to fulfill the request, a choice that places their lives in danger from a shadowy menace. The heavy-handed spiritual struggle the couple subsequently endures leaves the reader with the sense that the important themes Perry explores would have been better suited to a longer work.