A Christmas Revelation
“Perry’s Victorian-era holiday mysteries [are] an annual treat.”—The Wall Street Journal
In this intriguing, uplifting holiday mystery from bestselling author Anne Perry, an orphan boy investigates a woman’s kidnapping—and discovers there’s more at stake than a disappearance.
It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without a holiday mystery decorated with all the Victorian trimmings, as only New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry can render it. Now the tradition continues as mayhem is once again found under the mistletoe, and intrigue stalks the cobblestone streets and gaslit parlors of old London Town.
Formerly a river urchin living on the banks of the Thames, nine-year-old Worm has never experienced a family Christmas. But thanks to a job at Hester Monk’s clinic in Portpool Lane, he’s found a makeshift family in kindly volunteer Miss Claudine Burroughs and curmudgeonly old bookkeeper Squeaky Robinson.
When Worm witnesses the abduction of a beautiful woman by a pair of ruffians just days before Christmas, he frantically turns to Squeaky for help. A one-time brothel owner, Squeaky knows the perils of interfering in nasty business, but he can’t bear to disappoint Worm—or leave the boy to attempt a rescue on his own. What neither of the would-be saviors expects, however, is that the damsel in distress already has her dilemma well in hand . . . and is taking steps to bring her captors to justice for crimes far worse than kidnapping. But the rogues, as cunning as they are deadly, are not to be underestimated. The aid of cynical old Squeaky and hopeful young Worm just might make the difference between a merry triumph over evil and a terrible yuletide tragedy.
Bestseller Perry's 16th Christmas-themed mystery (after 2017's A Christmas Return) is disappointingly unsophisticated. Worm, a nine-year-old orphan in 1860s London, is thunderstruck by a woman he spots on the street, who was "like sudden sunshine on a dark day the place you looked without even thinking about it, all light and warmth and softness." Worm follows her only to see her accosted by two men, who lead her into an unfamiliar part of the city. Desperate to come to her rescue, he seeks help from Squeaky Robinson, a reformed brothel owner, who now serves as the bookkeeper for the clinic on the property formerly occupied by the brothel. Suspecting that Worm witnessed a domestic dispute, Squeaky is reluctant to get involved, but of course he ends up joining Worm in pounding the pavements in search of the woman. The mystery of her situation is quickly revealed, and the drama of resolving it plays out in purely predictable ways. Hopefully, Perry will exhibit her usual depth of character and intricacy of plotting next time.
A Christmas Revelation by Anne Perry is the sixteenth novel in The Christmas Stories series. Worm lives at the clinic on Portpool Lane thanks to the kindly Claudine Burroughs. Worm is out and about one day when he witnesses a lovely lady get kidnapped by two men. Worm runs back to the clinic and reports the problem to Squeaky Robinson, the clinic’s accountant. Squeaky tries to distract Worm with preparations for Christmas, but he is not to be deterred. The next morning, the pair set out to find where the kidnappers are hiding the woman. They soon find her and learn that she has the situation well in hand. Eloise has plans for bringing the two men to justice for more serious crimes, but she could use their help. With the assistance of Worm and Squeaky, Eloise sets out to bag the criminals and make sure their stockings are filled with coal by local prison warden.
A Christmas Revelation is part of The Christmas Stories series, but it can be read as a standalone (I have not read any other book by this author). I found A Christmas Revelation to be a charming story. Worm is grateful to have a warm, safe place to live plus food in his belly. He has never experienced Christmas before and Squeaky wants to make sure Worm gets the full experience. I enjoy the interactions between Worm and Squeaky. I especially liked the scene where Squeaky was trying to explain Jesus to Worm. When Squeaky could not distract Worm from Eloise’s dilemma, he sets out to help the young lad. Squeaky is familiar with the ways of the street and has connections that can help them. I liked seeing Squeaky and Worm grow closer. I also appreciated that Worm is developing a sense of wrong and right now that he is living at the clinic. A Christmas Revelation contains good writing and steady pacing. I felt the author captured the time period with the language, clothing, buildings, conveyances, and how Christmas is celebrated during that time. I liked the reference to how they needed to obtain a Christmas tree thanks to Queen Victoria’s husband. I did feel the mystery was slightly disappointing and there was a loose thread or two at the end. It is a short book with only 177 pages which makes it the perfect type of book to read on a cold afternoon. A Christmas Revelation is an enticing Victorian Christmas mystery.