Title: A Christmas Visitor
Author: Anne Perry
Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: Headline, 2004
Rating: 3.5 Crowns
It is mid-December and Henry Rathbone travels to the Dreghorn family manor house near Ullswater. But despite the festive season and the beautiful surroundings, this is not a happy occasion: he is going to comfort the family following the death of his friend, the master of the house. It seems that Judah Dreghorn slipped while crossing a stream, and drowned. And when Henry arrives , he finds there is more than a widows grief to contend with.
Ashton Gower, recently released from jail, is slandering Judahs name, claiming that he was wrongfully imprisoned. Gower insists that his family owns the estate and the deeds which were proved to be forged, were in fact genuine.
To Henry and the remaining two Dreghorn brothers, also returning to the Lakes for Christmas, Judah's mysterious death and Gower's outrageous claims seem inevitably linked........the truth must be discovered.
Well known for her Victorian mysteries, author Anne Perry has also written a series called The Christmas Stories of which this is one. Of novella length, this one is 133 pages, they make perfect light and easy reading for the pre-Christmas season when time is limited and the mind is overloaded with things that need doing.
Set in the mid-1800's the atmosphere of Victorian England is very well portrayed as is the wild beauty of a snow-covered wintry Lake District . I imagined this would be a mystery against a background of yule log fires and giant Christmas trees in the hall, of sleighbells ringing and carollers singing, but I was proved wrong.
It's the story of a family confronting a huge moral dilemma............an opportunity to right a wrong and to take responsibility, to make right decisions even if it means great personal loss.
"Sometimes we bring to a struggle or a cause the gifts we see most clearly, a courage, a strength, or a charm others have told us we have. But often we find more is asked of us than that, more than we intended or thought we possessed. We are asked to offer that which we though dearest, to forgive what seemed unpardonable, to face what we feared the most and endure it."
Without in any way preaching it is a gentle reminder that beneath the outer trappings of the festive season lies the true spirit of Christmas ...........a Christmas visitor to make time for amidst all the noise and celebration.
I hope all the readers and reviewers at Royal Reviews have a very happy holiday season
Visit Cat @ Tell Me A Story