A Christmas Beginning
Superintendent Runcorn of the Metropolitan Police has come to Anglesey to escape the loneliness of the Christmas season and his memories of Melisande, with whom he fell desperately in love the previous year. His efforts are in vain as he immediately meets Melisande’s brother John Barclay and learns of Melisande’s presence in Anglesey—she is now engaged to another man. When the Vicar of Anglesey’s sister is found murdered and Barclay is implicated in the crime, Melisande asks Runcorn to help clear her brother’s name.
This is one of Anne Perry’s Christmas novellas and features characters from her other mystery novels. While it helps to have some background in her previous characters and stories, this need not deter a new reader from her books. We learn enough about Runcorn to make him a well-rounded character. The detailed descriptions of the weather, people, and landscape evoke just the right atmosphere for a Christmas murder mystery. This is not so much nail-biting suspense as a story of love and hope set against a background of death and deceit. Well worth reading.