A Christmas Deliverance: A Novel

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Amy Watkin

Perry’s Victorian mystery, her 20th Christmas novella, features Will “Scuff” Monk, former Thames River mudlark and adopted son of Thames River Police detective William Monk and his wife, esteemed nurse Hester Monk. Though there are now 24 books in the Hester and William Monk series, this short book stands alone and is completely readable to those who may not have read the other Monk books.

Will “Scuff” Monk does appear in several books in the Monk series, but now he’s all grown up and working at Dr. Crowe’s free clinic, hoping to become a doctor himself and continue to serve the people who are poor, as he once was himself.

Dr. Crowe has fallen for Ellie, a wealthy former patient that he treated only by chance and now can’t get off his mind. Ellie is inexplicably engaged to a thoroughly immoral and unlikeable man who seems to be wrapped up in a scandal with Ellie’s father. As Crowe goes deeper into this mystery, he involves both Scuff and his adopted father, William Monk, and Scuff must balance his desire to prove himself as a doctor and his need to help his mentor, Crowe, while caring for Mattie, a child with no one else to turn to. Mattie reminds Scuff of his own lonely, destitute childhood on the river before the Monks took him in.

This book bumps along as a nice Christmas story with enough mystery, character development, and a hint of a love interest to keep you turning the pages.