A Christmas Garland

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Pamela Ortega

This year’s holiday mystery from Anne Perry takes place in mid-nineteenth century India. A desperate and bloody rebellion has just been put down by the British and at Christmas, the garrison at Cawnpore is still recovering from its brutality and struggling with devastated morale. During the local rebellion, a prison guard is murdered when a political prisoner escaped. Only one soldier, John Tallis, was unaccounted for and he is to face trial for his life since no one else had the opportunity or access to the prisoner. Is he truly guilty or a necessary sacrifice to revenge the rebellion and heal the garrison’s psychic wounds?

Young Lt. Victor Narraway, new to India and without any legal experience, is appointed to investigate and defend Tallis. To make matters even worse, the murder took place in a classic locked room with no witnesses and virtually no clues. Narraway has only his wits, reasoning power, and a strong sense of honor to find the truth in the seemingly insoluble crime. That, and the example of a brave young widow to carry on in the face of overwhelming odds. This is a sweet, heartwarming story.