A Christmas Odyssey

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Susan Zabolotny

Anne Perry’s Christmas novellas have quickly become a tradition for her legion of fans. A Christmas Odyssey is her eighth book in the series featuring characters from her Monk and Pitt mysteries. This story opens a few days before Christmas in Victorian London. The wealthy James Wentworth has asked his old friend, Henry Rathbone, for help. James’ son, Lucien, has slipped from a life of wealth and privilege to the dark world of dangerous drugs, deviate sexual behavior, and murder. Henry knows nothing of the workings of this world and goes to Hester Monk for advice. It is here that he meets Squeaky Robinson, a reformed brothel owner, who now takes care of Hester’s books at the Portpool Lane Clinic. Squeaky knows too much about this terrible place to ever want to return, but can’t bring himself to send Henry there alone. Through association with Squeaky, a compassionate slum doctor known as Crow joins them. The three of them take on this world of dark characters and ruined lives, and it is here that they find Bessie, a young girl who has not yet been destroyed by the vices of this underworld. She leads them to Lucien, but getting him to leave this place is another matter. Throughout the story we are given glimpses of the good in people who are thought to be beyond redemption. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to curl up with a good read on a quiet afternoon.