A Christmas Return

A Christmas ReturnA Christmas Return by Anne Perry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anne Perry’s books are always a delightful read with a very sweet happy ending.

This time I was introduced to a very sassy Mariah Ellison. The story takes place during the Christmas time. 20 year prior, a tragic accident ended a life of Mariah’s very good and dear friend, Cullen Wesley. The accident also caused a fall out between Mariah and Rowena, Cullen’s wife. And nothing would ever change if Mariah didn’t receive a cannonball in a Christmas pudding that followed by a letter from Rowena’s grandson. Peter invited Mariah to come back to Surrey and help him “complete” his grandfather’s last case that has been hovering over Rowena for the past 20 years.

Our short tempered Mariah is on her way to Surrey, where she reunites with Rowena and her grandson, Peter. Upon her arrival, our sassy grandmother learns the news – Dr. Owen Durward is back in Surrey, to clear his name and… to marry into a very wealthy family. Since Dr. Durward’s arrival a very unpleasant rumor being spread around little village. The rumor states that Cullen’s death was not an accident, but a horrific murder and the murderer is Cullen’s own wife – Rowena. Peter is determined to clear his grandmother’s name.

Now, let’s talk about a tragedy that took place 20 years prior in a quiet village of Surrey. A 14 year old girl went missing during the Christmas time and was found dead in the woods. A young girl was awfully violated. Owen Durward, a village doctor, was arrested and charged with her murder. Cullen Wesley, village attorney took Dr. Durward’s case. During the trial, Cullen came upon a similar tragedy that took place 5 years earlier only a few villages away. And guess who was a village doctor at that time? Coincidence? I think not. Owen Cullen was not arrested at that time, his married lover friend confirmed his whereabouts during the time of abduction/murder of a 12-year-old girl. Right after this dreadful discovery, Cullen has dropped Dr. Durward’s case, and hours later was found in his study, dead. The death was considerate an accident. However, Owen has spread the rumor that Rowena has killed her husband, as he refused to defend Owen because Dr. Durward and Rowena were engaged in a love affair. Phew, talk about drama!

England has a very interesting law, a person can’t be arrested and tried for the same murder twice. Dr. Durward has underestimated our little sassy and stubborn Meriah. Peter and Meriah followed Cullen’s steps 20 years later and discovered an unsolved murder in a neighbor village. Queer Dr. Durward was finally brought to justice. This time Owen was arrested, tried and hanged for the first murder he has committed 25 years ago.

This book receives 3 stars because of two questions that were not answered in the story. Who did send Mariah a cannonball in a Christmas pudding? And did Dr. Durward killed Cullen or was his death really an accident?

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