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Sunday 20 December 2015

'A Christmas Escape' by Anne Perry

Published by Headline,
22 October 2015.
ISBN 978-1-4722-1951-0 (HB)

The skill of establishing characters and atmosphere is shown to perfection here by Anne Perry. This is a novella of 150 pages but the story develops very quickly.  The leading character has appeared in the William Monk series where his sister, Hester, is married to William.   Charles Latterley arrives on the volcanic island of Stromboli just before Christmas in 1866 and travels by donkey cart up to a hostelry near to the volcano.

He meets his Italian host and a disparate group of fellow guests - all English - and gets to know them as the volcano makes occasional rumbles and belches out smoke.   One of the group is found murdered - Charles and 2 others go out to discover his body is in an outhouse while the rest shelter in the cellar.   Suddenly the threat of eruption can be seen as serious and the group must escape down the mountain to the port below.   The initial mystery is obvious but there are other puzzles to elucidate too while staying alive!  A fascinating story to read!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Anne Perry has 2 lengthy series set in Victorian England  and a WW1 series too.  The Christmas novellas have a number of entries also.

Anne Perry was born in Blackheath, London England in October 1938.  Anne had various jobs but there was never anything she seriously wished to do except write. Her publishing career began with The Cater Street Hangman. Published in 1979, this was the first book in the series to feature the Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his well-born wife Charlotte. It was filmed and broadcast on ITV featuring a young Keely Hawes. Midnight At Marble Arch is the latest in the series, released September 2012. In 1990, Anne started a second series of detective novels with The Face of a Stranger. These are set about 35 years before and feature the private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly. The most recent of these (18th in the series) is Blind Justice (April 2013). Anne won an Edgar award in 2000 with her short story "Heroes". The main character in the story features in an ambitious five-book series set during the First World War. The last of these was recently published, in Autumn 2007. Anne’s most recent stand-alone is The Sheen on the Silk, set in the exotic and dangerous world of the Byzantine Empire, and is a critical success.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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