Sunday, October 30, 2011


“Surely Christmas is the season in which to believe in miracles? The Son of God came to earth as a little child, helpless and dependent, just as we all are, even when we least think so. Does it not follow that the creatures of evil must also be knocking at the door, waiting for someone to allow them in?”

Anne Perry’s A Christmas Homecoming celebrates a strong woman in an unusual setting.

Caroline Fielding, her husband Joshua, and his troop of actors agree to stage an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula during the Christmas season. They travel to a mansion in Whitby, not far from where the fictional Dracula’s coffin washed ashore.

A snow storm sets in, trapping them, the family, and the family’s servants in the mansion. A stranded visitor appears. He is subsequently murdered. And this leaves Caroline Fielding, Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Pitt's mother-in-law, to solve the crime.

“Do we not all feed upon each other, at times, in some fashion?” one character asks, and that’s what happens in this novel.

As the acting troop works out the play, they delve into the dramatic nature of evil. Then actual evil comes to visit.

This evil was among them all along. It had rested in a nasty backstory. And it had found its way into the open at Christmas.

Somewhere in the story, a character quotes Yeats: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” When I went back to pinpoint the quote in Perry's novel, it eluded me. But Yeats’ quote summarizes this story.

Anne Perry is a marvel. She writes such a variety of Christmas stories. This brief book is among her most unusual.

I ordered this book from The Mystery Guild.


carolsnotebook said...

I read one of her Christmas books and didn't enjoy it. I may have to give them another chance though.

Joe Barone said...

We all have different tastes. That's what makes the world go round. The homecoming at Christmas in this book was a homecoming of evil. That's what fascinated me.