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A Christmas Guest: A Novel (The Christmas Stories) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 1, 2005
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Book Club Edition (November 1, 2005)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 193 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345483804
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345483805
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.43 x 0.89 x 7.54 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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When she arrives after an arduous all-day journey, she learns that Maude, a relative of Joshua's, will also be staying, as her family has a "very important" guest and cannot let her stay there. Although she is put off by Maude, who has spent over forty years traveling and living in less civilized parts of the world, she cannot help but be impressed by the woman's joie de vivre. One morning Maude is dead in her bed, suddenly and seemingly of natural causes. But Mrs. Ellison suspects foul play and is surprised to realize how much she had liked Maude in spite of herself. So, on pretext of informing the family personally, she sets out to solve the crime.
This book, like Anne Perry's other Christmas novels, is a gem. It brilliantly illustrates the customs and mores of the time while delving into the mind and heart of the protagonist and the very logical if reprehensible motive for the murder. By the time Grandmama has unmasked the killer, who cannot be prosecuted but will be ostracized for life, she has changed a great deal and learned that life can be enjoyed to the fullest if one allows herself to be. It took Scrooge Marley and three other ghosts to realize this; solving a crime did it for Granmama. I came to like and even admire her through the course of the novel, which I found impossible to put down.
Enjoy this book; it is one of Perry's small masterpieces.
To be honest, I could not imagine Grandmother as a sympathetic character. I do not want to give away much of the surprise for anyone who hasn't read this, but we see another side of the cranky old lady and we come to understand her better.
After seeing her in a different light, I'm curious as to how Perry portrays her in the upcoming Pitt novels. I hope she will allow Grandmother's character to grow- it would be a waste of great character if she doesn't.
A Christmas Guest is one of Perry's best efforts. There's a seemingly unsolvable mystery, a full cast of suspects, humor, a moral, and a great feeling of satisfaction after you've turned the last page.
A lovely book.
The Christmas novels have taken us into Christmases with amazing 'supporting' characters from the Monk and Pitt series -
This year's offering has Grandmama - from the Pitt series - Charlotte and Emily's grandmother, Caroline's former mother-in-law. She has never been a sympathetic character, even when we find out the horrid abuse she withstood by her husband - and the relief widowhood brought -
Grandmama is shipped out to former daughter-in-law's care for Christmas after Emily (whom she is living with) states she and her husband will leave with ALL the servants and spend the holiday in France, and the invitation does NOT include Grandmama - Grandmama is a cranky son of a gun, but I don't think Emily would act so abruptly - and to my recollection, the Pitts were not asked to care for Grandmama, only mentioned that Thomas Pitt was a 'lowly' policeman - I think the Pitts would have made room for Grandmama - that's neither here nor there -
Another lady has been rejected by her immediate family and shipped to Caroline's. Maude is a delightful lady who has had many adventures and fascinates her hosts and Grandmama (who wouldn't admit it at the time) with her stories - Maude is found dead and Grandmama thinks she was murdered - She goes to Maude's family's house not only to tell the family of her death, but to do some detecting ala Thomas Pitt - Maude and the lessons Grandmama learned transform her from the callous ungrateful woman to appreciating the world she is in -
As always, Mrs. Perry is a delight - and her works are a joy to read. And a gift to her fans -