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A Christmas garland : a novel
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"An annual treat," declared The Wall Street Journal of Anne Perry's Victorian-era holiday mysteries. Now she continues this magnificent tradition with A Christmas Garland, a yuletide tale set in exotic India. This time the mistress of mystery tells the story of a terrible crime that sets the stage for another: accusing an innocent man of murder.
The year is 1857, soon after the violent Siege of Cawnpore, with India in the midst of rebellion. In the British garrison, a guard is killed and an Indian prisoner escapes, which leads to yet more British deaths. Cries for revenge are overwhelming. Despite no witnesses and no evidence against him, a luckless British medical orderly named John Tallis is arrested as an accomplice simply because he was the only soldier unaccounted for when these baffling crimes were committed.
Though chosen to defend Tallis, young Lieutenant Victor Narraway is not encouraged to try very hard. Narraway's superiors merely want a show trial. But inspired by a soldier's widow and her children, and by his own stubborn faith in justice, Narraway searches for the truth. In an alien world haunted by memories of massacre, he is the accused man's only hope.
The trial of John Tallis equals the white-knuckle best of Anne Perry's breathtaking courtroom dramas. And thanks to a simple Christmas garland and some brilliant detective work, Narraway perseveres against appalling odds, learning how to find hope within himself--and turn the darkest hour into one full of joy and light.
A Christmas Homecoming
"Could have been devised by Agatha Christie . . . [Perry is] a modern master." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Vastly entertaining . . . uplifting and thought-provoking by turns." --The Star-Ledger
A Christmas Odyssey
"[Perry] writes with detail that invades the senses." --Lincoln Journal Star
A Christmas Promise
"Poignant . . . should be on the Christmas stocking list of anyone who likes a sniffle of nostalgia." --The Washington Times
A Christmas Grace
"[A] heartwarming, if crime-tinged, complement to the holiday season."-- Booklist
A Christmas Beginning
"Intriguing . . . Perry's use of period detail is, as always, strong and evocative." --The Seattle Times
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
When Lieutenant Victor Narraway arrives in Cawnpore, India, emotions are still raw from the 1857 Indian mutiny and the atrocities that rebels committed at the Bibighar. In addition, a prisoner, Dhuleep Singh, escaped, leading to the massacre of a British patrol. After an investigation, the army found that medical orderly Corporal John Tallis was the only man who didn't have an alibi during the escape. Tallis is being tried as a traitor, and the 20-year-old Narraway is to handle his defense. The army wants the trial and execution held quickly, and the commanding officer doesn't want Narraway making waves. Tallis, however, proclaims his innocence, and Narraway believes him. Narraway worries his inexperience will cost Tallis his life, but then with the help of two children, he cracks the case. This engaging historical mystery offers an introspective look at the character, Narraway, who will become the future boss of Thomas Pitt, star of Perry's long-running series. Perry's tenth Christmas novel is a winner.--O'Brien, Sue Copyright 2010 Booklist
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