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A Christmas guest : a novel
2005
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Summary
Anne Perry has dazzled readers for decades with her gripping Victorian novels and has won new fans with her acclaimed World War I series. Perry's thrilling Christmas novels, recent additions to her unique repertoire, are set in the most joyous season of the year.

In A Christmas Guest, Mariah Ellison, better known as the vinegar-tongued Grandmama from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, makes a stunning appearance in a bracing story full of devious delight . . . and certain death.
For Grandmama Ellison, Christmas is no reason to celebrate. And when her daughter and son-in-law plan a Christmas vacation to Paris sans hers truly, the cantankerous Grandmama is forced to stay elsewhere--and travels to the chilly, windswept Romney Marshes to spend the holiday with Charlotte Pitt's parents, Caroline and Joshua Fielding.

Grandmama is immediately miserable. For starters, Christmas with the Fieldings is nothing like the cultured life to which she's accustomed, and the Romney Marshes are unbearably provincial. When Joshua's cousin Maude Barrington arrives, Grandmama is at her wit's end. Although Maude is well traveled and friendly, Grandmama thinks she's improper and strange. But when Maude is found lifeless in bed, Grandmama senses foul play and takes it upon herself to assume the role of amateur detective--uncovering not only the truth about Maude Barrington but some startling truths about herself as well.

Enlivened with bold characters and vivid, witty writing, A Christmas Guest is yet another holiday novella with the perfect combination of mystery and murder mixed with a generous helping of yuletide cheer.
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Booklist Review
What was supposed to be another proper English holiday spent in her granddaughter's home turns out to be anything but for Mariah Ellison, in the latest installment of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Christmas series. Against her wishes, the already cantankerous Mariah, called Grandmama throughout, is shoved off to spend the holiday with Caroline, the wife of her late son, and Joshua, Caroline's new husband, in the nippy shore town of Romney Marshes. Grandmama decides not to let anything please her--not the lovely home, not the excellent help, and especially not a surprise visit by Joshua's Aunt Maude, present only because no one else would have her. Maude regales her hosts with tales of her travels, but Grandmama, though secretly fascinated by the stories, abhors Maude's clumsy appearance and abrupt nature. Even when Grandmama finds Maude's body cold and dead, she is incensed that her holiday should be ruined by an unseemly upset. Nonetheless, Grandmama takes to solving the case herself and, predictably though no less charmingly, undergoes a Grinch-like transformation in the process, finding the meaning of Christmas after all. Lightweight fare, certainly, but ably constructed by genre veteran Perry and sure to please those who enjoy holiday-season mysteries. --Mary Frances Wilkens Copyright 2005 Booklist
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