Reviews for Christmas Secret : A Novel
Booklist Reviews 2006 November #1
Dominic and Clarice Corde, minor characters who fell in love in Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novel Brunswick Gardens (1998), are called to the small village of Cottisham in Oxfordshire, where Dominic is to replace Reverend Wynter, who unexpectedly went on holiday right before Christmas. While fetching coal from the cellar, Clarice discovers the vicar's body in the second cellar. Some holiday. Although the local doctor says Wynter died of natural causes, Clarice and Dominic don't agree and begin their own investigation as snow blankets the village. What secrets did Wynter know that may have caused his death? Along with rummaging about in the villagers' closets in search of a motive, the sleuths also deal with Dominic's lack of confidence in his abilities to minister to his flock this Christmas season. Engaging characters, a vivid sense of time and place, and a cozy setting add enjoyment to this Victorian mystery. ((Reviewed November 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 September #2
A vicar and his wife substitute for an Oxfordshire prelate on Christmas vacation.Anyone would leap at the chance to leave grimy 1890 London for the village of Cottisham, and Rev. Dominic Corde and Clarice, his bride of a year, are delighted to make the change. The locals are obviously attached to Rev. Wynter, the elderly vicar whose place Dominic will assume for the Christmas season, even though two of his closest friends have recently quarreled with him for reasons that remain obscure. Sir Peter Connaught, the local squire, speaks of their break more in sorrow than in anger, and John Boscombe, the vicar's former right-hand-man, doesn't speak of it at all. Soon enough Clarice discovers that Rev. Wynter's holiday took him no farther than the coke cellar, where he's lying with wounds that can't be explained by a heart attack or an accidental fall. Dr. Fitzpatrick, who examines the body, is heavily skeptical about the possibility of foul play, and Sir Peter recoils from the idea that the death could have anything to do with his family. Yet someone's professed love for the vicar was clearly a mask for something far more disturbing.As usual with Perry (Dark Assassin, 2006, etc.), the setup is more rewarding than the payoff. Apart from the mystery, however, the parable of sin and redemption rings true. Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2006 July #1
The vicar whom Dominic and Clarice Corde are replacing is supposed to be away on holiday, not lying dead in the stable. More Victorian Christmas suspense from Perry. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 2006 October #2
Best-selling mystery author Perry continues her yearly Christmas offering (A Christmas Journey) with this Victorian suspense tale. Dominic and Clarice Corde (from Brunswick Gardens) are due to take the place of a vacationing vicar but discover that instead of going on holiday the poor man has been brutally murdered. As the village becomes snowbound, the killer is still at large. Readers do not have to be familiar with Perry's mystery series to enjoy this story. For all mystery collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/06.] [Page 53]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 October #3
Perry's latest short Christmas novel is a well-written if unsurprising period mystery, set in late 19th-century England. Reverend Dominic Corde and his wife, Clarice, are at a turning point in their lives; a chance opportunity has given Dominic the temporary position as vicar of a small village in Oxfordshire, substituting for the incumbent, Reverend Wynter. Their hopes that the position might become permanent are both enhanced and threatened when Clarice discovers Wynter's murdered corpse in the cellar. The resolution is not particularly complicated, but Perry does a nice job of weaving in themes of forgiveness and redemption without being heavy-handed. (Dec.) [Page 31]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.