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A Christmas Beginning    by Anne Perry order for
Christmas Beginning
by Anne Perry
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Olivia Costain is found brutally murdered on the lovely island of Anglesey off the north coast of Wales. Superintendent Runcorn is spending the Christmas season there for a break from his routine of investigating London crime. Little did he expect to be the one to discover the poor woman's dead body.

His investigation begins with the discovery and continues even after he experiences the local Chief Constable's displeasure at his presence. His distress at the murder of one so young is mitigated by the pleasure of learning that Melisande Ewart,a woman he met in the course of an investigation in London, is one of the local residents.

Runcorn feels very much out of place the locals not taking him for a gentleman, therefore not one of them. He is sure that Melisande will not consider him favorably as she has accepted the Chief Constable's offer of marriage.

Being able to connect with Runcorn's thoughts as he ruminates about the crime and the people involved is an absolute delight. He is a finely drawn character with the self-doubt that we all harbor. A very likeable and honorable man. The contributing characters move on and off stage at regular intervals and move the plot along nicely.

The setting - the island of Anglesey - is an engaging sounding spot that goes on my must-see list. A Christmas Beginning is Perry's fifth novel in her popular Christmas series. She is also the author of two of my favorite series featuring William Monk, and Thomas and Charlotte Pitt.

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