cover image A Christmas Homecoming

A Christmas Homecoming

Anne Perry. Ballantine, $18 (224p) ISBN 978-0-345-52463-8

Perry’s fine ninth Victorian Christmas mystery (after 2010’s A Christmas Odyssey) takes Caroline Fielding, the mother-in-law of Insp. Thomas Pitt of Scotland Yard (the lead of Perry’s main series), to the town of Whitby, in York, where Dracula came ashore in Stoker’s recently published horror novel. Caroline and her actor husband, Joshua, are the guests of Charles Netheridge, whose daughter, Alice, has adapted Stoker’s book for the stage. Joshua, who’s brought the lead actors in his acting company to the Netheridges’ huge mansion, hopes to parlay Alice’s Dracula, to be performed for the locals at Christmas, into Charles’s financial backing for the coming theatrical season. Then a mysterious stranger shows up at their snowbound door seeking refuge: Anton Ballin, who alarmingly resembles the vampire king himself. While Ballin makes some staging suggestions that improve the play, his arrival provides the catalyst for bloodshed. Caroline proves herself an astute sleuth in this challenging whodunit. (Nov.)