cover image A Christmas Revelation

A Christmas Revelation

Anne Perry. Ballantine, $20 (192p) ISBN 978-0-399-17994-5

Bestseller Perry’s 16th Christmas-themed mystery (after 2017’s A Christmas Return) is disappointingly unsophisticated. Worm, a nine-year-old orphan in 1860s London, is thunderstruck by a woman he spots on the street, who was “like sudden sunshine on a dark day—the place you looked without even thinking about it, all light and warmth and softness.” Worm follows her only to see her accosted by two men, who lead her into an unfamiliar part of the city. Desperate to come to her rescue, he seeks help from Squeaky Robinson, a reformed brothel owner, who now serves as the bookkeeper for the clinic on the property formerly occupied by the brothel. Suspecting that Worm witnessed a domestic dispute, Squeaky is reluctant to get involved, but of course he ends up joining Worm in pounding the pavements in search of the woman. The mystery of her situation is quickly revealed, and the drama of resolving it plays out in purely predictable ways. Hopefully, Perry will exhibit her usual depth of character and intricacy of plotting next time. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Nov.)