cozy mystery · Reviews

A Christmas Secret by Anne Pery

4.5 Hoots

A time period murder mystery about a vicar, his wife, and a small town.

As you know, I am trying to stick with the Christmas themed all this month…but I love murder mysteries. So, all month I have been reading books that combined them both. This book is a little different than the others I have read because it is a time period piece, but don’t worry…there is murder and the mention of Christmas.

Right from the start I was mesmorized by the way she wrote her characters. I could seriously picture every single one in detail almost like it was a movie. I don’t mean one of those Hallmark movies though, not that I don’t like Hallmark! (Good Witch fan here!) For a book set in the 1800s it was very entertaining. You have Dominic accepting the role of vicar in the idyllic little town but not everything is as it seems.

According to the Bishop, the town’s preacher went on vacation, so this would just be a temporary assignment for Dominic. At first you everything seems fine until Dominic’s wife realizes that the preacher left some over important items behind and decided to try and get them to the preacher. Clearly, something is wrong when the true location of the preacher cannot be found. It isn’t until Clarice goes down to get coal to heat their house that the truth is revealed….the preacher never went on vacation, in fact he never left his house, he was murdered! See, I promised there would be murder!

What happens next is a chain of events that reveals more than one secret that this town is hiding. Overall, I did adore this book. It was a very quick read and even though it was book 4 in the series it could be read as a standalone. I loved the “who done it” feel of the book. I enjoyed seeing (well, reading about) Dominic and Clarice trying to piece together what really happened. Every encounter with one of the parishioners revealed small secrets that the town was hiding…okay maybe some of the secrets were much bigger than others.

It did feel like the big reveal was kind of rushed in the end. Do not get me wrong, I was surprised! But it seemed just seemed like the ending was very fast. For the most part the book was at a steady pace and then BAM! Dominic realized who the killer was at the same time the killer revealed themselves to Clarice….that’s why it lost half a star.

As far as the Christmasy portion of the book… It was minor. The book did not leave me with a warm Christmas feeling. The only times it was mentioned was when Dominic was thinking about his Christmas sermon. The final message he had for his sermon was pleasant, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for when I wanted Christmas themed books. BUT this was still a great murder mystery.

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