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‘A Christmas Vanishing’ By Anne Perry

Mariah Ellison has been invited to spend Christmas with her old friend Sadie and Sadie’s husband Barton. She travels by train from London to the quaint village of St. Helens, glad for a break from the city. She is shocked when to arrive at Sadie’s home just to find out that Sadie is not there! Barton quickly turns Mariah out on the street, claiming he knew nothing of her visit and that it would be inappropriate of him to give her a room. She soon finds lodging with Gwendolyn Cooper, the younger sister of another friend from Mariah’s past.

Mariah is concerned for her old friend. Though at first the town tries to dismiss Sadie’s disappearance as a lapse in her memory or the business of the holiday season or a self-imposed disappearance to be dramatic (as she has a history of being), Mariah’s gut tells her something is not quite right. Has Sadie run away because of issues with her husband? Has she been kidnapped? Or worse?

As Mariah and Gwendolyn start to nose their way through the town gossip trying to figure out what might have happened to Sadie, Mariah meets Oliver, the owner of a small bookshop in town. She confides in Oliver her concerns for Sadie, finding him difficult to lie to, and Oliver takes her seriously. He soon becomes an aid in the search for Sadie.

But as is often true, there is more than meets the eye to this small town and its residents. Even Mariah herself is not all that she appears to be. Throughout the story, we see the power that secrets can have on people, especially if there is a threat those secrets may be revealed.

Fans of Anne Perry’s books may recognize Mariah Ellison as the grandmother of Charlotte Pitt, the main character in thirty-two of Perry’s best-selling novels. In true Perry fashion, this novella is full of suspense up to the final pages. It also is a reminder of second chances and forgiveness, a beautiful sentiment during the holiday season.

Anne Perry passed away in April of 2023.


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