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Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house's atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple's young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again.
Molly can identify with the mother's pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. "I'm Charlotte," she says. "I've come home."
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wayne on 12-23-17
Wonderful light historical mystery!
I must start by admitting there is a very special place in my heart for the historical mystery novels of author Janet Quin-Harkin writing using the pen name of Rhys Bowen. First there was her Constable Evan Evans series beginning in 1999 followed by her Molly Murphy series beginning in 2001of which this novel is the 17th then followed by Her Royal Spyness series with the 12th novel to be published next summer and finally this year's possible standalone WWII novel In Farleigh Field. The lady is 76 years old and she continues to prolifically write wonderful historical mystery novels.
The Molly Murphy series starts with Molly being a very young private detective in Great Britain. The early novels were light and fun, but then she moves to the US and gets married to policeman Daniel Sullivan and has a son. Then she and her family are caught in the San Francisco earthquake in a harrowing experience. The Ghost of Christmas Past finds Molly and their two year old son in New York with her husband just returning from a brief assignment with the federal government in Washington DC to hopefully his police captains job in New York. The year is likely 1908, but the novel does not make the year clear. Molly is deeply depressed grieving a miscarriage and it is the Christmas season. The Sullivan family along with their Irish governess are invited to spend the holiday with a wealthy family outside NYC. This novel is not so much about Christmas as about a complex web of criminal issues related to the family they are visiting for the holiday. Molly Murphy Sullivan quickly adapts to her detective self and works toward resolving the issues helping her overcome her grieving.
Rhys Bowen packs a lot of action and complexity into this shorter than usual 7 hour audio novel. As always with this series British voice over actress Nicola Barber narrates superbly. All of Bowen's series have different narrators and all are great, but Her Royal Spyness narrator Katherine Kellgren is my favorite.
Each novel and each short story in her series are standalone, but to fully appreciate one of her series read the novels in order.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Sundance Metelsky on 12-22-17
Great Molly Murphy!
Rhys Bowen writes a more upbeat story with this book than some of her other recent works. Some of her other Molly Murphy mysteries are too upsetting and disturbing. This one has the vibrant Molly and her family and friends without too much angst. It was more enjoyable to read.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful