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by Anne Perry
Ballantine, November 2014
176 pages
ISBN: 0345548469

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Anne Perry's latest novella makes the leap across the pond from England to New York City, where 23-year-old Jemima Pitt (daughter of series characters Thomas and Charlotte Pitt) has traveled, accompanying an acquaintance, 19-year-old Delphinia "Phinnie" Cardew. The younger girl is to marry in New York City, into the wealthy Albright family.

For Jemima, the month-long trip, which takes place during the Christmas holidays in 1904, promises to be an adventure, as well. But it's not quite the adventure she had planned. The powerful Albrights care too much about keeping the family name clear of any possible taint, and one of the Albright sons is afraid that Phinnie's estranged mother may ruin the wedding. Jemima, trying to help find Phinnie's mother, lands in jail, accused of murdering her.

She is soon released. But with the Albrights and Phinnie acting coldly toward Jemima, and her father too far away for help, Jemima has only one person to turn to: Police Officer Patrick Flannery, who believes Jemima. Together, the two set out to prove her innocence.

In Jemima, Perry brings us a smart, engaging protagonist. It's not necessary to have read the Pitt books in order to immediately understand, and like, the young woman. She's learned enough from her father, a detective now in the Special Branch, to hold her own in any investigation. As in the rest of Perry's Christmas novellas (this is now the 12th), the theme of love, forgiveness and redemption flows through it.

While there are some flaws - the identity of the killer is obvious almost from the beginning - Perry's novella still carries enough tension to keep a reader hooked. In fact, you might want to set aside a few hours during this holiday season, as the story is entirely captivating.

Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, November 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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