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Review ❤️ The Ghost of Christmas Past by Rhys Bowen

November 14, 2017

the ghost christmas past rhys bowen

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.”

Release Date: Nov 14, 2017
Series:  Molly Murphy Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Minotaur
Price: $11.99


Private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage. She has stepped away from being a private detective to recover and accepts an invitation for her and her husband, Daniel, to attend a holiday gathering at a mansion in Scarborough, New York. Daniel wants his wife to relax, but Molly can’t turn her back on a cold case of a three-year old girl who disappeared from the house ten years ago. The case seems to be resolved when a young woman shows up at the door claiming to be that girl, but things are really just beginning.

I have read a few of this author’s “Royal Spyness” mysteries which are fun and lighthearted, but this is the first I’ve read in this series. I was surprised at the difference in tone. The case is interesting and I enjoy the historical aspect of the novel, since it takes place in New York in the early 1900s. However, because of the miscarriage and other tragedies that are hinted at in Molly’s past, the book is somewhat depressing, especially for a Christmas-themed mystery. I like Molly and her willingness to stand up for what she believes in and do what she thinks is right, even when her husband doesn’t agree. His behavior is probably typical of the times, but Daniel doesn’t make a good first impression. He seems controlling and judgmental, but as the book progresses, it’s clear he loves Molly in spite of disapproving of her friends and some of her causes.

The best part of the novel is when Molly and Daniel, a New York Police Detective are working on the case. Molly isn’t afraid to ask hard questions to get to the truth and starts getting some answers. I was able to figure out some of the things that were revealed during the investigation, but I love that there were surprising twists I’d never dreamed of. After the sad beginning to the book, I’m glad the ending was lighter and very touching and perfect for the holidays.

~ Christine


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