I love husband and wife detective teams particularly those set in historical times. Quite addicted really! This short novella is from one of my all-time favorite series, Lady Jane Grey, in which married pair Brisbane and Julia work their way through many a dark, gritty story. This particular installment in the series however, is of the lighter variety. Like other books in the series, this one needs to be read in order as many aspects of the storyline and the characters are ongoing in their development. In fact, the novella refers back to four previous storylines and the reader would probably feel off kilter several times when references are made.
It is a short piece and it takes place at the tail end of the holiday season just as the title suggests. The events are a continuation of the previous novella, Silent Night. Julia and Brisbane have spent the holidays at the Abbey with her huge eccentric family gathering for the Twelfth Night Revels play and celebration that take place every decade at the family seat performed by the March family for the people from the surrounding area. Dropped into the preparations are two mysteries to tantalize the detecting couple. First, a newborn baby is found out in the stable and then a ghost is spotted near an old empty cottage on the edge of the cemetery. With the help of a precocious niece, the mysteries are solved, but the answers will lead to a profound change for Brisbane and Julia.
Food poisoning, scandalous guests, mysterious newborn baby, a ghost, unique pets, hints at future twists, and just the fun of the holidays when the March family gathers are enough to leave me very pleased with this short piece. I am always eager for scenes with Brisbane and Julia together and I was not disappointed. Married life has not altered their need for each other or to track down the answers to a mystery and for this I am glad. Julia’s family gathering was another huge plus and I was particularly happy to get to know her niece and nephew who have a penchant toward mysteries too.
The length of the story pushes it to set up the mystery and solve it quickly, but I was pleased that it never felt rushed. As I noted above, there were many other events and characters developed further and deeper. It was an all around satisfying read that fans of the series will definitely enjoy, but also gather some great tidbits about the future direction of the story for Brisbane and Julia.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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