A cold case adds an extra chill to the holiday season as bestselling author Anne Perry whisks readers to an English country house for a Christmas of secrets, soul-searching, and forgiveness. As beautiful as it may be, their friends' country home is not where Lady Vespasia wishes to spend Christmas with her new husband, Victor Narraway. She'd rather pass a relaxing holiday at home with him--especially because Victor, former head of the London Special Branch, seems to be hiding some undercover dealings with the other guests who have gathered in the spacious home. As tensions grow among the couples, the young and beautiful Iris Watson-Watt becomes the center of several men's focus. Unbeknownst to Vespasia, Iris carries a message for Victor that may help unmask a British traitor. As Victor plots his moves, he is reminded of a similar case from twenty years before, when a young Frenchwoman also carried a clandestine message--one that resulted in her murder, still unsolved to this day. Victor has always been tormented by his failure to protect her--and now, with all eyes on Iris, Victor must act fast before history repeats itself. With the joy of Christmas at risk of being forgotten and Vespasia feeling alone on this holiday meant to be shared with loved ones, Victor must ultimately learn to forgive himself.
Sometimes the personal story of a particular author seems almost as intriguing as the books they write. Such is the life of British author Anne Perry (aka Juliet Marion Hulme). As a child Hulme was very ill with tuberculosis and ended up being fostered out by a family in the Caribbean. She did get better, and the family moved to a private island in New Zealand, where she describes her life as a Swiss family Robinson type existence. She became ill again and during her bouts of illness through her teen years, she missed most of her childhood education. However, her mother had prepared her by teaching her how to read and write by the time she was four. Her heart always seemed to be in writing.
At the age of 15, Juliet and her best friend plotted and killed her friend's mother. The three went for a walk in the park and Hulme dropped a stone, causing the mother to bend over to pick it up, and her friend hit her own mother on the head with a half brick. They had planned on the strike killing her, but they had to strike her 20 times before she was dead. The girls were put on trial and each served five years in prison. It is said that they never saw each other again after being released. For many years, nobody connected author Anne Perry as the teen murderer, Juliet Hulme. In 1994, the film Heavenly Creatures, portrayed Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker with characters being played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey respectively.
Perry's genre of writing covers Victorian Era Detective fiction for the most part. Her novels have been centered around two main characters, Thomas Pitt and William Monk. She has published 47 novels and several collections of stories.