“The Ghost of Christmas Past” by Rhys Bowen is book seventeen in the Molly Murphy series. New readers can catch up with events in the past books through references in the narrative, but it is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one.
The book is set in early 1900s New York. Molly Murphy Sullivan is recovering from depression (details in previous books) and is spending Christmas with friends at a mansion on the Hudson. Of course, since she is a private detective, she finds that the trip is far from relaxing. In fact, there is an unsolved mystery; a young child wandered out into the snow ten years previously and was never seen again. Then, on Christmas Eve, a young girl knocks on the door. It is Charlotte, and she has come home. Both Molly and her police detective husband Daniel are compelled to find out what really happened. In the process, they uncover a past filled with hidden secrets and treachery.
Bowen mixes in some politics and adds a few more dead bodies to make this little Christmas book both an intriguing mystery and an interesting look at Christmas at the turn of the twentieth Century.
I received a copy of “The Ghost of Christmas Past” from Rhys Bowen, St, Martin’s Press, and NetGalley. It is different “holiday” book, but still fills one with the holiday spirit. It is quick to read and definitely enjoyable