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Publisher's Summary

Superintendent Runcorn (Anne Perry fans will remember him as William Monk's ex-boss) is feeling rather lonely during his holiday on the remote, snowy island of Anglesey, off the northern coast of Wales. However, he is suddenly called into action when the sister of the local vicar is discovered murdered and draped over a gravestone in her brother's churchyard. Investigating this tragic crime with the assistance of the beautiful Melisande gives him just the opportunity he needs to spend time with an upper-class woman who normally wouldn't give him the time of day.

Interweaving the original Christmas story with her own holiday tale, Perry also explores the meaning of Joseph's secondary role, compared with that of Mary and Jesus. The novel ultimately shows that the seemingly less important people in our lives are sometimes more crucial than we realize.

©2007 Anne Perry (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"One of the best books to brighten the joyous season." ( USA Today)
"Runcorn's modest, unflashy ways carry this moody, understated mystery." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 05-02-13

Christmas Murder Mystery

The unusual coupling of murder and the Christmas holidays make this listen just delightful. It is a very enjoyable listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A good story well-read

I am a longtime Anne Perry fan and thoroughly enjoyed this story even though the usual cast is not around. The interior life of a middle-aged man who knows his shortcomings--who is in love with his soulmate btw--is sensitively and realistically drawn.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Education of the Heart

Deep exploration of the inner life of the main character with emotional coming of age congruent with his values and expanded sense of identity

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite of Anne Perry's Christmas Novellas

Would you consider the audio edition of A Christmas Beginning to be better than the print version?

As a person with disabilities that often leave one unable to hold a book or focus on the printed page, the audio edition is almost always my favorite.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Inspector Runcorn - I enjoy the several series of books written by Anne Perry, and it is a treat to have what some consider to be a minor/lesser character have an experience shared with the reader away from the main characters. It has been interesting to see the changes in Inspector Runcorn in the "William Monk" series, and in this book there's a delightful new side to his character.

Have you listened to any of Terrence Hardiman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I like Terrence Hardiman's work, and know if I find a book read by him I will most likely enjoy the book (at least, I know I will enjoy the narration).

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending. Just wished to hear Inspector Runcorn's 1st name.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating

I enjoyed listening to this novel. At no time was it boring. The pace was good and the narrator was excellent. The storyline had me from the very beginning and it was very hard to stop listening until I reached the end.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable Story

I liked this, I will read more of hers in this fashion. The main character is very likeable and it's great to be able to be inside his mind.