In the latest of Anne Perry's Christmas novellas, Jemima Pitt, twenty-three-year-old daughter of Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, travels to New York with her young friend, Delphinia Cardew. Delphinia is on her way to marry Brent Albright at Christmas time, and her father is too ill to make the trip. At just nineteen, she needs Jemima as a companion and chaperone.
Once in the opulent home of the Albright family, Jemima soon learns that Delphinia's absent mother did not die when Delphinia was young, but merely left, for reasons no one wants to discuss. When Brent's older brother Harley explains that Maria Cardew has led a scandalous life, and is new in New York, possibly planning to disrupt the wedding, Jemima is happy to agree to help find her, and persuade her to stay away.
This is, of course, a terrible mistake.
When Jemima finds Maria Cardew dead, she is soon in deep trouble and scrambling to use skills learned from observing her parents in order to learn the truth. Along the way, she meets a young man who may change her life, if it doesn't end very abruptly first.
This is, like all Perry's Christmas stories, a mystery tightly contained in both location and participants. Character development outside the most essential characters is light, but not absent. Jemima herself is smart, sensible, and clear-eyed. It's fun to see her explore the alien world of New York City, discovering the ways it does and doesn't resemble London.
If you've enjoyed the previous Christmas stories, you'll certainly enjoy this one. Recommended.
I bought this book.