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A Christmas Beginning (Christmas Stories #5)

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  990 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Superintendent Runcorn is on holiday on a remote island off the coast of Wales, but he is suddenly called into action when the sister of the local vicar is discovered murdered and draped over a gravestone in her brothers churchyard. Investigating this tragic crime with the assistance of the beautiful Melisande gives him just the opportunity he needs to spend time with an u ...more
Audiobook, 0 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Findaway World (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,532)
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Apr 30, 2015 Sharyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy these short little christmas stories, even though I am Jewish. They are good character studies and you needn't have read the series, although there are some spoilers. I have not read the Monk series, but still enjoyed Superintendent Runcorn and his dilemmas. The christmas stories always have a happy ending, usually involving a love story. I listen to the audio books, which are usually short, though I did read the most recent, Jemima's story, even though I am only on about number 5 of the ...more
Ana T.
Superintendent Runcorn--who Anne Perry fans will remember as William Monk's ex-boss--is feeling rather lonely during his holiday on the remote, snowy island of Anglesey, off the north 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 ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this mystery novel rather tedious and somewhat implausible. I liked the main character, Superintendent Runcorn, and some of the minor characters were interesting. Perhaps the murder victim, a free-spirited young woman named Olivia Costain, would have been the most interesting of them all, but she meets an untimely end soon after the story begins.

Runcorn happens to be taking a vacation from the London police force. He is staying on an island off the coast of Wales before the Christmas hol
Mar 29, 2014 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saw it on the library shelf, couldn't help myself. The story of Superintendent Runcorn, an associate of Monk's, away for the Christmas season on the Isle of Anglesey when the vicar's sister is brutally murdered. Weaving his way between her three suitors and the other possible suspects with motives, Runcorn works to solve the case and keep his promise to Melisande, the widowed sister of one of the suitors who Runcorn knew (and loved) from an investigation in London. Aside from referring to Monk t ...more
Lisa C
Feb 24, 2009 Lisa C rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, audiobook
Clearly a book written for fans of an existing series of which I have never read, and given the weakness of plot in this "valentine," now won't bother with.
Betty Strohecker
A Christmas Beginning finds Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard spending the holiday on the Welsh island of Anglesey. In an attempt to get away from the noise and crime of London, Runcorn has time in this peaceful community to reflect on his life and work. Soon after arrival, he is surprised to pass a gentleman who was a reluctant witness in one of his murder cases. If not for John Barclay's widowed sister, the case might never have been solved. Runcorn was impressed by a woman of her statio ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, xmas
A Christmas Beginning is corollary to the William Monk and Hester Latterly mysteries (which I've never read, but enjoyed this one). Our detective is Superintendant Runcorn, on vacation (holiday) on a British Island. He is friends with Wm Monk, used to be his boss. He thinks of Monk, who is in London.

The writing style is more about observation, than dialog or action. Everyone's delicate with each other's feelings, judging by an eyebrow raise, or what have you. People always assume the unspoken co
Nov 24, 2014 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio recording of the book. I was unable to care too much for the main character, Runcorn. At times, he was indecisive and a bit of a namby-pamby. (?) It is set in Victorian times but that rings untrue as the main character discusses topics such as abortion and a woman being a lesbian, without any censorship. This doesn't seem correct given the time period of the book. Also, it was fairly clear from the introduction of the characters and one scene, who the murderer is; however ...more
I picked out 2 Anne Perry books to sample from the library. This one from the Christmas series is like a cute mini-book - just a little bigger than a 5 x 7 note-card and a quick read. In this story Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard is spending Christmas on the wild and beautiful island of Anglesey off the north coast of Wales. On one of his daily walks he finds a beautiful woman in the village churchyard stabbed to death. It is Olivia Costain, the local vicar’s younger sister. Runcorn also ...more
Anne Wright
A Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry

I gave this 5 out of 5

Loved the book its a short story but complete for all that. The story is based on Anglesey and I have been there since the first time I read the book so I could visualise the area and feel the atmosphere.

A wonderful story of murder, possessiveness, Hate, fear, and of course Love.

The Vicar's sister is murdered and there are three possible suspects. Runcorn our policeman who is on holiday is drawn into following the clues to find out who is
Dec 07, 2013 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superintendent Runcorn faces a bleak and lonely Christmas and decides to spend it in the wilds of Anglesey but surprisingly he runs across a lady from his past that he desperately and passionately loves and also her disapproving brother.
Amidst the background of this brooding love a local girl is found brutally and horrifically murdered, though on holiday Runcorn starts to conduct his own investigation after the inept attempts of the local police fail to turn up anything concrete.
After careful se
A Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry is the 5th book of her Christmas mystery series. Each book in the series is set at Christmastime, yet stands alone (does not continue the plot from the previous book). Each story features a secondary character from the Thomas Pitt or William Monk mystery series set in Victorian England.

In A Christmas Beginning, Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard (from the William Monk series) leaves London for a solitary Christmas holiday on the island of Anglesey, off t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A CHRISTMAS BEGINNING (Hist-Super. Runcorn-Wales-Victorian) - VG
Perry, Anne – 5th Christmas book
Ballantine Books, US Hardcover, 2007 – ISBN: 9780345485823

First Sentence: So this was the Isle of Anglesey.

*** Superintendent John Runcorn has come to Anglesey in Wales to spend Christmas alone. He didn’t expect to become involved in the murder investigation of the local vicar’s sister. Nor, did he expect to run into Melisande Ewart, a woman Runcorn knew from a murder he’d investigated in London and n
Feb 12, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most people, especially female mystery fans.
Recommended to Paul by: no one
I picked up this book because of the dust jacket -- the synopsis on the back, and the snow on the front (which meshed with the record snow Baltimore was experiencing as I read this). The story had nothing to do with snow, but I liked it anyway.

The background is somewhere in the British Isles, perhaps in the late 1800's? The story revolves around the investigation surrounding the murder of a young woman (a unique event in this locale).

I am unfamiliar with this author, but I was favorably impresse
"A Christmas Beginning" is another of Anne Perry's Victorian Christmas mysteries, with themes of passion and redemption.

Superintendent Runcorn, a bachelor with no family to spend Christmas with, decides to holiday on Anglesey Island off the coast of Wales. While taking a walk, enjoying the peace and serenity of the land, he comes upon a ghastly sight--the body of the vicar's sister, Olivia, who has been stabbed to death.

Runcorn reluctantly agrees to help investigate the girl's death when he me
Oct 07, 2014 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Perry's Christmas stories are often subtly holiday tales, engaging themes of love, forgiveness, generosity, and reconciliation in a mystery set near Christmas. This, like the other tales, confronts violence - always unseasonable - secrets, responsibility, and love. A fine read to remember what is truly important in our holiday season, and not overloaded with fantasy holiday celebration details.
Dec 21, 2015 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
In our house, we call any movie a 'Christmas movie' if it has a scene, or occurs around the time, or references Christmas. This was that kind of 'Christmas' book.

I chose this as a gift off the library cart, with no idea that it was about a character from one of the authors series.

It is short. While I liked some of the characters well enough, I didn't really care about any of them. The setting (an island off Wales) was somewhat interesting. The class distinctions and prejudices became a little ti
Dec 16, 2015 Marge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've liked most of these Christmas mystery novellas by Anne Perry and this was no exception. Inspector Runcorn, from the Monk series, discovers a body while in Wales on his Christmas holiday. His attempting to solve the murder is actually more interesting than the actual revealing of the murderer. But it's still a good read, especially at this time of year.
Sep 06, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about William Monk’s former boss, Runcorn. He is a very unhappy lonely man who has nowhere to go at Christmas time, so he takes a two week vacation on an island off the north coast of Wale. While there, he stumbles across a body in the cemetery. The book fills in some of his personal history and why he has always hated Monk.
Dave Hoff
Mar 12, 2014 Dave Hoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So glad to find this series of Anne's, Something about her fiction who-dun-it that makes enjoyable reading. This one could also have been in the Monk & Hester series, but even more readable. Cases get solved just before Christmas, tho. Christmas not really part of the plot, Runcorn vacationing in Wales.
Mishka Jenkins
Sep 28, 2014 Mishka Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really quite enjoyed this book, made for a good afternoon reading. Nothing to hard to follow, well written, and some great characters. It was interesting to read about how all the people on the small island were weaved together.

I would definitely recommend for some light weekend reading.
Apr 27, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Okay, I love Anne Perry, but this is the first of the Christmas series I've read. And there is something a bit odd, I finally thought, about a book about murder placed in a cozy Christmas setting. Well, possibly not cozy; the wind was bleak and the society perhaps bleaker. It read as one of those...books that go on after the main book is done, but in the reader or author's mind. And I don't believe I read the main book referenced, in which Runyon first meets Melisande.
What I love about Perry is
Mar 13, 2008 Sumi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was short book featuring one of the minor characters from Anne Perry's Monk series and seems to take place after 'Dark Assassin'.

Superintendent Runcorn, who was beginning to show a change of character in 'Dark Assassin' is spending Christmas in Anglesey where he becomes involved in investigating a murder and renewing his acquaintance with Melissande (sp?) Ewert.

It's not the best example of Anne Perry's work. I didn't particularly care for all of Runcorn's personal ruminations and I thought
Charlene C
I love Anne Perry. This was a quick easy read, but still held all the charm of her writing style. There's really little to do with Christmas, except for the time of year. I am always happy to discover something new by her, and will look for more of these little gems! :)
Dec 22, 2012 Knitme23 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the second Anne Perry Christmas novel (tho maybe not. Maybe it's another Victorian era writer whose work I dissed earlier--I will check). Found this one at the church rummage sale and thought I'd try 50 cents' worth of Christmas cheer.

It wasn't even 5 cents' worth, though I did read it as my first vacation book (didn't have time to get to the library before it closed and I was feeling lost, having finished Michelle Cooper's FitzOsborne series). It involved Runcorn and a grisly m
May 08, 2015 T rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked this book up, I thought that it would be a Christmas romance because of the title. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a mystery. The fact that it had a title with the word Christmas in it had little bearing on what was happening in the book.
Dec 17, 2015 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be comepletely honest, I was greatly disappointed with the way the story ended. There was no explanation of any sort, and really no closure, as we dont find out why the murderer kills the victim. Suppostions are made but not verified. It could have been laid out much better.
Dec 05, 2015 Mamen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No me ha gustado del todo, un poco decepcionante. Aunque me ha gustado conocer a Runcorn, es un personaje interesante.

Os dejo la reseña en mi blog:

Another character, Superintendent Runcorn, is featured in this romantic story set in an island off Wales. It has the most romantic language that I have read in Perry's books. It was a quick and entertaining read -- good for a holiday afternoon.
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Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is a British historical novelist.

Juliet took the name "Anne Perry," the latter being her stepfather's surname. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many of them feature a number of recurrin
More about Anne Perry...

Other Books in the Series

Christmas Stories (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • A Christmas Journey (Christmas Stories, #1)
  • A Christmas Visitor (Christmas Stories, #2)
  • A Christmas Guest (Christmas Stories, #3)
  • A Christmas Secret (Christmas Stories, #4)
  • A Christmas Grace (Christmas Stories, #6)
  • A Christmas Promise (Christmas Stories, #7)
  • A Christmas Odyssey (Christmas Stories, #8)
  • A Christmas Homecoming (Christmas Stories, #9)
  • A Christmas Garland (Christmas Stories, #10)
  • A Christmas Hope (Christmas Stories, #11)

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“Runcorn was second fiddle, never first, but he had played the more beautiful tune.” 0 likes
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