A Christmas Beginning (Christmas Stories, #5)
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A Christmas Beginning (Christmas Stories #5)

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  688 ratings  ·  107 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
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Published February 1st 2008 by Findaway World (first published January 1st 2007)
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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
Kate
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
Ellen
Anne Perry is one of my favorite authors! She writes compelling murder mysteries that take place in Victorian England. The mysteries have all the drama, mystery, strong characters of many modern mysteries but without the blood, gore, graphic sex that these more recent mysteries tend to have. Her characters was strong, well-thought out, interesting and multi-faceted.

This book, while I enjoyed it, wasn't a favorite. I got hooked on the William Monk series; Runcorn is/was Monk's boss and this book...more
Lisa C
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.
Ape
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ria
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...more
Susan
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...more
LJ
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...more
Paul
Feb 12, 2010 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Kathy
"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...more
Dave Hoff
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.
Kathy
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...more
Sumi
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...more
Knitme23
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...more
Maggie
I have previosuly read a number of Anne Perry's mysteries and found her writing to be quite enjoyable, well detailed. She does tend to have her characters ponder on life a bit (Monk in particular) which becomes a bit tiring. I much preferred the husband and wife detectives.

This short book has little if anything to do with Christmas. It is merely by chance that it occurs in December when the main character has some holidays. The writing was too simple, the storyline glossed over and not detailed...more
Mary
I like the William Monk series by Anne Perry. I just discovered her Christmas-themed novellas. This one features a minor character in the Monk world: Superintendent Runcorn, a man so uncomfortable with himself he is painful, and sometimes a pain to others. This book takes him out of his element—London—for a long winter break in a tiny village, and then there is a murder. I always felt pity for Runcorn, but did not have a full understanding of his misery. This book lets the reader get to know him...more
Littlelixie
It says on the front "her Victorian England pulsates with life" in which case I'm very glad I'm not there. The life it pulsates with it the most boring, dirge ridden stuff I can imagine. The lead character has somehow risen to some senior police rank without ever possessing a pair of gonads. I just wanted to hit him. I couldn't care less why Olivia was stabbed or who married who. Honestly, reading this book to the end caused me mental distress and it was only about 50 pages long. The thought tha...more
Lourdes Fernandez Venard
Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard is on vacation on the island of Anglesey off the north coast of Wales when he comes across a young woman’s body in the village churchyard. Although a chief constable is called in from the mainland, it soon becomes clear that someone more experienced is needed, and so Runcorn steps in. Runcorn, a lifelong bachelor at 50, also finds himself falling in love. Runcorn is a central character in the William Monk series, but nonreaders of the series (such as I) ca...more
Carole
I really like Anne Perry and I really like Christmas novels but.... this book had a number of errors that were distracting and made me feel like she rushed through this to meet a deadline. If so, the least the publisher could have done would be to read through it for errors - which I don't think happened :-(
Mayda
This novel had little to do with Christmas, except that a murder took place about that time of year. While on holiday, Superintendent Runcorn stumbles upon the dead body of the vicar’s lovely younger sister. He investigates the murder, a difficult task since he must be careful not to tread upon people’s sense of propriety and honor. The novel is short and yet parts of it seem to drag on. However, the conclusion and the fact that Runcorn may actually find love at his somewhat advanced age makes i...more
Donna
When Superintendent Runcorn of Scotland Yard goes on holiday for Christmas on the island of Anglesey, little did he know that he would be involved in solving the murder of Olivia Costain, the vicar's younger sister.

Everyone on the island is quick to insist that a stranger had committed this crime. Runcorn informs them that Olivia did not fight off or try to run from the person who killed her. She had to have known the person.

Secrets of Olivia's life are unlocked as Runcorn pursues his investigat...more
Wilde Sky
A detective takes a holiday on the Isle of Anglesey, discovers a body and becomes involved in the murder investigation.

This book is more of a character study than a detection novel, but is still reasonably entertaining.
Susan
Another lovely novel from the Victorian Christmas range. It really hit me reading this book how the class system has much less weight than it used to, or it seems that way to me at least. I think a police rank would be far more respected across the board now than in those days. I am so glad that a happy ending was arrived at - although we could have been treated to a bit more detail but that is being sentimental. In reality a whole new book could be written as a follow up...
Jen
Quick read, but nothing really gets started until the very end, and it is wrapped up far too quickly. Made police look like slowpokes who can't seem to catch a single lead. Also, i know it is part of a series, but the countless references to 'Monk', who never actually shows up in teh story , were useless. Even if I had read the series I don't know why he would need to be talked about throughout this story, one or two reminders of his character would be all that is necessary.
Nikki
For a few years now Anne Perry has taken a minor character from one of her Victorian mystery series and built a Christmas novella around him or her. Sometimes the character has not been presented as a pleasant one, but the Christmas story gives us a different viewpoint, and so it is with this one featuring Supt. Runcorn, William Monk's sometime opponent. Set on the isle of Anglesey off Wales, the setting is as much a character as the humans. Recommended.
Emily
ummmm...I thought I'd like to listen to a Christmas story and this sounded interesting...except it wasn't about Christmas and was mostly an internal monologue of thoughts and extremely detailed descriptions of the landscape, scenery, etc. Not quite my style. :)
Rayni
Apr 05, 2009 Rayni rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anne Perry fans
Recommended to Rayni by: Jumped off the shelf at the library
Anne Perry's answer to Janet Evanovich's between the numbers. I love Anne Perry's Christmas novels. This one takes Runcorn, from the Monk novels, & sets him on a remote island of Anglesey off the coast of Wales.

I loved the scenery. Some people might say it was too detailed, but I could see it in my mind.

I also liked getting to know Runcorn better. Does he have a first name? I don't remember her mentioning it. It was either Superintendent or Mr.
Loraine
I have previously read Anne Perry's books and really liked them. But I found myself disappointed in this one. First, although you would expect by the title it was a Christmas themed novel, it was rather a mystery that took place just before Christmas and very little Christmas was felt throughout. Second, the story is very slow moving and I almost felt like I had to plod through it. I also had difficulty keeping the characters straight.
Sue
2013: A Christmas re-read of one I enjoyed last year.

2012: The Runcorn character was engaging and vulnerable, even as he was trying to solve a murder while on holiday in Wales. The setting was described so well that I felt as if I was on the windswept highlands. The mystery was good, the holiday touches were fun, and the twist at the end was satisfying. I'm really liking these Christmas novels by Anne Perry.
Rhonda
This book was okay. I liked the mystery, Runcorn's theoretical thinking, and the author's vivid descriptions, but Christmas seemed more like an afterthought rather than a major part of the book as the title suggests. Also, I did not care much about who committed the crime by the end of the book. It was a cute love story though and I enjoyed the author's writing style and the visit to the island of Anglesey.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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 cate...more
More about Anne Perry...
The Face of a Stranger (William Monk, #1) The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1) Callander Square (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #2) A Dangerous Mourning (William Monk, #2) Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #3)

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