In Perry's enthralling page-turner, a quiet Christmas holiday becomes riddled with mystery and murder. Dominic and Clarice Corde, a 19th-century English vicar and his wife, are intelligent, believable characters whose amateur-sleuthing efforts grow increasingly intriguing as they find themselves in harm's way.

Newly married vicar Dominic and his wife, Clarice, spend the Christmas holidays in the small village of Oxford- shire, where Dominic will temporarily fill in for the elderly Reverend Wynter. When Clarice discovers his body in the cellar, she refuses to believe that his death was merely accidental. She and Dominic question the villagers about their relationships with Wynter in hopes of discovering who would have benefited from the gentle vicar's death. Along the way, the Cordes become the next target for a mad killer. (Ballantine, Dec., 208 pp., $16.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick