There’s an atmosphere of sorrow and foreboding that hangs over Bowen’s latest mystery, The Ghost of Christmas Past. After Molly Murphy Sullivan’s miscarriage and the events during the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco (Time of Fog and Fire), Molly’s still mourning. And, Daniel's job is in jeopardy because of his honesty, and his refusal to cooperate with Tammany Hall.
This Christmas promises to be bittersweet. It looks like Molly's beloved almost-daughter, Bridie, will be moving back to Ireland. And, Molly's best friends won't be home for Christmas. But, just as Molly plans to give up heart, they receive an unexpected invitation. Daniel's mother is visiting the Van Aikens, wealthy friends in Scarborough. They invite the Sullivans to come for Christmas, so Daniel, Molly, Bridie and two-year-old Liam head out of town.
Once they're at the estate, Molly suspects something is wrong. She sympathizes when she learns of the disappearance of the Van Aikens' only child, a toddler, ten years earlier. But, her suspicions are aroused when a young teen appears at the door on Christmas Eve, claiming to be the missing Charlotte. It takes a mystery to turn Molly's emotions around. As Daniel continues to tell her, she just wants to make everything right.
It's been quite a while since I've read one of Bowen's Molly Murphy books, but they remain favorites of my sister's. Readers like me, who have not read one in quite a while, can easily catch the storyline in this haunting and surprising story of Christmas.
Rhys Bowen's website is www.rhysbowen.com
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Rhys Bowen. Minotaur Books, 2017. ISBN 9781250125729 (hardcover), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.