Once again, the distinguished mathematician Henry Rathbone is approached to help solve a mystery. This time, the call comes from an old friend whose son has gone missing—and just before the Christmas holiday. Now in his early twenties, Lucien has known trouble for some time and has often fallen victim to the vices of drugs, alcohol and women. Thus, his father now fears the worst.
Henry’s first thought is to enlist the help of Hester, since her work in the East End clinic might prove useful. However, when he calls in at the clinic, the first person he meets is their old friend, Squeaky Robinson, who says he mustn’t involve a good woman in this kind of search, and volunteers himself instead. Henry agrees and, joined by Crow, a young doctor at the clinic, the pair trawls the pubs, brothels and opium dens of the West End, which in some ways are even worse than those in the East. After all, these establishments cater to people with money, and as a result the entertainment procured is more extreme and dangerous.
The trio finds a young barmaid who actually knows Lucien and who insists on coming to help them, and through their sleuthing, they find even more troubling information about the missing youth: he had become obsessed with a woman called Sadie, and had begun working for a major drugs dealer.
Eventually, the group finds Lucien on the streets, but badly injured following a vicious knife-fight. He asks them to let him die: he’s beyond redemption. But of course, they refuse to do this and instead patch him up and nurse him, all-the-while still wondering about the elusive Sadie. The only clue to her whereabouts seems to be a pool of dried blood.
Eventually they learn Sadie’s sad truth—a tale of prostitution and murder. But just as this comes to light, the detectives’ own situation becomes increasingly dire. The drug baron is not a man to be toyed with and Rathbone and his friends quickly realize he has them trapped, confined to a labyrinth of underground passages and alleyways.
Finally, with nothing left to lose, Lucien embarks on an act of bravery and self-sacrifice that will ultimately save all their lives and reunite father and son for a much-deserved Christmas celebration.
Trisha Ashley - The Magic of Christmas
It's the most wonderful time of the year... In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband when tragedy strikes and she finds herself widowed. Her Christmas Pudding Circle - a group of friends swapping seasonal recipes - offers her a welcome distraction, whilst a simmering rivalry with local cookery writer Nick erupts over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show... Meanwhile, the whole village village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy's Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor, Ritch, or will someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!
Abby Clements - Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel used to be inseparable – but their lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Now thirty-five, they have all but fallen out of touch; glamorous single girl Laurie is based in London and dedicated to her career in fashion; Rachel seemingly living the family idyll in Yorkshire. But when Rachel’s mother-in-law needs urgent treatment in London, and disasters at work and in her love life mean Laurie needs to flee, a house swap falls into place. Soon gentle Rachel is far from the village bake sales, braving the city’s mean streets while trying to keep her marriage and family together; while Laurie attempts to work an Aga, befriend the wary village locals – and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home for Christmas?
Belinda Jones - Winter Wonderland
Imagine waking up in a snow globe... That’s how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival. Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen heart begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple-syrup treats galore. And then she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious… The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland?"
Kate Jacobs - Knit the Season
Another heartwarming Friday Night Knitting Club novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Kate Jacobs. Knit the Season is a loving, moving, laugh-out-loud celebration of special times with friends and family. The story begins a year after the end of Knit Two, with Dakota Walker's trip to spend the Christmas holidays with her Gran in Scotland, accompanied by her father, her grandparents, and her mother's best friend, Catherine. Together, they share a trove of happy memories about past Christmases with Dakota's mom, Georgia Walker, from Georgia's childhood to her blissful time as a doting new mom. From Thanksgiving through Hanukkah and Christmas to New Year's, Knit the Season is a story about the richness of family bonds and the joys of friendship.
Debbie Macomber - Mr. Miracle
Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the most wonderful time of the year in this heartwarming Christmas novel of romance, hope, and the comforts of home—coming soon as a Hallmark Channel original movie! Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store. After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons. Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.
Cally Taylor - Home for Christmas
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
After reading Christmas Carol, the notoriously reculsive Thomas Carlyle was "seized with a perfect convulsion of hospitality" and threw not one but two Christmas dinner parties. The impact of the story may not always have been so dramatic but, along with Dickens other Christmas writings, it has had a lasting and significant influence upon our ideas about the Christmas spirit, and about the season as a time for celebration, charity, and memory.
W. Bruce Cameron - The Dogs of Christmas
While nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh’s Colorado home. But Josh can’t resist Lucy’s soulful brown eyes, and though he’s never had a dog before, he’s determined to do the best he can for Lucy—and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies. Soon in over his head, Josh calls the local animal shelter for help, and meets Kerri, a beautiful woman with a quick wit and a fierce love for animals. As Kerri teaches Josh how to care for Lucy’s tiny puppies and gets them ready to be adopted through the shelter’s “Dogs of Christmas” program, Josh surprises himself by falling for her. But he’s fallen even harder for his new furry family, which has brought incredible joy into Josh’s life. He barely has time to sit down, between chasing after adventurous Sophie and brave Oliver, but when he does, his lap is quickly filled by the affectionate Lola. And Rufus and Cody’s strong bond makes Josh wonder about his own relationships with his family. With Christmas and the adoption date looming, Josh finds himself wondering if he can separate himself from his beloved puppies. At odds with Kerri, Josh isn’t willing to lose her, but doesn’t know how to set things right. Can a surprise litter of Christmas puppies really change one man’s life? W. Bruce Cameron's The Dogs of Christmas is a charming and heartwarming holiday tale that explores the power of love, trust, and a basket full of puppies.
Nancy Thayer - An Island Christmas
As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker. As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.
Julia Williams - A Merry Little Christmas
With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate. Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down. Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier. As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.
Donna VanLiere - The Christmas Shoes
Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they're gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe....Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together -he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.
Marni Bates - Decked with Holly
Smartly blending of-the-moment pop culture references and timeless themes, Bates follows her YA debut, "Awkward", with a hilarious, over-the-top adventure about a teen girl who becomes the fake girlfriend of a cute rock star. Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn't Holly's idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she's pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she's greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly's face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can't risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend - just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be "fauxmantically" involved with a cute rock star? She's about to find out...
Sheila Roberts - On Strike for Christmas
At Christmastime, it seems as though a woman's job is never done--slaving over the Christmas feast, mailing the cards, schlepping to the mail, the endless wrapping...bah humbug! So this year, Joy and Laura and the rest of their knitting group decide to go on strike. If their husbands and families want a nice Christmas--filled with parties, decorations and presents--well, they'll just have to organize it themselves. The boycott soon takes on a life of its own when a reporter picks up the story, and more women join in. But as Christmas Day approaches, each couple confronts larger issues in their marriage and discovers that a little holiday magic is exactly what they need to come together.
Gregory Maguire - The Next Queen of Heaven
Strange events are occurring in the small town of Thebes, USA. Knocked out by a falling statue of the Virgin Mary, Mrs Leontina Scales wakes up not quite the woman she was before. What on earth are her sons and her foul-mouthed daughter Tabitha supposed to do with a mad mother who speaks in tongues? Meanwhile, choir director Jeremy Carr needs a rehearsal venue for his gay singing group. Could the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries be his salvation? As the year draws to a close, the Radical Radiants battle the Catholics, a Christmas pageant goes horribly awry, and a child is born...Frantic, funny and farcical, The Next Queen of Heaven is a modern masterpiece from the incredible imagination of Gregory Maguire.
John Grisham - Skipping Christmas
Imagine a year without the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition - this is just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they plan to skip Christmas and embark on a Caribbean cruise instead. But as this weary couple is about to discover - it's not as easy as that.
Charles Dickens - Karácsonyi történetek / Christmas stories
Londonban, karácsonykor sült pulyka illata száll a levegőben, sokan sherryt iszogatnak, karácsonyi dalok hangja szól a szeretetről. Ám van egy másik London is, a szegények, a nincstelenek, a számkivetettek Londonja. Charles Dickens mindkét világ kiváló ismerője, de talán leginkább egy harmadiké, amelyben a kísértetek oly természetességgel látogatják a halandókat, mintha ők ugyanolyan élő emberek lennének, mintha csak golfozni tartanának a klubjukba. A Karácsonyi történetek kétnyelvű kiadvány, melynek külön érdekessége az angol nyelv régi íze, a rég elfelejtett szavak hangulata, ínyencek lapozgatják az effélét; ők azok az olvasók, akik örömmel fedeznek fel egy-egy megkopott, letűnt kifejezést a dickensi homályból. És persze unikum azoknak, akik csak nyelvet akarnak tanulni és gyakorolni, hiszen a régmúlt ellenére is élő e nyelv, akár egy hosszan érlelt aszú zamata.
Kate Harrison - The Secret Shopper Unwrapped
Christmas is coming, and while the bells are ringing, the tills aren’t. But Sandie – the rising star of the retail spying world – is busier than ever, rooting out the best and worst in festive customer care through her company. The former Charlie’s Shopping Angels are helping out, too. Glamorous widow Grazia is going undercover under the duvet at boutique hotels, in between dating a succession of toyboys and trying to remember which lie she’s told about her age. Meanwhile, not-quite-yummy mummy Emily investigates the child-friendliness of the high street with the help of three-year-old Freddie, when she’s not working flat out with her partner to save their fledging village shop from the un-festive credit crunch. The shoppers are back, but is the happiness they’ve worked so hard for, about to disappear faster than a Louis Vuitton handbag in the Harrod’s sale?
Fannie Flagg - A Redbird Christmas
A short and poignant Christmas story for all the family. Oswald T. Campbell, aged 52, down-and-out in a Chicago winter, is only given months to live unless he moves South. He finds himself in the small town of Lost River, Alabama, amongst all its eccentric but friendly residents.
Terry Pratchett - Hogfather
It's the night before Hogswatch. And it's too quiet. Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker... Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again... The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too). As they say: You'd better watch out...
Christopher Moore - The Stupidest Angel
A heartwarming tale of Christmas terror. "'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas and little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. Josh is sure he saw Santa take a shovel to the head and now the seven year old has only one prayer: Please Santa, come back from the dead! But coming to Earth, seeking a small child whose wish needs granting, is none other than Archangel Raziel. Unfortunately, he's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch and before you can say 'Kris Kringle,' he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen."