Christmas at Patchin Place wraps two Molly Murphy Christmas mysteries in one. From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen, spend Christmas with the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan in Away in a Manger and The Ghost of Christmas Past.
In Away in a Manger, it’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. As she and her children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing “Away in a Manger.”
Molly’s ward, Bridie, is touched by the girl’s ragged clothes and wants to help her if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl’s older brother. They’ve come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they’re living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly. Molly is soon drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.
In The Ghost of Christmas Past, it’s 1906 and Molly and her family gratefully accept an invitation to spend Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple’s young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again.
Molly can identify with the mother’s pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. “I’m Charlotte,” she says. “I’ve come home.”
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