Series: #5 in the Aunt Dimity series
Publication Date: 1999
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge #53
This was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas episode of this gentle cozy mystery series.
Lori Shepherd did not grow up as a child of privilege, but thanks to her mother’s lifelong friend ‘Aunt Dimity’ she now lives a privileged life. When Lori was at her lowest and all alone after her mother’s death she suddenly became the heir to Aunt Dimity’s wealth, Cotswolds cottage, and responsibility for Dimity’s charitable trust. She also has Dimity’s blue journal that Dimity uses to communicate with Lori despite Dimity’s very dead status. Now that Lori is happily married and mother to infant twin sons she’s looking forward to a perfect family Christmas in the Cotswolds.
When a vagrant collapses in Lori’s front yard a series of events are set off that derail Lori’s carefully laid holiday plans. The man’s identity is unknown but as she tries to find out who he is and where he came from she discovers more mysteries as she goes. With the assistance of a kindly priest, she finds more and more people who have been positively influenced by this mysterious stranger and more and more questions about his past.
The story remains a predictable Christmas parable yet still enough of a mystery to have a few surprises
The only thing I didn’t like about this installment of the series was that at the beginning Lori seems more selfish and materialistic than she’d been in any of the previous books. It was annoying and a surprising change in her personality, but seemed to be exaggerated to make the point of the story. It doesn’t really keep this from being a pleasant little cozy Christmas story with the expected moral and the return of our normal Lori at the end.