Three days before Christmas, in the freezing slums of Londons East End, thirteen-year-old Gracie Phipps encounters Minnie Maude Mudway, who is only eight, alone, and determined to find her friend Charlie.
However Charlie is no ordinary companion: He is a donkey who belonged to Minnie Maudes Uncle Alf. Gracie is shocked to learn that only the day before, someone brutally murdered Uncle Alf and made off with his rag-and-bones cart and the beloved beast who pulled it. Now, come hell or high water, Minnie Maude means to rescue Charlie and Gracie decides to help. But the path that Uncle Alf had taken to his death was not his regular route, and in his cart were not just the usual bits of worn silver and china but also, the children are told, a dazzling golden box. What its contents may have been no one can say, for, like Charlie and the cart, it too has vanished.
Uncertain where their four-legged friend may be, the children are drawn into an adult world far beyond their innocent imaginings. And in a shop gleaming with beautiful objects, they recruit an unexpected ally: Mr. Balthasar, who warns them that the shining prize may be a Pandoras box of evil.
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"While bestseller Perry doesn't offer much of a puzzle in her seventh Christmas-themed Victorian historical ...she does a highly credible job of evoking Dickens." - Publishers Weekly
"Short and sweet." - Library Journal
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Anne Perry, born Juliet Marion Hulme in Blackheath, London, is the author of the Thomas Pitt series. Among Anne Perry's novels featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt are The Whitechapel Conspiracy, Half Moon Street, Bedford Square, Brunswick Gardens, and Ashworth Hall. She also writes the popular novels featuring Victorian private investigator William Monk - among them, Funeral in Blue, Slaves of Obsession, The Twisted Root, A Breach of Promise, and The Silent Cry. "Her grasp of Victorian character and conscience still astonishes," said the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Perry won an Edgar award in 2000 with her short story "Heroes". The main character in the story features in an ambitious five-book series set during the First World War.
Anne Perry lives in Scotland.
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