In WHAT CHILD IS THIS?, it is Christmas in Little Beecham . . . a season to celebrate with caroling, mistletoe, and mince pies. Newlywed American Ellie Kent is looking forward to her first English village Christmas, but a missing Oxford student and an abandoned baby soon draw her away from the fireside into danger. When a young woman is found dead on Boxing Day, Ellie comes to believe that these events may be linked through a group of teenage girls who identify with Shakespeare’s tragic Ophelia. The police scoff at her theory, so Ellie pursues her own investigation to find their secret Hamlet, who may be a killer. This is the sequel to UNDER AN ENGLISH HEAVEN, the first Ellie Kent mystery.
Set in the village of Little Beecham, England, Boatwright’s appealing sequel to Under an English Heaven finds amateur sleuth Ellie Kent, an American expat, still in some disbelief that she now lives in an 18th-century Georgian house with her new husband, the town vicar, Graham Kent. When the police make little effort to find missing 20-year-old Anthea Davies, a student at Oxford, her parents turn to Ellie for help in locating her. Meanwhile, during a nativity service on Christmas Eve, Ellie discovers that a real baby has been left in the crib in the church’s manger. Ellie and Graham drive the infant to the hospital, where the maternal Ellie soon becomes a regular visitor to the abandoned child now known as Rosie. Ellie’s search for Anthea eventually connects to the mystery of Rosie’s parentage. Boatwright vividly conjures the warmth of the snowy, candlelit holiday through her descriptions of English Christmas rituals and community gatherings, which also serve to provide a gratifying structure to the story. Anglicans and Anglophiles will find a lot to like. (BookLife)