A Christmas Beginning is one of Perry's annual Christmas stories that feature less major characters from her two established series. In this one, Inspector Runcorn (from the William Monk series) is on holiday when he discovers a gruesome murder.
As is the case with many Perry novels, this one is very introspective, focusing more on what Runcorn is thinking and deducing, than on action or conversation. The mystery itself was interesting, though not difficult to solve.
Having followed the two characters involved in this book's romance from the beginning in the Monk series, I felt that the happy conclusion was both sudden and improbable.
One thing that continued to bother me throughout the novel was the familiar use of first names by Runcorn and others not in the circle of intimate friends. This did not fit with what I know of Victorian times, and jarred with the atmospheric details.
Overall, this short novel is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but not memorable enough to make a lasting impression.