logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: christmas-mysteries
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-30 18:37
Festive holiday reading!

So, the festive season is nearly upon us! I am planning on reading a few new holiday mysteries this year, and I'm wondering if anyone else is planning on some festive reads, too!

 

So far on my schedule are the following new reads:

 

Portrait of a Murderer: A Christmas Crime Story - Anne Meredith Tied Up In Tinsel - Ngaio Marsh The Raven In The Foregate - Ellis Peters

 

 

I will also be dipping into my Black Lizard short story collection:

 

The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries - Otto Penzler 

 

And a few rereads:

 

Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery - Agatha Christie A Christmas Party - Georgette Heyer The Santa Klaus Murder - Mavis Doriel Hay

 

 

I will also reread my usual holiday staple by Rosamund Pilcher

 

Winter Solstice - Rosamunde Pilcher

 

Is anyone else a fan of Christmas mysteries and do you have any suggestions for me? Also, if anyone wants to buddy read any of these with me, let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-27 08:43
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries - Otto Penzler

I meant to write this up back on Christmas Eve, but this year the holidays have gotten completely away from me, which is sort of unexpected only because it's one of the less frantic holiday seasons MT and I have had.

 

Anyway - I've only read 6 of the stories so far, and 5 of them I've read previously in another anthology, but they've all been excellent, save 1 (A Visit From St. Nicholas by Ron Goulart; not badly written, I guess, but it didn't really feel like much of a story, either).

 

If you're into short stories and holiday reading, I'd recommend this one as a very worthwhile investment.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-16 13:45
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries - Otto Penzler

As I am writing this, I have only read about half of the 59 short stories in this collection - and it is likely that I will only finish reading the other stories next year.

 

However, I love the collection of stories in this volume. Sure, some are better than others, but the editors have made an effort to select stories with a variety of themes and grouped them into sections to cater for different moods:

 

A Traditional Little Christmas

A Funny Little Christmas

A Sherlockian Little Christmas

A Pulpy Little Christmas

An Uncanny Little Christmas

A Scary Little Christmas

A Surprising Little Christmas

A Modern Little Christmas

A Puzzling Little Christmas

A Classic Little Christmas

 

Some of the stories are more well-known than others, some overlap with other collections, but overall, this is exactly the kind of collection I love to dip in and out of for a little seasonal reading. 

 

A Note on Format: I started this book on the kindle, but am awaiting a paperback copy because I love to jump from theme to theme rather than try and read this collection from cover to cover - and as much as I love my kindle, it is rather useless at flipping back and forth between sections.

 

Full list of contents:

 

A Traditional Little Christmas

THE ADVENTURE OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING - Agatha Christie

GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MURDER - Catherine Aird

BOXING UNCLEVER - Robert Barnard

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING - Peter Lovesey

THE ADVENTURE OF THE DAUPHIN’S DOLL - Ellery Queen

MORSE’S GREATEST MYSTERY - Colin Dexter

MORE THAN FLESH AND BLOOD - Susan Moody

THE BUTLER’S CHRISTMAS EVE - Mary Roberts Rinehart

THE TRINITY CAT - Ellis Peters

 

A Funny Little Christmas

THE BURGLAR AND THE WHATSIT - Donald E. Westlake

DANCING DAN’S CHRISTMAS - Damon Runyon

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS - Ron Goulart

 

THE THIEVES WHO COULDN’T HELP SNEEZING - Thomas Hardy

RUMPOLE AND THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS - John Mortimer

A REVERSIBLE SANTA CLAUS - Meredith Nicholson

 

A Sherlockian Little Christmas

A SCANDAL IN WINTER - Gillian Linscott

THE CHRISTMAS CLIENT - Edward D. Hoch

THE SECRET IN THE PUDDING BAG & HERLOCK SHOLMES’S CHRISTMAS CASE -  Peter Todd

CHRISTMAS EVE - S. C. Roberts

THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE - Arthur Conan Doyle

 

A Pulpy Little Christmas

DEAD ON CHRISTMAS STREET - John D. MacDonald

CRIME’S CHRISTMAS CAROL - Norvell

SERENADE TO A KILLER - Joseph Commings

 

An Uncanny Little Christmas

THE HAUNTED CRESCENT  - Peter Lovesey

A CHRISTMAS IN CAMP - Edmund Cox

THE CHRISTMAS BOGEY - Pat Frank

THE KILLER CHRISTIAN - Andrew Klavan

THE GHOST’S TOUCH - Fergus Hume

A WREATH FOR MARLEY - Max Allan Collins

 

A Scary Little Christmas

THE CAROL SINGERS - Josephine Bell

WAXWORKS - Ethel Lina White

CAMBRIC TEA - Marjorie Bowen

THE 74TH TALE - Jonathan Santlofer

THE UNINNOCENT - Bradford Morrow

BLUE CHRISTMAS - Peter Robinson

 

A Surprising Little Christmas

NOEL, NOEL - Barry Perowne

DEATH ON CHRISTMAS EVE - Stanley Ellin

THE CHINESE APPLE - Joseph Shearing

 

A Modern Little Christmas

AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE - Ed McBain

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS - Doug Allyn

THE LIVE TREE - John Lutz

THREE-DOT PO - Sara Paretsky

MAD DOG - Dick Lochte

 

A Puzzling Little Christmas

SISTER BESSIE - Cyril Hare

THAT’S THE TICKET - Mary Higgins Clark

DEATH ON THE AIR - Ngaio Marsh

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS - Isaac Asimov

THE CHRISTMAS KITTEN - Ed Gorman

THE SANTA CLAUS CLUB - Julian Symons

 

A Classic Little Christmas

THE FLYING STARS  - G. K. Chesterton

CHRISTMAS PARTY - Rex Stout

THE RAFFLES RELICS - E. W. Hornung

THE PRICE OF LIGHT - Ellis Peters

A PRESENT FOR SANTA SAHIB - H. R. F. Keating

THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN - Will Scott

MARKHEIM - Robert Louis Stevenson

A CHAPARRAL CHRISTMAS GIFT - O. Henry

THE CHOPHAM AFFAIR - Edgar Wallace

A CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY - Agatha Christie 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-16 08:02
Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries
Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries - Various Authors,Martin Edwards

On the whole, it's pretty much a safe bet that just about any anthology collection is bound to be hit or miss: some stories will hit all the marks, while others will be, at best, 'meh'.

 

Silent Nights is one of the rare ones where even the weaker stories are better than average. I reviewed the first 4 here, but here are my thoughts concerning the remaining stories.

 

Stuffing by Edgar Wallace - ★★★  There was a definite The Blue Carbuncle vibe to this story.  It was short, and amusing, and was amongst the stories in this book with the most Christmas spirit.  It was short and told in third person so even though I really enjoyed it, it was hard to rate it higher.

 

The Unknown Murderer by H.C. Bailey - ★★★1/2  This one was just plain weird, but oddly satisfying.  Twisted story / mystery, but the ending was unsatisfactory.  I wanted more information.

 

The Absconding Treasurer by J. Jefferson Farjeon - ★★★  I'm not sure I'm destined to be a Farjeon fan.  This is the second story I've read by him and I'm left feeling short changed.  I liked the writing, but the mystery was really non-existent.  The investigator doesn't share his thoughts with the reader - or the clues - so you're with him for almost the entire story, and then suddenly he goes for a walk, finds a body and voila! knows the solution to the entire mystery.  The writing saves this from a 2 star story though.

 

The Necklace of Pearls by Dorothy L. Sayers - ★★★★  I'm a fan of Whimsey, so even though Sayers pulls something of a Farjeon in this short story, I find I didn't mind quite as much.  Even though I don't think the reader gets enough information to solve the mystery, we do at least get all the elements, making it easy to see where Whimsey is going.  And the crime's concealment was freaking ingenious.

 

The Case is Altered by Marjory Allingham - ★★★  The fact that I had to look this one up again because I remembered nothing about it probably says more than I can for the story.  It's not bad, nor badly written, it just wasn't memorable.

 

Waxworks by Ethel Lina White - ★★★★★  I was sure I was going to dislike this one when I read the author intro, where Edwards highlights the author's focus on writing suspense stories.  But oh man this one was so good!  Even though I knew how it was going to turn out - really, everything about the first part of the story made the ending inevitable - I had no idea how that ending was going to happen.  I was expecting something far less subtle than I got, and that subtlety, and the twisty bit, was what made the story so good.

 

Cambric Tea by Marjorie Bowen - ★★★  This story started out promising to be another 5 star, but in a gothic vain, but lost steam at the very end, with a disappointingly weak ending that felt the result of the author writing herself into a corner and then copping out.

 

The Chinese Apple by Joseph Shearing - ★★★  Oddly enough, as this is written by the same author as Cambric Tea under a pseudonym, this story's problem was the exact opposite of Cambric Tea's:  weak build up and a solid ending.   What is supposed to be the plot twist was obvious to me from the start; but the ending was so satisfying it scored extra points from me.

 

A Problem in White by Nicholas Blake - ★★★★1/2  An Encyclopaedia Brown type of mystery!  I had a very hard time at the start figuring out the characters - the author gave them all nicknames, then two pages in gave them their proper names, confusing me to no end.  But Blake gives the reader all the clues and then doesn't give the solution - it's at the back of the book, allowing readers to try to guess whodunnit without being influenced.  (I haven't had a guess yet, because I need to re-read it again now that I have a better idea of who is who.)

 

The Name on the Window by Edmund Crispin - ★★★★  I really enjoyed the writing in this one an awful lot, which made the abrupt ending to the 'locked room' mystery easier to put up with.  I'll definitely be reading more Crispin.

 

Beef for Christmas by Leo Bruce - ★★★★1/2  I've read Bruce's other series involving the Professor and I like him as a main character better, but Beef's a very clever man and the writing was top notch.  The reader doesn't get all the facts, but the story compensates; this one felt far more complete than a lot of short stories often do.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-12 22:58
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 5 - Advent: Golden Age Christmas Vignettes
Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries - Various Authors,Martin Edwards

 

Book themes for Advent: Read a book with a wreath or with pines or fir trees on the cover.

 

Silent Nights is the first of (at this point) two Christmas mystery short story anthologies in the British Library's "Crime Classics" series, edited by Martin Edwards. The anthology combines stories by well-known and -remembered authors (e.g., Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Wallace, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Margery Allingham) with stories by authors who, even if they may have been household names in their own time -- and many were members of the illustrious Detection Club -- have since been rolled over by the wheels of time; not always deservedly so.

 

The standout story in the collection is doubtlessly Arthur Conan Doyle's The Blue Carbuncle (one of my all-time favorite Sherlock Holmes adventures that shows both ACD and his protagonists Holmes and Watson at their absolute best), but I enjoyed almost all of the stories -- in varying degrees, and not all of them were apt to make me want to go on reading an entire novel by the same author, but several did; and thus, I am glad that I have extended my "Detection Club / Golden Age crime fiction quest" to the likes of J. Jefferson Farjeon, Ethel Lina White, Edmud Crispin, Leo Bruce, and Nicholas Blake (better known as Cecil Day-Lewis, poet laureate and father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis).

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?