A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holidays & Homicide

Welcome to the launch week for the Not Your Usual Suspects blog! I'm so happy to be here blogging alongside such talented Carina Press authors!

Well, it’s that time of the year again! Christmas is right around the corner, as is my much-needed Christmas vacation. Yay! But murder never takes a holiday.  In fact, just like the sweltering summer heat can cause the murder rate to skyrocket in the summertime, the stress of the holidays can also cause some people to snap! Even I, one of the most laid back people on the planet, have on occasion had to suppress the urge to whack someone with a nutcracker. How do I relax and calm myself? By reading!  To me there's nothing better to calm those frayed holiday nerves than settling down with an  eggnog martini and reading a good old Christmas mystery. Here are a few of my favorites:

Kissing Christmas Goodbye By M.C. Beaton: Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she’ll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: Christmas, and her ex, James Lacey. This year Agatha’s sure that if she invites James to a splendid Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log…but that fantasy will have to wait for now. A wealthy widow—who sent Agatha a letter before her death saying one of her family intended to kill her—has been found dead. Now Agatha must set out to find the murderer, even though, in her heart, she’s still dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones she and James used to know….

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie: The wealthy Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons—one faithful, one prodigal, one impecunious, one sensitive—and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not exactly what he has in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults and finally announces that he is cutting off their allowances and changing his will. So when the old man is found lying in a pool of blood on Christmas Eve, there is no lack of suspects. Did Lee's taunts push one of the boys to a desperate act? And how did the murderer escape from the locked room? Intrepid Belgian detective Hercule Poirot suspends his own holiday festivities to sift through the motives and evidence surrounding the crime.

Shakespeare’s Christmas By Charlaine Harris: Lily Bard is going home for the holidays. More comfortable in baggy sweats than bridesmaid's frills, Lily isn't thrilled about attending her estranged sister's wedding. She has moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas, to start a new life, cleaning houses for a living, trying to forget the violence that once nearly destroyed her. Now she's heading back to home and hearth--just in time for murder. The town's doctor and nurse have been bludgeoned to death at the office. And Lily's detective boyfriend suddenly shows up at her parents' door. Jack Leeds is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads straight to Lily's hometown. It just might have something to do with the murders...and her sister's widowed fiancĂ©. With only three days before the wedding, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!

Sugar Plum Dead By Carolyn Hart: It's getting to look a lot like Christmas on the sea island of Broward's Rock, South Carolina. At the Death on Demand mystery bookstore, owner Annie Darling's Yuletide preparations have to be put on hold thanks to several rather inconvenient distractions -- including murder. Across the windswept isle, in the spacious, spooky mansion of Marguerite Dumaney Ladson, a motley crew is gathering for the onetime movie star's gala Xmas/birthday bash. And when it turns deadly, it's Annie who has to prove the innocence of the most disturbing suspect: her own deadbeat dad.

So what are your favorite Christmas themed mysteries? Comment for a chance to win a copy of my  upcoming release The Paris Secret!

Happy Holidays!
Angela ; )


Taryn Kincaid said...

Hmmm. Thanks for the eggnog martini recipe! And the good reads!

Julie Moffett said...

Hey, Angela! I can only think of two holiday-themed mysteries: Sue Grafton's "E is for Evidence" (takes place during the holidays) and Mary Higgins Clark's "Silent Night." Great idea, though. I think holiday-themed books of all genres are a great idea and fun. Now about that eggnog martini ... I wonder how it will go with chocolate chili!! :)

Angela Henry said...

Taryn & Julie,

Thanks for stopping by! I haven't had that particular eggnog martini recipe. But it looked so much better than what I've had in the past. Not sure how it would go w/ chocolate chili, though. LoL! I'll have to check out MHC's Silent Night. I did read E is for Evidence years ago and forgot it takes place during the holidays ; ).

Toni Anderson said...

JD Robb has one or two I think. Apart from that I'm a little stumped for Christmas stories... must check out those recommended.

Marcelle Dubé said...

What fun! Christmas reading suggestions. The only suggestion that comes to mind right now is Connie Willis' Christmas and Other Stories. Ms Willis writes SF with mysteries threading through them and romantic comedy. Thanks for the eggnog recipe, Angela!

Bobbie (Sunny) Cole said...

What an excellent post, Angela! I've know Carolyn since before her intrepid heroine became a Darling--will have to tell her that you blogged her.

Love eggnog. Will have to try that martini. Maybe we can share one at a conference some time. Lol.

Best with your book. It truly sounds like one I'd like to read!

Elise Warner said...

An eggnog martini. Have a few friends I will try it on. Somehow I have missed Agatha Christie's Christmas mystery. Thanks for the suggestion, Angela.

Wynter Daniels said...

I'll have to check out these books - thanks. I have only read holiday themed short stories and novellas. Guess I read to slowly to take on a whole themed novel;-)

Shirley Wells said...

Great post! I'd forgotten Hercule Poirot's Christmas so I'll have to get that and read it again.

I have dozens of books lined up for my holiday reading session but don't think a single one has a Christmas theme.

Happy reading!

MaureenAMiller said...

Your blog title definitely caught my eye, Angela! A perfect title for this talented group...and the season :)

I want to try to commit to relaxing this holiday season and possibly take in one of the suggestions here. Of course I have a 'stack' of Carina books that are hollering at me to read them first!

Angela Henry said...

Thank you guys so much for all the kind comments! I'm happy so many of you are going to try the martini. I figure you can't go wrong with Vanilla Vodka!

Bobby, It's beyond cool that you know Carolyn Hart! Her Death on Demand series inspired me to write a series of my own ; ).

Marcelle, I'll have to check out Connie Willis. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cindy said...

I'm sure I must have read a Holiday themed mystery at some point, but none come to mind at the moment. I love the suggestions! I too read to relax. I love snuggle under the blankets and have that time to myself!

Bobbie (Sunny) Cole said...

Angela, I also meant to comment on the first author you blogged. Haven't read them, but isn't that protagonist's name Agatha Raisin a grabber? Lol.

And Carolyn will be thrilled to know how she impacted you. She spoke to my writers' groups when I was in charge of programs. Nicest, sweetest, most supportive person imaginable. Will send her a link to your post when I'm back upstairs. Don't have her email in the iPad. (or anybody else's for that matter)

Again, a wonderful post. Catchy. Informative. Quite pleasant.

Kathy Ivan said...

Ohh, some new reads for the Holiday. Nothing like a little mayhem to make the merry momenths fly.

Thanks for the list. I'll be adding all of these to my TBR stack. I've read Charlaine Harris' book before, but it deserves a re-read, I'm sure.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Twelve Days of Christmas by Marion Babson. Set in a London boardinghouse. A cosy mystery.

Angela Henry said...

A big thanks to everyone who stopped by commented, and shared Christmas reads yesterday!

After running the ole' random number generator, the winner of a copy of The Paris Secret is...drum roll...CINDY!

Cindy please send your email address to angelar.henry(at) so I can send you your prize!

Josh Lanyon said...

What fun books to choose. I'm partial to vintage mysteries set around the holidays == The Thin Man is one of my favorites.

Angela Henry said...


Hi! The Thin Man is a book I've been meaning to read for years and never got around to. I didn't realize it took place at Christmas. Now I have to read it! Thanks for the suggestion ; ).

More Popular Posts