When I’m reminded that Christmas is approaching, I go straight into Bah Humbug mode. First, I can’t understand why Christmas cards and general festive items appear in the shops alongside the Halloween costumes. I mean, that’s October, people. October!
As the days/weeks pass, I begin to stress about everything I need to do - all those presents to buy, wrap and, more often than not, mail to far-flung places. The cards needs writing and, naturally, the friend’s new address that I scribbled on a piece of paper months ago has vanished. Slade’s Merry Christmas, Everybody blasting out from every shop in the land does nothing to improve my bad mood.
Or perhaps it does because in an instant I change from “Bah Humbug - Christmas should be banned” to “OMG, Christmas is coming. Let’s party!”. The decorations come out, yet more twinkling lights are bought and I can’t wait for the festivities to begin. I get to eat lots, yes? And drink even more, right? I can sit in front of a blazing log fire with a glass in one hand and my Kindle in the other without feeling guilty. Bliss!
In readiness, I’ve loaded up the Kindle. I’ll be making a start on Silent Nights.
Christmas is a mysterious, as well as magical, time of year. Strange things can happen, and this helps to explain the hallowed tradition of telling ghost stories around the fireside as the year draws to a close. Christmas tales of crime and detection have a similar appeal. When television becomes tiresome, and party games pall, the prospect of curling up in the warm with a good mystery is enticing - and much better for the digestion than yet another helping of plum pudding. Crime writers are just as susceptible as readers to the countless attractions of Christmas. Over the years, many distinguished practitioners of the genre have given one or more of their stories a Yuletide setting. The most memorable Christmas mysteries blend a lively storyline with an atmospheric evocation of the season. Getting the mixture right is much harder than it looks.This book introduces readers to some of the finest Christmas detective stories of the past. Martin Edwards' selection blends festive pieces from much-loved authors with one or two stories which are likely to be unfamiliar even to diehard mystery fans. The result is a collection of crime fiction to savour, whatever the season.
Then I’ll move on to The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries.
Here, for your yuletide reading pleasure, are the collected crimes of Christmases Past and Present: sixty classic Christmas crime stories gathered together in the largest anthology of its kind ever assembled. And its an all-star line-up: Sherlock Holmes, Brother Cadfael, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Ellery Queen, Rumpole of the Bailey, Inspector Morse, Inspector Ghote, A.J. Raffles, Nero Wolfe and many, many more of the world's favourite detectives and crime fighters face unscrupulous Santas, festive felonies, deadly puddings, and misdemeanors under the mistletoe. Almost any kind of mystery you're in the mood for - suspense, pure detection, humour, cozy, private eye, or police procedural - can be found within these pages.
Includes stories from (many of which are difficult or nearly impossible to find anywhere else): Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, Isaac Asimov, Sara Paretsky, Ed McBain, Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, Mary Higgins Clark, H.F Keating, Donald E. Westlake and John Mortimer and more.
I can’t wait.
What will you be reading over the festivities? Do you have any recommendations for great holiday stories?
Happy holidays, everyone!