Review:

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

 

 

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