Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Mysteries

Sharon Wildwind

Let’s be honest, okay? Here it is, the day Hanukkah begins, two days before Christmas, and three days before Kwanzaa starts. The stores are packed, a whole bunch of people are digging out from record snowfalls and low temperatures, we’ve probably already eaten our yearly quotas of shortbread and designer chocolates, and not one of us—me included—is the least bit interested in the nuts-and-bolts of writing.

So my holiday advice to you is … remember that your local library will be closed on Christmas Day. My library is closing early on Christmas Eve, and will be closed on Boxing Day, too. That’s will be 70 consecutive hours when I can’t run my plastic card through the slot, and I’m not talking about my credit or debit cards, but my library card. This morning I plan to join the other book junkies standing four-deep at the check-out counter, getting our fix of library books to last us through the holidays. Do you think twelve will be enough or should I get fifteen, just to make sure?

So, if you’re doing the same thing in your town, here are ten of my favorite Christmas mysteries to get you through the holiday season.

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
No one did Christmas like the Victorians, and even the serious Sherlock Holmes gets into the spirit of the season.

Hard Christmas by Barbara D’Amato
Part of the Cat Marsala series, this has one of the most unusual murder weapons ever.

Death at Sandringham House by C. C. Benison

Sandringham House, in case you don’t know, is the private country home of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. It’s where they spend about six weeks over the Christmas and New Year's season. Except this year, there’s a murder along with mistletoe.

A Holly Jolly Murder by Joan Hess
Druids on Arkansas? One less on solstice morning than there was the night before.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
In the tradition of many of Dame Agatha’s books, you’ll find the same story under different titles. The alternate titles for this one are A Holiday for Murder and Murder for Christmas. One of my favorite parts of the David Suchet television episode—available on DVD—is the scene where Poirot rescues Inspector Japp from a music-filled Christmas celebration with Japp’s wife’s Welsh parents.

Silver Lies by Ann Parker
This one takes place in the Christmas season—of 1879— in Leadville, Colorado. One of the best historical mysteries I’ve read.

The Music Box Murders by Larry Karp
Ah, what could be better than Christmas in New York City? Well, maybe spending Christmas in a place where your friends aren’t succumbing to murder during the holiday season.

Dead Cold by Louise Penny (First published as A Fatal Grace)
If a city Christmas isn’t your style, try going to Three Pines, Quebec, for the annual Boxing Day curling match.

Mistletoe Man by Susan Wittig Albert
Christmas is a great time, except when your best friend has a problem you can’t help her with.

Six Geese a-Slaying by Donna Andrews
This is the only book on this list I haven’t read yet, and it’s the book I want most in my Christmas stocking.

Have a great read. See you next week.


Lonnie Cruse said...

OOOwwwww, I just bought SIX GEESE A SLAYIN' and I can't read it YET because I'm still a book or two behind in that series! Eeeek!

I always read Anne Perry's Christmas series so I just finished the latest. Love Christmas mysteries. And I'm hunting the Piroit mystery on DVD. Thanks for the mention.

Merry Christmas, and I suggest you get all fifteen books . . . in case. Never know what might come up and you'd need extras.

Sandra Parshall said...

I'M WRITING. I have to. No choice (deadline). But I went to the library yesterday and stocked up on recorded books to listen to while it's closed for the holidays. Also downloaded a couple to my Zen media player. I'm all set. I have trouble actually reading off the page while I'm working on something of my own.

Happy holidays to all!