by Terry Ambrose
With Christmas just around the corner, what could be better than sitting down with a good book filled with holiday cheer and murder? Yes, these are Christmas mysteries. So many options, so little time was never a more true statement because the season will be gone before we know it. Until then, why not grab a nog or a coffee and sit down with one (or more) of these seven holiday tales? We may not have a Christmas wedding in this batch, but we’ve got all the trappings: sometimes old, sometimes new, plenty of food, and someone blue.
A New York Christmas is this year’s offering for the holidays by Anne Perry. Set in 1904, this is the first novel in this series that is set in New York. This is the twelfth Christmas novella from Perry and the series has become somewhat of an annual tradition. Perry said, “I have done one [of these novels] every year for twelve or thirteen years . . . The one for next year is written and the one for the year after is contracted. They have a special importance to me. My favorite part of Christmas season is the late service of carols on the night of Christmas Eve. I have wonderful memories of many years in the past with family and friends in many places in the world, but always that same marvelous feeling.”
If historical mysteries are your thing, you could also look at Emily Brightwell’s Mrs. Jeffries series, which is set in Victorian era London. Of her 2013 Christmas mystery Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen, Brightwell said, “It might be Christmas, but not every gentleman is merry and some of them are even murderous.”
With winter and the flu season in full swing, you could be in the mood for short stories at a bargain price. If that’s the case, Cozy Christmas Capers may be just the prescription you need. The book includes 19 holiday short stories by 19 New York Times, USA Today and award winning authors. From high heels to working stiffs, egg nog to pasta and pie, these authors have you covered. Because there are recipes included, you don’t need to go away hungry.
Caffeine lovers need not feel left out because Holiday Buzz by Cleo Coyle is a delicious blend of murder and the holidays. She said, “Nothing says New York at Christmas like a body on ice. In fact, the holiday settings in New York City are so much fun we’ve used them twice. In Holiday Grind a sidewalk Santa is slain, and in Holiday Buzz an assistant baker buys it.”
Doreen Hight writes The Pennyfoot Hotel mysteries as Kate Kingsbury. The series has been called “The perfect stocking stuffer for the cozy fan in your life. . .” by Publishers Weekly. In the latest Pennyfoot Hotel mystery, Mulled Murder, the head count is down—but the body count is up. Even though she writes about murder, Kingsbury also loves the Christmas season. She said, “My favorite part of the season is Christmas Eve, when all the work is done and I still have Christmas Day to enjoy. There’s a sense of peace and hope on Christmas Eve—a time to reflect on what is really important in my life. I look forward to those moments every year.”
Christmas is the season of giving, but it’s also a time for miracles, and that’s just what St. Nick – A Christmas Cop Novel by Alan Russell is all about. In St. Nick, a cop who is ready to give up finds that life has a new meaning when he’s charged with making two Christmas wishes come true. Russell must have been feeling a bit bluesy himself because he definitely got into the research. He said, “I’ve never felt so good about writing a book as I did St. Nick. It was cathartic for me. It was also a different life experience for me as in order to do the research I was a mall Santa for a Christmas season.”
Last in our list of holiday whodunnits is the perfect recipe for foodies. Treacherous Tart introduces concoctions like Evie’s Elegant Eggnog Pie, Marvelous Mince Pie, and Pumpkin Pizzazz Pie. Joyce Lavene, who writes as Ellie Grant, enjoys writing in this genre. She said, “We love to write Christmas mysteries and actually have written two others—Dae’s Christmas Past and Treacherous Toys. Why? Because it’s a great season to write about. Everything is special at Christmas. Why not mystery too? It gives an author so much to play with and adds great emotion.”
That’s it for this Christmas mystery roundup. Have you got your own favorite or have you tried one of these? Leave a comment and let us know.
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