I know, I know. A person who meditates, believes in peace – reading murder mysteries?
Yes, it’s true. At least at Christmas time. Once we’re past Tofurkey Day, I can barely keep my mind on anything else. So cozy British style mysteries are it. And I’m tearing through several anthologies this year.
The first one I read was Christmas Crimes, put together in 1996 by Editor Cynthia Manson, from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Lots of superstars from yesteryear – Agatha Christies, Georges Simenon, Peter Lovesey, Margery Allingham, John Dickson Carr, Edward D. Hoch. None of the more current writers ever turned out to be superstars – but nonetheless, all the writing is good, all of it is fun, it made me happy.
Then on to Mistletoe Mysteries collected by Charlotte MacLeod in 1989. Subtitled A Cozy Collection of Criminality at Christmastime, this is all new tales (at that time) by prominent writers, including Isaac Asimov (who wrote in a million genre!), Sharyn McCrumb (new and up and coming then), Mary Higgins Clark, established then, and still writing so well now. Plus Charlotte MacLeon herself, of course!
I’m in the middle of – and reading fast – Murder Under the Mistletoe, 1992, again from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. This one goes back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and includes John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey.
A big one to go – Murder Most Merry, edited by Abigail Browning, 2002, which has Arthur Conan Doyle, includes John D. MacDonald, and comes right up to Patricia Moyes, still very much on the scene.
And about half of an anthology – huge and terrific – that I started last Christmas: The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, edited and with an introduction by Otto Penzler, published in 2013. Subtitled The Most Complete Collection of Yuletide Whodunits Every Assembled, this one runs 650 pages.
My bet is that this one runs over into 2015! I’m out of breath just thinking about all this reading!
I usually read entire books, but Xmas 2014 has been pretty much the season of the short story. Although I’ll report on two books, and a sort of weird collection of ebook short mysteries I happened upon.