The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard October 22, 2013 trade paperback, 672 pages (2.3 pounds)
Here comes the Christmas/Holiday season, and this is just the time for reading crime-themed mystery set at this time of year. Though the anthology is a mere five years old, and probably not forgotten, the contents are old, ranging from the 1890s to the 1970s. Take a look at the table of contents below to see what a rich cornucopia of stories is included.
This wonderful, thick collection is a bargain and for those who don’t like to hold doorstop weight books is also available in Kindle/ebook format. I easily enjoyed almost every one of these stories, many of which were new to me, and I’ve been reading Christmas crime anthologies for years. Speaking of which, I’ll admit I started this one last December, and didn’t get much past halfway, so I picked it up this November and finished it just this week. Good stuff.
INTRODUCTION Otto Penzler
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 91
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 Page
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
About Rick Robinson
Enjoying life in Portland, OR
I just find these Penzler books too awkward to read. And I rarely find myself using my kindle anymore. Although he tends to have good taste in his selections.
Steve, this is the very thing the Kindle is perfect for. Drop in to a short story collection, easy to hold and read. I have all of the big Penzler anthologies on kindle, and in print too.
I’m tempted to fire up my Kindle and check out the Stout, Asimov, Allyn, Page and Mortimer stories. And maybe the Sherlockians.
There are many good stories in this one.
Penzler has been putting out anthologies that weigh more the Gramma’s fruitcake. This is one of the few I haven’t got…yet.
That’s why it’s good they are available as ebooks. I’m getting the new one on female detectives in both print and Kindle for Christmas, so a little elf tells me. This one has been out a while, you might be able to find a used copy.
This is a good one, I liked the inclusion of authors not commonly seen in anthologies like this one. By coincidence, George also reviews a giant Penzler collection this week.
I agree, Jeff. This took me last year and this year to finish, but I enjoyed it all.
Great minds think alike. My FFB today is THE BIG BOOK OF CHRISTMAS MYSTERIES, too. It’s a very good book, but awkward to hold while riding. I had to resort to putting on our dining room table to read.
Yes, this is a good one, and I’ll bet the one you review, on female detectives, is just as good. See my comment to Jerry, above.
I read a few of the stories from this book every December since I bought the book. I am maybe halfway through the book but I skipped around.
I’m not a skip around anthology reader. Short of marking the table of contents, I can’t track of which stories I’ve read/haven’t read, and it feels chaotic. So I go straight through, and if I don’t like a story, I just go to the next one.
I know most of the authors, but only 2 or 3 of the stories. I’ll have to dig out my copy of this one. I’ve neglected it far too long!