Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Mysteries

In my 2009 Gift Book Recommendation entry last week, I mentioned the fact that it seems there were an awful lot of very grim books published this year.  Is it because it was a very grim year?  Perhaps I was in a very grim mood.  Who knows? 

In any event, I had just read Nevada Barr’s exceptionally gripping 13 1/2, right after finishing Sara Paretski’s complex Bleeding Kansas, shortly after I finished David Wroblewski’s  Edgar Sawtelle (which is nothing more than a reworking of Hamlet, so you get the picture.). I generally enjoy edgy books, but, as my uncle used to say, Lord a'mighty!

It was time for a break.  This is when I got hold of Carolyn Hart’s Merry, Merry, Ghost. This is the second installment in Carolyn’s new series featuring a mystery solving ghost who comes down from heaven to help people find justice.  This light-hearted book gave me a lift and an chuckle, and made me think about other mystery novels set around Christmas time.  Following is a list of a few that I thought of just off the top of my head, though I’m sure I’m leaving out some real classics, of which I’m sure you Dear Readers will remind me.

First up is Vicki’s Winter of Secrets. NOT cozy.  Read it.  Enough said. 

Katherine Hall Page has a new Faith Fairchild mystery out, her eighteenth. Body in the Sleigh is set at Christmas on the Sanpere Island in Maine’s Penebscot Bay.

Back to deep and edgy, Louise Penny’s Fatal Grace for Christmas in Quebec, and Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In the Bleak Midwinter, in upstate New York.  Sue Grafton’s E is for Evidence is set at Christmas time (California), and so is Linda Lael Miller’s Creed Country Christmas (Montana in the 1910s).

And if you like short stories, the Desert Sleuths (Phoenix Chapter) Sisters in Crime has issued a collection of mysteries set around the holidays entitled How Not To Survive The Holidays.

Someone asked me not long ago why I haven’t written an Alafair novel set at  Christmas.  Oh, I intend to.  As the plan now stands, the Christmas novel will be the last in the series.

Now, allow me to inform you, Dear Reader, that tomorrow’s guest blogger really, really, is KRIS NERI, owner of The Well Red Coyote Bookstore in Sedona, Arizona, beloved of every mystery novelist who passes through this state, and successful mystery novelist in her own right.  Do not miss her!


Vicki Delany said...

Thanks for the mention, Donis. I am always somewhat startled when the Molly Smith books are called cozy. I suspect if I were a man they wouldn't be. Here is a take on that from today's Hamilton Spectator: Delany's contemporary spin on this cosy style can be quite acerbic, with drugs, predators of sexual and financial persuasion and false tokens of polished affection.

Donis Casey said...

How odd. That's like saying, that color is the whitest black I've ever seen, or for a short person, she is very tall.

Hannah Dennison said...

I'm halfway through Merry Merry Ghost and loving it! It really is putting me in the mood for the holidays - and of course, I just love everything Carolyn writes.
What about holiday movies? Any suggestions, Donis?

Leigh said...

As you know, John stopped by Criminal Brief. (Hi John!)

We're sponsoring a Christmas mystery contest with clues embedded in each article this week. I look forward to seeing you there!

Leigh said...

Whoops! I see the above link didn't link! One more time!