Scott D. Parker
I love Christmas anthologies. I have my small collection. They run the gamut from SF (Christmas Stars) to classic (Dickens Christmas tales; Christmas Classics) to mystery (Crime for Christmas) to scary (Christmas Ghosts; can't find a link; it's the Hartwell/Cramer one) and Sherlock Holmes (Holmes for the Holidays). I've even got my comics covered with A DC Universe Christmas and Lee Bermejo's Batman: Noel.
But when it comes to mysteries, I think there is a top dog. Otto Penzler's The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. Released in 2013, this 650-page book has something for everybody.
Agatha Christie opens and closes the book, and in between these bookends, all your favorites are here: Arthur Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton, Ellery Queen, Donald Westlake, Isaac Asimov, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout, and more.
The stories are broken out by themes such as A Modern Little Christmas, A Puzzling Little Christmas, A Pulpy Little Christmas, and A Traditional Little Christmas. If the stories don't get you, the wonderful cover painting, evoking something from the golden age, certainly will.
A collection this large cannot possibly be finished in one season. I don’t even try. Instead, I dip in for the last five years, reading a tale here and there. What’s cool is that since the last time I opened this book in 2017, I have now read 5 John D. MacDonald novels featuring Travis McGee. I knew MacDonald’s name before this year, of course, but now I have some background.
I always enjoy making new discoveries, even if the discovery is something older.
Have y’all read through this book? If so, what are your favorite stories?