I learned here that my graduate school chum Dan Hamilton likes mysteries. Hey Dean Dan, have you checked out my blog? You should! Your friend, Dean Lisa.
Could Barbara Cleverly's latest Joe Sandilands mystery Enter Pale Death, be any more Downton-ly derivative? We've already met Mrs. Patmore, and Daisy, and I think a Dowager may be about to make her appearance. I liked Joe when he was solving crimes in India, and have only read the first two. There are twelve! I think I have to sound the Downhill Alert here.
Given this inauspicious start, I was thinking of cancelling my Soho Crime Club subscription for this year . . . until I had a gander at the list for this year. Hold the phone! Once we get through yet another Helene Tursten I am particularly looking forward to Innocence and GBH.
Enough with The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. But I will note that it introduced me to two fictional sleuths about which I have heard a great deal - Nero Wolfe and Brother Cadfael - but have never read. They're going to have to get in line behind the giant pile, but I can't wait to read more of these classics and lots of others in this thoroughly satisfying collection. You know, many of these were not particularly challenging, you could suss out the perp pretty quickly. I guess that's a by-product of the genre. But one that kept me guessing until the end, and still sticks in my mind, is "The Christmas Bogey" by Pat Frank. This Cold War-era relic is not particularly mysterious but it evokes that time of clearly defined enemies, and the nuclear threshold, so very vividly. It is a great piece of storytelling.
And in a completely unmysterious thread, I received Amy Poehler's Yes, Please for Christmas. Regular readers of Crime Pays will know of my weakness for girl-comedian writing. (Although I can't bring myself to read Not That Kind of Girl). Here's hoping this is another star in that shimmering firmament.