The Christmas Card Crime & Other Stories

You may be wondering why I’m promoting a Christmas mystery in mid-October. It’s simple. This fabulous anthology of holiday British Library Crime Classics was published a few years ago. Since it isn’t recent, quantities may be limited. Frankly, this is such a GREAT compilation of mysteries that I want to be sure my audience gets a chance to snag a copy before the Christmas season really kicks into gear.

This is a collection of 11 mysteries by 11 different authors – all creating foreboding and well-plotted mysteries from a different era. These master storytellers were all born in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s – well before modern technology. Take away modern technology and settings instantly become more sinister. Someone’s in trouble – about to be murdered. Well, there’s no cell phone to call the police – they are doomed! When police need to track down a nefarious killer, it’s all good old-fashioned legwork – there’s no computer to look up a criminal’s background.

For those of you who want something different in the way of mysteries, look no further than The Christmas Card Crime and Other Stories.

Donald Stuart’s (1897-1980) The Christmas Card Crime is a well-threaded plot of twists and turns – all revolving around a torn Christmas card. It’s a totally engaging tale that will keep you guessing until the very end as to the real crime and the motive behind it.

John Bingham (1908-88) weaves a tale about a stranger, John Bradley, seeking shelter from a storm and winds up taking refuge at Lark Cottage. Bradley brings us a “reunited” happy ending – but not before he exposes a devious murder plot – and he does it in grand style!

Blind Man’s Hood by *Carter Dickson finds Rodney Hunter (a writer of detective stories), and his wife, showing up at Clearlawns, an old friend’s estate to celebrate the holidays, only to discover their host, Mr. Bannister, isn’t there. But there is a lone woman to receive the couple. She apologizes for Bannister’s absence and proceeds to share with them the ominous mystery of the house…and it’s quietly disturbing!

Selwyn Jepson’s (1899-1989) By the Sword has his character Alfred Caithness staying at his cousin’s house during the Christmas holiday, but only for purely selfish reasons. When jealously and envy rear their ugly heads, it’s not Christmas carols filling the air – but flat-out murder in the first.

These are just a sampling – there are so many more! If you love to see justice served with criminals getting their “just desserts” – you’ll relish in these holiday tales best read on a dreary day or cold winter night. The Christmas Card Crime & Other Stories is a perfect companion to a glass of sherry or some warm soothing eggnog!

Anthologies give us an insight as to the writing styles of many different authors and their unique characters. The introduction is by Martin Edwards. This stellar anthology takes us back in time and features a brief bio on each author.

*Carter Dickson was a pen name of John Dickson Carr (1906-1977). He wrote one of my favorite mysteries, The Lost Gallows, under the name of John Dickson Carr (see my review of this book, as well as other British Crime Classics, under the BOOK/mystery category).

The Christmas Card Crime & Other Stories is published by Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebooks.

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