A Surprise for Christmas edited by Martin Edwards
Ok folks, we are flying by the seat of our pants today. I normally write out my review on pen and paper, but I'm attempting to write directly onto the computer. No idea what this is going to look like, but I've had 3 cups of coffee and my fingers are flying.
It's been a busy but absolutely lovely week for me over here. I celebrated my birthday! I felt very blessed with all the cards and presents I received and will put together a post about all the lovely books I received. People clearly know me so well! I've just started a thriller, set in the Antarctic which is perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware and I'm going to be starting a buddy read with my friend over on Instagram reading Anna Karenina. I'm still embracing January and am really enjoying it. Jigsaws are being completed, bread is being made and we are curling up with either a good book or Cobra Kai on Netflix. All in all January has been very kind to us so far.
Today's review, is a book about Christmas (tell me you are not surprised!) that I received at Christmas. A Surprise for Christmas and other seasonal mysteries is a collection of short stories in the wonderful British Library Crime Classics Series.
A postman murdered while delivering cards on Chrismtas morning. A Christmas pine growing over a forgotten homicide. A Yuletide heist gone horribly wrong. When there's as much murder as magic in the air and the facts seem to point to the impossible, it's up to the detective's trained eye to unwrap the clues and neatly tie together an explanation (preferably with a bow on top).
The gang are all back together! Martin Edwards has put together an excellent collection of mysteries set at Christmas featuring some of crime's best loved authors. Julian Symons, Ngaio Marsh, G.K Chesterton and Margery Allingham all appear here. As an introduction to the works of these authors, it's great and I find myself compiling a list of authors I want to read next. (Margery Allingham is definitely on the cards soon!)
The stand out story for me though was Give Me a Ring by Anthony Gilbert. It's the longest of the collection and features a couple about to be married, a ring, a kidnap and a sinister gang. All set in the foggy, cobbled streets of 1950s London. Atmospheric, but with 2 really likeable heroes. I loved this sweet story.
I think the draw of this series, is the time the novels were written. Covering the 'golden age of crime' and ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s, we see a different time, but all with clipped tones, stiff suits and villains who are just wrong 'uns. even though murder is the main protagonist, It remains gentle and the stories are perfect for fans of Agatha Christie.
I love this series, and am building up quite the collection. I plan to publish a post soon, detailing the list of the British Library Crime Classics currently available. Found at the start of the crime section in most bookshops, they are a great addition to any crime library and an even better introduction to the novelists of the time.
I will be back next week, wrapping up January and I'll tell you all about my father's stories.