Charlene D’Avanzo: Many eminent crime writers have penned Christmas-themed stories, so, in the spirit of the season, here are a few:
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie: On Christmas Eve the Lee Family is shocked by a loud crash followed by a wailing scream. They rush upstairs to find overbearing Simeon Lee dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. Poirot, who is in the neighborhood visiting a friend, offers to help. The problem is that many in the household have motive, but it seems nobody had opportunity.
“You yearned for a ‘good violent murder with lots of blood’ So this is your special story–written for you–Agatha Christie, from the dedication
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories: The Mistletoe Murder collects four of veteran crime writer P. D. James’ Christmas murder mysteries penned for magazines that wanted a good, festive murder. Two of the stories feature her famous detective Dalgliesh, making it an ideal read for newcomers and fans alike.
Fatal Grace by Louise Penny “Had CC de Poitiers known she was going to be murdered she might have bought her husband, Richard, a Christmas gift.” With this opening line, Louise Penny, author of the fabulous Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries, informs us that even though we are in the magical (and perhaps even mystical) Canadian town of Three Pines, there is still a gritty reality to be faced, even at Christmas time.
Christmas Carol Murder by Leslie Meir is a terrific holiday cozy set in tiny scenic Tinker’s Cove, Maine. Main character Lucy Stone, a local reporter, stars in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol while the town suffers in a severe recession, especially hard at holiday time. But Jake Marlowe, who owns the Downeast Mortgage company, profits from the town’s struggles. When he turns up dead, there’s no shortage of potential killers. Lucy is tasked with getting to the bottom of this murder.