Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Murder for Christmas: Last Review of 2018

As with all short story collections, Murder for Christmas (1982; edited by Thomas Godfrey) is a mixed bag--with treasures that you'll thank Santa for as well as items that you'll wish you could take back to the store for cash value. It was lovely to reread familiar favorites starring Lord Peter Wimsey, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe, and Inspector Roderick Alleyn. And there were several new (to me) stories that were very intriguing--including the opening story, "Back for Christmas" by John Collieer in which a murderer may not want to come back for Christmas, but may have no choice in the matter. Others on Santa's nice list are "Silent Night" by Baynard Kendrick, "A Christmas Tragedy" by Baroness Orczy, and "Blind Man's Hood" by Carter Dickson (though more a Christmas ghost story). Most of the rest were pleasant enough, though not outstanding. But I really could have done without "Markheim" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Mother's Milk" by James Mines, and the last story in the collection--"Ring Out, Wild Bells" by D. B. Wyndham Lewis (a "Boxing Day Bonus" as Godfrey refers to it).

The illustrations by Gahan Wilson were delightful as were the anecdotes, introductions, and intermissions provided by Godfrey. This was, overall, a nice way to round off the holidays and finish out the year's reading. ★★★★

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