Christmas Askew

Otto Penzler, editor

Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present.  Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume: Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying.

Anne Perry

With Christmas just around the corner, Thomas Pitt's sister-in-law, Emily Radley, is suddenly called from London to be with her dying aunt. Leaving her husband and two children behind, Emily makes the long journey to an all-but-forgotten town in the county of Connemara, on the western coast of Ireland. She soon discovers that a tragic legacy haunts the once close-knit community.

James Brady
"Beecher Stowe couldn't be more pleased than to find himself spending that delicious season before Christmas in the Hamptons with the always lovely Lady Alix Dunraven. It's an old-fashioned American village Christmas -- even if the elves include Spielberg's kids!But Beecher and Alix's plans to get to know each other 'out of season' get turned around a bit when a little girl by the name of Susannah Driver arrives on the scene. Skinny and precocious, Susannah is the daughter of Dick and Nicole Driver, who are not so amicably divorced (they may remind one of Donald and Ivana Trump).

"Susannah is mad for Martha Stewart and has concocted a romantic scheme to spend Christmas with her heroine. Little does poor Susannah know that Martha spends her holiday season at her other home in Westport, Connecticut! Beecher and Alix happen upon the sad little girl just as the first snowflakes of winter start to fall. Can anything be done to brighten little Susannah's Christmas?"

M. C. Beaton
Left alone in chilly Lochdubh, Scotland, while his family spends Christmas in Florida, Constable Hamish Macbeth copes with a missing cat and the disappearance of a town's holiday tree and decorations, while searching for a way to make a little girl's Christmas dreams come true.
Christine Feehan and Melanie George
"Two acclaimed authors weave stories of paranormal passions and unreal ecstasy, taking readers into a world of dark secrets that are entwined with the beauty and redemption of the holiday season."
Jeffrey Marks
"This holiday feast for lovers of mutts and mysteries features 15 new stories by popular mystery authors. Find out how a temperamental Yorkie provokes Yuletide mayhem at an English country house, a puppy forgotten in Santa's bag helps quell a coup at the North Pole, and a Portuguese water dog noses out murder at a Vermont inn!"
Richard Dalby, editor

The horrors of Christmas are not limited to just the credit card bills and the fruit cake. Try these spooky English tales from such talents as Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling.

Charlotte MacLeod, editor

Tales of Christmas crime and mystery by such authors as Robert Barnard, Dorothy Cannell, Bill Crider, Charlotte MacLeod, and Margaret Maron.

Van Reid
"In this wonderfully written adventure, Reid introduces Daniel Plainway, a good-hearted country lawyer who sets off on an odyssey that changes his life and the lives of an orphaned child, a big-hearted ballplayer, and an extraordinary woman whom he meets along the way. Filled with lighthearted comedy and touching drama and populated by a rich panoply of memorable characters, Daniel Plainway is a delightful example of magnificent, old-fashioned storytelling that will have readers of all ages enthralled, amused, and curled up in their favorite reading chairs."
Terry Pratchett

Who would want to harm Discworld's most beloved icon?
Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless -- and oddly familiar -- universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there's something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins' Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork's rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld's entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man's vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death's level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it.

Martin H. Greenberg and Jon L. Lellenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh, editors

A brilliant collection of fourteen original Holmes stories written by today's premier mystery writers. Each story features Holmes and Watson, festively solving the darkest of crimes in the brightest of seasons. Also try the sequel, More Holmes for the Holidays.

James Finn Garner

Stories include such gems as: "Twas the Night Before Solstice," "Frosty the Persun of Snow," and "Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer."

Christopher Moore and Pamela Johnson

A bus driver takes his grandson along on Saturdays as he travels a historical route around New York City. What comes out of these travels is a series of wonderful adventures that culminates on Christmas Eve, when the bus gets stuck in a snowstorm.

Nani Power
"...a slyly addictive story that introduces a beguiling cross section of characters in a small Virginia village, all of whom are destined to collide in an unusual confluence of events in the days leading up to Christmas. Dr. C. R. Ash, a neonatologist and chronic bachelor, is a man in the winter of his soul, and last in the line of an old Southern family. During a snowy prelude to a much-anticipated hospital Christmas party, C.R. crosses paths with a world of local characters, living and dead: Betty, his fire-fearing secretary and her cohort; Dr. Pendleton Compton, C.R.'s lascivious best friend who mends the hearts of babies; Kirsten, a candy striper who teeters between the worlds of childhood and child rearing; a clutch of death-obsessed teenagers; and two amateur caterers striving to create a Dickensian world of magic for the overworked and bedraggled hospital staff.

"In a town adrift with housing developments, strip malls, and Civil War history, this motley assemblage of characters are all impelled by their search to solve the ancient human riddles of love, loss, and desolation."

David Morrell

As holiday celebrations take place in Santa Fe, Agent Paul Kagan is on the run with a baby the Russian mafia wants to destroy and turns to a mother and her young son for help during a violent night where they all must work together to keep the child safe from harm.

 

Christopher Moore

"Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn't run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead. But hold on! There's an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It's none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say "Kris Kringle," he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen."

Janet Evanovich

"It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment.

And there's a strange man in her kitchen.

"Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy--and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant?

"These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style."