Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop (2010)

Last summer a best friend gave me a copy of Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler to read during this holiday season. I pulled it off the shelf the other day and read the explanation about how those particular mysteries came to be gathered together.

There actually IS an independent bookstore named The Mysterious Bookshop run by Otto Penzler. I had heard of it for years but never got to visit even on the few trips I made to New York City.

Here's how Otto Penzler explains the collection:

"As a way of thanking our customers for their support, I have commissioned an original story from some of the finest mystery writers in America each Christmas season for the past 17 years. These stories are then published in handsome booklets and given to my customers as a Christmas present. The only criteria for the authors to follow were that the stories should be set during the Christmas season, involve a mystery, and have at least some of the action take place at The Mysterious Bookshop."

Each year only 1,000 copies of each story were printed. Now all seventeen have been published for the rest of us to read and enjoy. And the stories are as much fun as the idea behind them! The authors include Lawrence Block, Mary Higgins Clark, Ed McBain, Anne Perry, S.J. Rozan, and Donald Westlake.

A favorite quote in the story Murder for Dummies by Ron Goulart is "Windward was a small town that sat on the Connecticut side of the Long Island Sound. Its homes were a mix of heavy Victorian, 1930s modern and an occasional gross misunderstanding of the basic theories of Frank Lloyd Wright."

Could this clever anthology be a possible present for your favorite mystery reader?

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