Christmas is almost here. Santa’s revving up his sleigh, turkeys are being defrosted as we speak (just in case you’ve forgotten, there’s still time) and disorganised people are rapidly scanning their shelves to find something that could pass as a present if they wrapped it up. Me, I’m just desperate to open my blogger Secret Santa present – I know it’s a book (or several) but it’s very exciting.
So what better time to take a look at Crimson Snow, the latest collection from the British Library? Eleven short stories (well, ten and one novella) all of which celebrate the festive season with bloody murder, all hailing from the Golden Age of crime fiction. And before I go on, apologies for reviewing this too late for you to go and buy it for someone for that special day. Because they would have appreciated it.
Silent Nights, last year’s collection, was fine, with a couple of top notch tales, but to be honest, I found it a little lacking. Too many stories that weren’t much of a mystery, but here the balance is much better. In fact, by mostly ignoring the better known Golden Age writers, Martin has dug out a collection of little crackers.
There are a couple of weaker entries, but I’d say that nine out the eleven are top notch tales, all of which are whodunits (with admittedly a varying degree of cluing). The Margery Allingham tale is a bit disappointing, as is the Michael Gilbert tale, but the highlights more than make up for these. The finest tale is left to the end, The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell, a heart-breaking tale of house-breaking, but as I said, the rest are well worth your time.
Definitely the best of the British Library collections, this is Highly Recommended. Martin did an excellent job with his selections.
And to all of my readers, fellow bloggers, and authors that I’ve been either naughty or nice to, Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. Although I’ll be back before then…