‘Tis the Season

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 (Photo by Friedrich Bohringer from Wikimedia Commons)

Each year as the winter holidays approach I enjoy ‘seasonal reading’—books set in winter and/or at holiday time. I read quite a few mysteries, but I also indulge in general fiction and I have old favorites to which I return every year. I also like to read at least one new (to me anyway) book in hopes that it will become one of my new old favorites.

I have lots of old standbys to keep me occupied. Miss Read is, of course, near the top of my list with Christmas at Fairacre, Miss Read’s Christmas, and Winter in Thrush GreenBook cover for Christmas at Fairacre by Miss ReadI never tire of visiting the folks in her villages with their humor, warmth, and humane earthiness. I also love Agatha Christie’s mysteries and at this time of year I like to read Holiday for Murder, one of Hercule Poirot’s adventures as he tries to figure out whodunit to pater familias Simeon Lee on Christmas Eve as his family is gathered for the holiday. When I’m in the mood for older favorites I also turn to Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh which is set in an old English manor where a variety of guests become the suspects in a holiday murder.

For those of you who like your fiction new (as in 2010 new), there are quite a few selections. M.C. Beaton’s newest Agatha Raisin mystery, Busy Body, is set at Christmas time. Book cover for Busy Body: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M. C. BeatonFor the horror/vampire lovers there is Heidi Betts’ Bite Before Christmas and for the fans of historical mysteries Kate Kingsbury has produced a new Pennyfoot Hotel mystery titled Mistletoe and Mayhem (the entire series is set in Edwardian England). Speaking of historical fiction, Anne Perry has written another in her series of Victorian Christmas novels entitled Christmas Odyssey and there is a new book in the Pink Carnation series set in Regency England and written by Lauren Willig called Mischief of the Mistletoe.

Book cover for A Christmas Odyssey: A Novel by Anne PerryThriller lovers will enjoy Margaret Maron’s newest work, Christmas Mourning. Those who are fans of romance should enjoy Patti Callahan Henry’s Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story and fans of gentle, traditional reads will most likely enjoy Thomas Kinkade’s On Christmas Eve: A Cape Light Novel.

While you’re waiting your turn to read one of these new titles, you might consider picking up Maeve Binchy’s This Year It Will Be Different: And Other StoriesBook cover for The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher MooreThose interested in quirky, funny, sort of appalling fiction might want to take a look at Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. Mystery lovers might want to give one of my all time favorite authors, Jane Haddam, a try. She has written two Christmas mysteries in her Gregor Demarkian series: Not a Creature Was Stirring and Stillness in Bethlehem.

Speaking of mysteries, died-in-the wool, can’t get enough mystery fans should check out the holiday section of a great web site called Stop You’re Killing Me. Mysteries are listed by author and by holiday. In addition, on other parts of this great site you will find books listed by character, by series, by setting, by time period and by almost any way you can think of. Book cover for Holiday Grind by Cleo CoyleI use this often — especially when I’m addicted to an author and want to read everything he or she has written about a particular character.

As for me, in addition to a couple of my standby favorites, I’ll be enjoying Holiday Grind (a coffee house mystery) by Cleo Coyle, and Mistletoe and Murder (a Daisy Dalrymple mystery) by Carola Dunn.

If you find yourself intrigued by any of the above titles or website, just click on the highlighted words to check it out further.  Happy, safe, and warm reading!