Mistletoe Mysteries collected by Charlotte MacLeod

Mistletoe Mysteries collected by Charlotte MacLeod Mistletoe Mysteries: Tales of Yuletide Murder by Charlotte MacLeod
Published by Mysterious Press on December 6, 2016 (first published 1989)
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery, Anthology
Pages: 195
Format: eARC
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Have yourself a mysterious little Christmas with fifteen whodunits from New York Times–bestselling authors Sharyn McCrumb, Mary Higgins Clark, and more!

Peace on Earth isn’t everyone’s cup of tea in Charlotte MacLeod’s “A Cozy for Christmas.”

Peter Lovesey’s “The Haunted Crescent” delivers a holiday ghost story with a twist.

A training session for department-store Santas turns up Saint Nicks who are anything but angels in Isaac Asimov’s “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

Marcia Muller’s “Silent Night” finds a tough private investigator searching San Francisco’s Tenderloin district—and discovering something unexpected.

A long-married couple’s ship finally comes in—only to spring a mysterious leak—in Mary Higgins Clark’s “That’s the Ticket.”

Scottish superstition catches up with a cat burglar in Sharyn McCrumb’s “A Wee Doch and Doris.”

These and many more stories will keep you turning pages and gathering evidence of yuletide mayhem. So when holiday shopping brings out your inner Grinch, hunker down with a hot toddy—and leave the murder to the experts.

This festive collection includes stories by Charlotte MacLeod, Peter Lovesey, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Eric Wright, John Lutz, Howard Engel, Mary Higgins Clark, Bill Pronzini, Sharyn McCrumb, Henry Slesar, Edward D. Hoch, Aaron Elkins, Susan Dunlap, Isaac Asimov, and Marcia Muller.

I don’t know why, but I am more likely to pick up short story collections in December than any other time of year. It’s even better when they’re mysteries. This collection, like most, has high points and low points. I have read several of the authors before and discovered a couple I’d like to read more of.

A couple of my favorites: (okay, more than a couple. There were a lot of good stories here.)

“The Haunted Crescent” by Peter Lovesey has a great twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.

“Dutch Treat” by Aaron Elkins was fun. I tend to like when art and murder go hand in hand.

“The Touch of Koyada” by Edward Hoch was another good one. I love how some writers can just pack so much into so few pages. I think I’ll read more of his Simon Ark stories.

Of course, Pronzini’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” was enjoyable. I like his Nameless Detective.

A few misses:

Dorothy Salisbury Davis’ “Christopher and Maggie” just didn’t keep my attention. I kept having to re-read bits to remember what was going on.

“The Live Tree” by John Lutz took a bit of a paranormal turn that didn’t work for me.

This is definitely a collection worth reading around this time of year. Overall, the quality was good; none of the tales were absolutely terrible. It’s pretty clean and pretty non-violent. They are not all murder mysteries, although most are.

I may have to pick up Christmas Stalkings, another collection re-released this year.

About Charlotte MacLeod

Charlotte MacLeod, born in New Brunswick, Canada, and a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the multi-award-winning author of over thirty acclaimed novels. Her series featuring detective Professor Peter Shandy, America’s homegrown Hercule Poirot, delivers “generous dollops of…warmth, wit, and whimsy” (San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle). But fully a dozen novels star her popular husband-and-wife team of Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. And her native Canada provides a backdrop for the amusing Grub-and-Stakers cozies written under the pseudonym Alisa Craig and the almost-police procedurals starring Madoc Rhys, RCMP. A cofounder and past president of the American Crime Writers League, she also edited the bestselling anthologies Mistletoe Mysteries and Christmas Stalkings.

A Highland Christmas by M. C. Beaton


xmas spirit rc 2015

A Highland Christmas by M. C. Beaton A Highland Christmas by M.C. Beaton
Series: Hamish Macbeth
Published by Mysterious Press on March 6, 2001 (first publshed 1999)
Source: Won
Genres: Mystery, Christmas
Pages: 129
Format: Hardcover
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Hamish's toughest case to date - to bring some festive cheer to a town long dampened by the spirit of Scrooge. In dark, wintry Lochdubh, Christmas Cheer is about as welcome as a flat tyre on a deserted road. The Calvinist element in town has always resisted what they view as secular frivolity, so for most of the townsfolk there'll be no carols, feasting, gifts - or even whisky on Christmas Day!

And for PC Hamish Macbeth there's no holiday from crime - he finds himself hunting for a missing cat belonging to a lonely spinster. Curt and unfriendly, the woman is convinced her pet has been stolen but once behind her heavily-bolted door, Hamish can spot her true problem - she lives in fear, though of who or what he cannot guess.

Then someone steals a Christmas tree and lights from the nearby village of Cnothan. So it is up to Hamish to sort all these problems out - and he had better do it quickly, for the church bells will soon peal on the eve of Christmas.

This is the first Hamish Macbeth story I’ve read and I realize it’s not typical of the series – no murder for example, but I really liked Hamish. He seems like a truly good guy who actually cares about the people of his town. The towns are filled with quirky odd characters, most of whom are amusing. I also love how the locals treat Hamish. Even though he’s the police, he’s on their side. I don’t quite understand the conflict with his boss, but i’m sure it’s made clear in another of the installements.

This particular one is a feel-good light Christmas mystery. The mysteries involve a missing cat and some lights that have been stolen from another village.  It’s short and I don’t want to give much away, but it left me with a smile and wanting to visit Lochdubh again.

About M.C. Beaton

Marion Gibbons, née McChesney (born 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a British popular and prolific writer of romance and mystery novels since 1979. She has written numerous successful historical romance novels under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, including the Travelling Matchmaker and Daughters of Mannerling series. Using the pseudonym M. C. Beaton, she has also written many popular mystery novels, most notably the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mystery series.

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