The first is Anne Perry's A Christmas Escape, due to be released on November 10th.
I believe this is Perry's thirteenth "Christmas" book, though it's the first I have read. Receiving my copy from NetGalley was a good excuse to finally get off my duff and read something of Perry's -- which I've been meaning to do for years.
Overall it was an enjoyable short read. I'm only giving it three stars out of five, though, because of the lack of seasonality that I was anticipating.
Charles Latterly (the brother-in-law of Perry's Victorian detective William Monk) is vacationing before Christmas on the volcanic island of Stromboli. The property where he is staying already has a handful of other guests who all know eachother -- teenager Candace Finbar and her great- uncle, the married bickering Baileys, uppity Colonel Bretherton and novelist Quinn. Charles immediately bonds with the Finbars and the property owner, Stefano. He's also immediately aware of the tension surrounding his relaxing vacation -- not only from his fellow guests but also from the volcano.
Between the bickering, a murderer in their midst, and a volcano getting ready to blow any real Christmas-y feel was lost. I had almost even forgotten that it was supposed to be a "holiday mystery" when a "Merry Christmas" was offered up at the very end. Still a decent little story and the descriptions of the scenery and the volcano were wonderful, but as a "holiday" read it's not one I'll add to my list of seasonal re-reads.
More likely to be on my holiday re-read list is the anthology from Poisoned Pen Press, Silent Nights, being published on November 3rd.
I love Poisoned Pen Press and they're commitment to uncovering lost treasures from the Golden Age of detective fiction and this anthology definitely fits. There are fifteen stories in all with a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar tales. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Margery Allingham's Albert Campion, and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown all make appearances. These stories alone will be worth the purchase price for many fans, but I was more excited about some of the stories by authors I hadn't read, with three standing out for me more than the rest:
Leo Bruce's "Beef For Christmas" had me chuckling from the get-go and wondering why the heck I was unfamiliar with the characters -- especially after doing a search on Goodreads and seeing that there are eight Beef books I now have to add to my TBR. Swell. Thanks a lot, Poisoned Pen Press.
Edmund Crispin's "The Name On The Window" has added another eleven titles to my TBR since I need to find out more about Fen ... and whether or not he's always as flippant as he was here. I'm hoping that he was because I do so love a good bit of flippancy. Not a Christmas-tale, really, but I'll let them slide.
Ethel Lina White. Who? Oh ... the woman who wrote the stories that The Lady Vanishes and The Spiral Staircase were based on? Two of my favorite classic thrillers? I hang my head in shame at my ignorance ... and then perk up in delight that I have, yes, even more to read. "Waxworks," according to the introduction in the book was in print before White's first novel was published. I see, now, that there is also a novel by White titled Wax and I hope that it's a blown-up version of this story ... but, of course, different enough that I won't know what will happen.