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Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder "Edwards's second winter-themed anthology in the British Library Crime Classics series is a standout. As in the most successful of such volumes, the editor's expertise results in a selection of unusual suspects, expanding readers' knowledge." —Publishers Weekly STARRED review Crimson Snow brings toge Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder "Edwards's second winter-themed anthology in the British Library Crime Classics series is a standout. As in the most successful of such volumes, the editor's expertise results in a selection of unusual suspects, expanding readers' knowledge." —Publishers Weekly STARRED review Crimson Snow brings together a dozen vintage crime stories set in winter. Welcome to a world of Father Christmases behaving oddly, a famous fictional detective in a Yuletide drama, mysterious tracks in the snow, and some very unpleasant carol singers. There's no denying that the supposed season of goodwill is a time of year that lends itself to detective fiction. On a cold night, it's tempting to curl up by the fireside with a good mystery. And more than that, claustrophobic house parties, with people cooped up with long-estranged relatives, can provide plenty of motives for murder.Including forgotten stories by major writers such as Margery Allingham, as well as classic tales by less familiar crime novelists, each story in this selection is introduced by the leading expert on classic crime, Martin Edwards. The resulting volume is an entertaining and atmospheric compendium of wintry delights.


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Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder "Edwards's second winter-themed anthology in the British Library Crime Classics series is a standout. As in the most successful of such volumes, the editor's expertise results in a selection of unusual suspects, expanding readers' knowledge." —Publishers Weekly STARRED review Crimson Snow brings toge Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder "Edwards's second winter-themed anthology in the British Library Crime Classics series is a standout. As in the most successful of such volumes, the editor's expertise results in a selection of unusual suspects, expanding readers' knowledge." —Publishers Weekly STARRED review Crimson Snow brings together a dozen vintage crime stories set in winter. Welcome to a world of Father Christmases behaving oddly, a famous fictional detective in a Yuletide drama, mysterious tracks in the snow, and some very unpleasant carol singers. There's no denying that the supposed season of goodwill is a time of year that lends itself to detective fiction. On a cold night, it's tempting to curl up by the fireside with a good mystery. And more than that, claustrophobic house parties, with people cooped up with long-estranged relatives, can provide plenty of motives for murder.Including forgotten stories by major writers such as Margery Allingham, as well as classic tales by less familiar crime novelists, each story in this selection is introduced by the leading expert on classic crime, Martin Edwards. The resulting volume is an entertaining and atmospheric compendium of wintry delights.

30 review for Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I'm so glad to have had the opportunity once again to preview one of Martin Edwards' story collections drawn from the "golden" era of British detective fiction. He manages to continue finding authors known and new to me who have really interesting contributions to the canon. This is the second Christmas collection I've read, after Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries, and I heartily recommend both. I definitely liked at least three quarters of the eleven stories very much, and disliked none at all. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity once again to preview one of Martin Edwards' story collections drawn from the "golden" era of British detective fiction. He manages to continue finding authors known and new to me who have really interesting contributions to the canon. This is the second Christmas collection I've read, after Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries, and I heartily recommend both. I definitely liked at least three quarters of the eleven stories very much, and disliked none at all. My favorites were "The Case of the Man with the Sack"by Margery Allingham, "The Carol Singers" by Josephine Bell, "Deep and Crisp and Even" by Michael Gilbert, and "Death in December" by Victor Gunn. Once again, as after reading Mr Edwards' other anthologies, I will make a note of these authors and seek out other anthologies with their works. I will also wait (im)patiently for Edwards next collection! 4 to 4.5* A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Martin Edwards’ first anthology of Golden Age mystery short stories set at Christmas proved to be a delight. Like most anthologies, Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries had a few lumps of coal amongst the lovely presents, but Edwards, an English solicitor and a mystery writer in his own right, did a great job selecting the stories. Unfortunately, Edwards didn’t fare as well with his second anthology of British Yuletide mystery short stories, Crimson Snow. Only one author from Silent Nights reappear Martin Edwards’ first anthology of Golden Age mystery short stories set at Christmas proved to be a delight. Like most anthologies, Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries had a few lumps of coal amongst the lovely presents, but Edwards, an English solicitor and a mystery writer in his own right, did a great job selecting the stories. Unfortunately, Edwards didn’t fare as well with his second anthology of British Yuletide mystery short stories, Crimson Snow. Only one author from Silent Nights reappears — Margery Allingham — and thank heavens for that! Her story, “The Man with the Sack,” is the only one that’s fabulous. While “The Chopham Affair” by Edgar Wallace and “Deep Crisp and Even” by Michael Gilbert both have interesting twists, “The Carol Singers” by Josephine Bell is barely mediocre, and the rest of the short stories are utterly forgettable. In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Crimson Snow presents a series of festive cosy crime tales, all of which are, unsurprisingly, set in wintertime. The authors included are far outside the box; there are no Agatha Christies or Edmund Crispins here, and indeed, Edwards makes much of telling the reader that he has focused upon those stories and authors which have been lost to the annals of time, and rediscovered only recently during his extensive research for this tome. There is a Margery Allingham tale, albeit not one of her best, Crimson Snow presents a series of festive cosy crime tales, all of which are, unsurprisingly, set in wintertime. The authors included are far outside the box; there are no Agatha Christies or Edmund Crispins here, and indeed, Edwards makes much of telling the reader that he has focused upon those stories and authors which have been lost to the annals of time, and rediscovered only recently during his extensive research for this tome. There is a Margery Allingham tale, albeit not one of her best, but Edwards certainly succeeds in presenting a range of 'new' old authors - Josephine Bell, Michael Gilbert, Victor Gunn, Macdonald Hastings, Ianthe Jerrold, Sydney Roberts, Julian Symons, Christopher Bush, Fergus Hume, and Edgar Wallace. 'No fewer than seven of the eleven authors featured here were members of the prestigious Detection Club, the world's first social network for crime writers,' Edwards goes on to tell us in his rather interesting introduction. I come to collections like this with the utmost excitement at the possibility of discovering new authors. Each has been introduced before their story commences, which is quite a nice touch; biographical information is given, and a little in the way of thoughts about each tale and its writing process. Regardless, I found that the majority of the stories took a while to get going, and very few of them grabbed me right at the outset. There is certainly a varied mixture here, including even a play which takes Holmes and Watson as its protagonists. Crimson Snow is nowhere near as enjoyable as I had thought and hoped that it would be. Ianthe Jerrold's tale was the real standout for me; she writes incredibly cleverly, if this entry is anything to go by. Overall, however, very little interest was sparked, and I found the entirety a little hit and miss as an anthology; aside from Jerrold and more Margery Allingham, I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to seek out the work of any of these authors.

  4. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    A very decent collection. The British Library reprints can vary in quality and you sometimes wonder what they were thinking, but this one has a high strike rate and a couple of detectives I might read more of.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    Twelve crime stories from masters of the genre are collected together in this book. Some authors represented here will be well known to readers of crime fiction, though some authors may be unfamiliar. All the stories are set in and around the Christmas season. The story which has remained in my mind after I finished the book is The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell which involves a particularly unpleasant murder in circumstances which could easily have happened in the twenty first century. The oth Twelve crime stories from masters of the genre are collected together in this book. Some authors represented here will be well known to readers of crime fiction, though some authors may be unfamiliar. All the stories are set in and around the Christmas season. The story which has remained in my mind after I finished the book is The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell which involves a particularly unpleasant murder in circumstances which could easily have happened in the twenty first century. The other story which sent a frisson down my spine is the first one in the collection called The Ghost's Touch by Fergus Hume - an author I hadn't heard of before. If you're looking for a collection of crime stories to read after Christmas lunch then this would be ideal. All the stories are well written and have stood the test of time. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Once again Martin Edwards has gathered together a delicious selection of holiday treats for the Golden Age mystery lover. We have Christmas ghosts, spurious Santas, mysterious strangers who leave no tracks in the snow-covered country-side, and criminous carolers...among other mysterious fare. Well-known authors such as Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Julian Symons, Edgar Wallace, and Josephine Bell appear with those who may not be as familiar to mystery fans. All but two are seriously good m Once again Martin Edwards has gathered together a delicious selection of holiday treats for the Golden Age mystery lover. We have Christmas ghosts, spurious Santas, mysterious strangers who leave no tracks in the snow-covered country-side, and criminous carolers...among other mysterious fare. Well-known authors such as Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Julian Symons, Edgar Wallace, and Josephine Bell appear with those who may not be as familiar to mystery fans. All but two are seriously good mysteries and Josephine Bell closes the book out with a very dark and sad tale that brings home the plight of those who left alone on Christmas. There's even one story that offers a final challenge to the reader--with the answer at the end of the book. Can you figure out Cork's secret? Overall, an excellent collection for Christmas--or any time you're in the mood for a holiday mystery or twelve. ★★★★ A quick look at the stories enclosed. "The Ghost's Touch" by Fergus Hume: In which a schemer is caught in his own ghostly trap. "The Chopham Affair" by Edgar Wallace: a heartless blackmailer gets his just desserts from a very surprising source. "The Man with the Sack" by Margery Allingham: Albert Campion puts a stop to a Christmas-time diamond theft. "Christmas Eve" by S. C. Roberts: Sherlock Holmes and the puzzle of the purloined pearls. "Death in December" by Victor Gunn: When Chief Inspector Bill "Ironsides" Cromwell accepts his sergeant's invitation to spend Christmas at Cloon Castle, his family's country seat, he's gloomily anticipating a stay with silly party games, chitchat with people he doesn't know, and other social inconveniences. He immediately perks up when a mysterious figure crosses the drive between them and the castle--leaving behind no footprints. And there's soon more ghostly and murderous incidents to investigate. A fitting Christmas present for savvy detective. "Murder at Christmas" by Christopher Bush: Ludovic Travers spends a week with his colleague for Christmas and golfing. While there he becomes involved in the murder of a swindler whose body is found in the woods. "Off the Tiles" by Ianthe Jerrold: In the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, an artist falls to her death from the tiled roof. Some say it was suicide; some say it was a deadly accident--Inspector James Quy soon knows it is neither. "Mr. Cork's Secret" by MacDonald Hastings: Montague Cork's insurance company underwrites a policy covering a fabulous ruby and diamond collection known by the unappealing (to me anyway) name of Alouette's Worms without his input. He's uneasy about the transaction and follows the jewels to the Paradise Hotel...where he becomes embroiled in murder and robbery. "The Santa Claus Club" by Julian Symons: The wealthy business bigwig Lord Acrise receives a death threat which tells him that he will die at the annual Santa Claus Club dinner where all the members (all wealthy) dress up as old Saint Nick and hold a raffle in support of charity. He asks private investigator Francis Quarles to attend as his guest and quasi-bodyguard, but murder strikes despite the detective's presence. "Deep and Crisp and Even" by Michael Gilbert: Sergeant Petrella trails a suspicious character encountered when he (Petrella) took part in a round of Christmas caroling. Just who is the man who gave drinks to the carolers in Mr. Hazel's house? [Just my two cents...I like Michael Gilbert a lot. This story? Not so very much.] "The Carol Singers" by Josephine Bell: The death of an elderly woman on Christmas Eve results in a long investigation to bring the crime home to the villain/s of the piece. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Deep and crisp and even... The latest addition to the British Library themed anthologies of classic crime, this one includes eleven stories all set around the festive season. A great time for people to get together in family gatherings or country house parties, and bump each other off. Who amongst us hasn't thought that the one thing that would improve Christmas would be the quick dispatching of one of our nearest and dearest, or that the only way to pay for all those gifts would be to hasten the Deep and crisp and even... The latest addition to the British Library themed anthologies of classic crime, this one includes eleven stories all set around the festive season. A great time for people to get together in family gatherings or country house parties, and bump each other off. Who amongst us hasn't thought that the one thing that would improve Christmas would be the quick dispatching of one of our nearest and dearest, or that the only way to pay for all those gifts would be to hasten the inheritance from one of our much loved rich relatives? Or is that just me? On the basis of the evidence in this book, I'm not alone in thinking Christmas is a particularly jolly time for a murder... As with the earlier anthologies, this one is introduced and edited by Martin Edwards who also gives a short introduction to each story telling a little about the author. There's the usual mix of well-known authors – Margery Allingham, Edgar Wallace – and forgotten ones, and as always the quality of the individual stories varies. However, overall I thought this was a more consistent collection than the last couple – none of the stories rate as less than three stars for me and there are plenty of fours and a sprinkling of fives. The lengths also vary from a few pages to a couple of the stories being what I'd think of as novelette length – taking an hour or so to read. There's a nice variety of whodunits and howdunits, some dark and serious, others lighter and more quirky, and a few with ghostly aspects to add to the winter chills. And there's fog and feverish policemen, and wicked carol-singers, and isolated houses with all access cut off by snow... perfect accompaniment to a mug of hot chocolate and a seat near the fire! Here are a few of the ones I enjoyed most... The Ghost's Touch by Fergus Hume – when the narrator is invited to spend the festive season as a guest in a haunted country house, one feels he should have swiftly invented a prior engagement. However, clearly he doesn't read crime novels, because off he goes, all cheerful and expecting to have a good time. Hah! After the fire, the ghost, and a meeting with the murderer at the dead of night, I suspect he changed his mind... The plot in this one is totally obvious, but nevertheless the author manages to get a nice atmosphere of tension going, and it's very well written. Death in December by Victor Gunn – a great cross between ghost and crime story, this one is probably going to appear on a future Tuesday Terror! Post so I won't go into detail. It's one of the longer stories in the collection, giving time for a bit more characterisation than usual and both the detectives, grumpy Bill “Ironside” Cromwell and his sidekick, lovely Johnny Lister, are well drawn and fun. There are aspects of both who and how in this one, not to mention some genuinely scary bits, all topped off with a lot of humour. And a nice little bit of detection too... Mr Cork's Secret by Macdonald Hastings – When Montague Cork's firm insures a valuable necklace, Montague begins to worry about its safety. So off he goes with his wife to a top London hotel where the owner of the necklace is expected to be staying. He's lucky to get a room at such short notice, especially at Christmas time. Not so lucky for the person who vacated the room, though – since he was carried out feet first by the police, headed for the morgue. Could the murder have anything to do with the necklace? It's up to Montague to find out... This has a nice twist in that when it was originally published the author held one fact back as part of a competition. Edwards has left it like that, but at the end of the book, gives the solution as provided by the author, along with the prize-winners' suggestions. Deep and Crisp and Even by Michael Gilbert – PC Petrella is covering for his boss over Christmas, and takes his duties seriously. So it's unfortunate that he develops a feverish cold leaving him weak and a bit confused. But when he suspects a house in the neighbourhood has been burgled, he's determined to track the perpetrator, even when he's near collapse himself. Complete with carol-singing, dreadful weather and seasonal illness, this is a fun little story with a neat twist. So plenty of good stuff here, and a lot of the stories make excellent use of either weather or the holidays to add to the atmosphere and tension. I'm thoroughly enjoying these anthologies – even the less good stories are always fun for seeing the different attitudes and writing styles of the time, and the little author bios add a bit of context, putting each story into its appropriate place in the development of crime fiction. I also like the way they're themed, and this theme in particular works well – I suppose that these would mostly have originally been published in Christmas editions of magazines, and perhaps that inspired the authors to show off their best. Next to the London-themed one, Capital Crimes this is probably my favourite of the collections so far. I do hope there will be more... NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    Crimson Snow is one of this month’s read at the Kindle English Mystery Club. Rather than a novel, it is a collection of classic short mysteries, all with a Christmas theme. My hands down favorite was a Christmas “ghost” story, The Ghost’s Touch. I always enjoy a Christmas ghost story and this one had fun twists and characters. There is also a selection from Margery Allingham featuring her sleuth Mr. Campion, The Man with the Sack, which was also quite good. Some of the other selections fell shor Crimson Snow is one of this month’s read at the Kindle English Mystery Club. Rather than a novel, it is a collection of classic short mysteries, all with a Christmas theme. My hands down favorite was a Christmas “ghost” story, The Ghost’s Touch. I always enjoy a Christmas ghost story and this one had fun twists and characters. There is also a selection from Margery Allingham featuring her sleuth Mr. Campion, The Man with the Sack, which was also quite good. Some of the other selections fell short, but overall it was a good Christmas mystery read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This 11-story collection provides a nice mix of Christmas holiday mysteries, including one longer story and a Sherlock Holmes pastiche play. Well-known and lesser known authors are represented, from Edgar Wallace and Margery Allingham to Julian Symons and Michael Gilbert to Ianthe Jerrold, Josephine Bell, and others. The editor Martin Edwards has provided informative introductions for each story/author. I’ve read three of these British Crime Classic collections and was happy to see the local lib This 11-story collection provides a nice mix of Christmas holiday mysteries, including one longer story and a Sherlock Holmes pastiche play. Well-known and lesser known authors are represented, from Edgar Wallace and Margery Allingham to Julian Symons and Michael Gilbert to Ianthe Jerrold, Josephine Bell, and others. The editor Martin Edwards has provided informative introductions for each story/author. I’ve read three of these British Crime Classic collections and was happy to see the local library has five more on the (virtual) shelf.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Roden

    A good mix of seasonal mysteries.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    It's a fun assortment of stories. I think a better reflection of the genre could have been found, though. Two of the stories were note-worthy, in my opinion. It's a fun assortment of stories. I think a better reflection of the genre could have been found, though. Two of the stories were note-worthy, in my opinion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    Another well-chosen collection of stories set in Winter and the holiday season.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    Good for winter bedtime reading, some better than others of course. I particularly enjoyed the Victor Gunn novella. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2017/1... Good for winter bedtime reading, some better than others of course. I particularly enjoyed the Victor Gunn novella. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2017/1...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. I love reading short stories and having one centered on a specific theme just makes it that much better for me. This collection from Martin Edwards gave me more enjoyment than any I've read in a long time. Not only are there Christmas themed stories, but there are also different styles of stories; one is written as a play and one doesn't give the solution - the reader gets to match wits with the author and truly try to fig I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. I love reading short stories and having one centered on a specific theme just makes it that much better for me. This collection from Martin Edwards gave me more enjoyment than any I've read in a long time. Not only are there Christmas themed stories, but there are also different styles of stories; one is written as a play and one doesn't give the solution - the reader gets to match wits with the author and truly try to figure it out for themselves. The solution is given at the end of the book. These are the eleven stories which make up this collection: The Ghost's Touch by Fergus Hume The Chopham Affair by Edgar Wallace The Man with the Sack by Margery Allingham Christmas Eve by S. C. Roberts (a play featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson) Death in December by Victor Gunn Murder at Christmas by Christopher Bush Off the Tiles by Ianthe Jerrold Mr. Cork's Secret by Macdonald Hastings (this is the puzzle you can solve yourself) The Santa Claus Club by Julian Symons Deep and Crisp and Even by Michael Gilbert The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell None of the stories is modern so they have that feeling of nostalgia most enjoyed by those of us who cherish the older mysteries. As you can see there are many authors you will recognize immediately and those I wasn't familiar with I still enjoyed getting a taste of their style. The final story was sad for me and left me feeling a little wistful, but, after all we are talking about crime so I shouldn't have been surprised by the content. A lovely collection of short stories to curl up with when it's cold outside or when you wish it was cold outside. Thanks to the British Library Crime Classics for giving us another gem of a collection to add to our list of favorite volumes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I would like to thank netgalley and poisoned pen press for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book of crime short stories edited by Martin Edwards I have read. He does a a brilliant job in finding all of these stories. I love the idea of him searching for the stories that have either been lost or wrongly accredited. Each story is easy to pick up and get into and I love the little bio's about each author. The ghosts touch - 5 stars The chopam affair - 4 st I would like to thank netgalley and poisoned pen press for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book of crime short stories edited by Martin Edwards I have read. He does a a brilliant job in finding all of these stories. I love the idea of him searching for the stories that have either been lost or wrongly accredited. Each story is easy to pick up and get into and I love the little bio's about each author. The ghosts touch - 5 stars The chopam affair - 4 stars The man with the sack - 5 stars Christmas eve - 5 stars Death in December - 4 stars Murder at Christmas - DNF off the tiles - 5 stars Mr cook's secret - 4stars The Santa Clause club - 4 stars Deep and crisp and Evan - 3 stars The Carol singers - DNF 6/11/16 - -171 pages read -read a blue book = 176 house points #HHCup #SHHCup

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Not the best Christmas selection box but one or two stories stand out. Margery Allingham's The Man With The Sack and Victor Gunn's Death in December are well-worked and well-written. I'd like to read more of Gunn's tales of the irascible CI Bill 'Ironsides' Cromwell. Bill is such a pleasant name - most unsuitable! Most of the others leave little or no mark. Not the best Christmas selection box but one or two stories stand out. Margery Allingham's The Man With The Sack and Victor Gunn's Death in December are well-worked and well-written. I'd like to read more of Gunn's tales of the irascible CI Bill 'Ironsides' Cromwell. Bill is such a pleasant name - most unsuitable! Most of the others leave little or no mark.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This was a collection of short stories from the early 1900's compiled by author Martin Blake. 11 stories set around Christmas. Old fashioned mysteries and a couple of ghost stories. All seemed so innocent...no blood, rape, vampires, etc...LOL. The stories all held my interest and were clever. I was surprised to find that they held up well for such old stories. I guess that a good story, good writing and good characters will always hold up. I would recommend this to anyone who likes simple "Agath This was a collection of short stories from the early 1900's compiled by author Martin Blake. 11 stories set around Christmas. Old fashioned mysteries and a couple of ghost stories. All seemed so innocent...no blood, rape, vampires, etc...LOL. The stories all held my interest and were clever. I was surprised to find that they held up well for such old stories. I guess that a good story, good writing and good characters will always hold up. I would recommend this to anyone who likes simple "Agatha Christie" type mysteries. The setting of snow and Christmastime made it more special for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    A nice little collection of classic Golden Age British mystery stories, collected and republished by British Library Crime Classics. All were fun puzzles, but I found the last four ("Mr. Cork's Secret" by MacDonald Hastings, "The Santa Claus Club" by Julian Symons, "Deep and Crisp and Even" by Michael Gilbert, and especially "The Carol Singers" by Josephine Bell, Detection Club member and former chair of the Crime Writers' Association) the most readable and enjoyable. A nice holiday read - not t A nice little collection of classic Golden Age British mystery stories, collected and republished by British Library Crime Classics. All were fun puzzles, but I found the last four ("Mr. Cork's Secret" by MacDonald Hastings, "The Santa Claus Club" by Julian Symons, "Deep and Crisp and Even" by Michael Gilbert, and especially "The Carol Singers" by Josephine Bell, Detection Club member and former chair of the Crime Writers' Association) the most readable and enjoyable. A nice holiday read - not too dark, not too fluffy - perfect to pick up and peruse and put down again at will.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Toast

    As you are all well aware I'm a sucker for these books and this one is no exception. And ideal timing for Christmas. Again old masters have been rediscovered, dusted off and reprinted in this neat little volume which makes ideal Christmas reading, gifting or hiding under the duvet with. There's even a funny one in it! Short and sweet, and written by the cream of the crop at the top of their game. What's not to enjoy? A warm and toasty Toast As you are all well aware I'm a sucker for these books and this one is no exception. And ideal timing for Christmas. Again old masters have been rediscovered, dusted off and reprinted in this neat little volume which makes ideal Christmas reading, gifting or hiding under the duvet with. There's even a funny one in it! Short and sweet, and written by the cream of the crop at the top of their game. What's not to enjoy? A warm and toasty Toast

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven Heywood

    Anthologies can be a bit of a curate's egg but this one is consistently good. Some very different styles of storytelling; and some where the puzzle is the thing, others where the puzzle is hardly anything. The Victor Gunn novella in the middle could stand up on its own. Kudos to the editor for the order of the contents and the particularly fine, if poignant, ending. Anthologies can be a bit of a curate's egg but this one is consistently good. Some very different styles of storytelling; and some where the puzzle is the thing, others where the puzzle is hardly anything. The Victor Gunn novella in the middle could stand up on its own. Kudos to the editor for the order of the contents and the particularly fine, if poignant, ending.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    A lot of these stories were really fun. Also they are muchly of their time and for the most part presume a very artificial world in which everyone worth noticing is white and able-bodied and women are mostly made of cardboard. Which. Is uncomfortable. That said, when I could forgive that or ignore it, I really enjoyed myself.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aarathi Burki

    Most of these stories were a bit boring and silly except Holmes and allngham stories Basically these stories are based during Christmas time and the mystery unfolding thereby I found the stories quite rushed and lacking in many details

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    This was pretty good overall. As with any collection of short stories, particularly by multiple authors, some were better than others, but none were bad. The winter/Christmas theme worked better in some stories than others as well. All but one of the authors were new to me, and the only one I’d read before (Allingham), I didn’t finish the book. I’m definitely more interested in reading more of some of these authors works in the future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A collection of generally absorbing detective stories. The standard is good across the board, and one story, Death in December by Victor Gunn, is excellent.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    Over on The Poisoned Pen's blog, I've asked a small group of mystery authors to write about what they're reading "In the Bleak Midwinter". I just finished the perfect book for that theme, Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards. It's a collection of traditional crime short stories set in England by authors who were well-known in their time, such as Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Julian Symons. I discovered stories I loved by authors I had not heard of, such as Victor Gunn a Over on The Poisoned Pen's blog, I've asked a small group of mystery authors to write about what they're reading "In the Bleak Midwinter". I just finished the perfect book for that theme, Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards. It's a collection of traditional crime short stories set in England by authors who were well-known in their time, such as Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Julian Symons. I discovered stories I loved by authors I had not heard of, such as Victor Gunn and Christopher Bush. This collection reminds me why I love traditional mysteries. Victor Gunn's story, "Death in December" was a lengthy piece featuring Chief Inspector Bill "Ironsides" Cromwell. It's a piece that was originally published in 1943. Ironsides accompanies a co-worker, Johnny Lister, to the family estate at Christmas. Is there anything better in a Christmas mystery than to have the detective snowed in, isolated with a cast of suspects? In this case, there's even a ghost story. Victor Gunn was just one pseudonym of Edwy Searles Brooks, according to Edwards, who introduces each piece with the background of the author, and a note about the story or the detective. The author Christopher Bush was born on Christmas Day, and his name was actually Charlie Christmas Bush. His contribution, "Murder at Christmas", is narrated by his private detective, Ludovic Travers, who visits a policeman friend for the holidays. When a man is found murdered, Travers can't help himself. He does a little nosing around. There are plenty of killers along with Santa Claus and carolers, thieves and con men. There's a great deal of pleasure in reading these older traditional stories. In one case, the reader even gets to match wits with the sleuth, just as readers did when the story was originally published. Martin Edwards calls these "vintage" crime stories. One definition of vintage says, "of high quality or lasting value, or showing the best characteristics of the person who created it." Crimson Snow fits that definition. If you would like some of the best traditional stories, with a winter or Christmas setting, try Edwards' collection.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a pleasant little set of vintage mystery short stories (often enough, detective stories) that a friend bought me as a Christmas gift last year. All the stories have a strong sense of Christmas, or sometimes just wintertime, in their setting. That I didn't find them overwhelmingly memorable shouldn't be a surprise: these are treats, sometimes trifles, and they often lack the more satisfying aspects of the full-blown detective novel. Still, they were delightful to read with a little mornin This is a pleasant little set of vintage mystery short stories (often enough, detective stories) that a friend bought me as a Christmas gift last year. All the stories have a strong sense of Christmas, or sometimes just wintertime, in their setting. That I didn't find them overwhelmingly memorable shouldn't be a surprise: these are treats, sometimes trifles, and they often lack the more satisfying aspects of the full-blown detective novel. Still, they were delightful to read with a little morning coffee or a warm cup of cider at night. Despite my generalization toward the short form, there are treasures to be found here: my friend almost certainly bought the book for me on the strength of Margery Allingham's "The Man with the Sack," starring her own Mr. Campion, whom we both enjoy. This and the Edgar Wallace entry "The Chopham Affair" are the classics of the volume, I think, though neither is very long. In contrast, Victor Gunn's "Death in December" is a proper novella, which gives it more weight than many of the other tales. The final entry in the book, Josephine Bell's "The Carol Singers," is also one of the darkest, and an odd note on which to end an anthology - but the story's strong social conscience makes it feel very modern, with the best character work in any of the stories in Bell's portrayal of an elderly victim.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Some of the stories in this collection were more heartbreaking than in Edwards' other collections, but they're all excellent. Note: I received a digital review copy of this book through NetGalley. Some of the stories in this collection were more heartbreaking than in Edwards' other collections, but they're all excellent. Note: I received a digital review copy of this book through NetGalley.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    The stories were all right, but not very memorable. And it seemed odd to end the volume on the most grim tale. Eh.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eva Müller

    This review can also be found on my blog The opening story – Fergus Hume’s The Ghost’s Touch – features some well-known mystery setpieces: a Christmas party, two cousins – one of them inherited the family estate and the other the family fortune – and a haunted bedroom but doesn’t quite go where you expect. Sadly it’s a bit too short to make much of that fact. It’s over before you have time to be surprised. There was a similar problem with Julian Symons’ The Santa Claus Club. The setting is a Chri This review can also be found on my blog The opening story – Fergus Hume’s The Ghost’s Touch – features some well-known mystery setpieces: a Christmas party, two cousins – one of them inherited the family estate and the other the family fortune – and a haunted bedroom but doesn’t quite go where you expect. Sadly it’s a bit too short to make much of that fact. It’s over before you have time to be surprised. There was a similar problem with Julian Symons’ The Santa Claus Club. The setting is a Christmas charity dinner and one of the participants has been receiving threatening letters. The dinner happens. A murder happens. The murderer is caught. Symons only takes slightly longer than me to narrate these events. Crimson Snow also gives us two stories some golden age connoisseurs will look down on because they’re -gasp– pulp. One of them, The Chopham Affair, is by one of the masters of pulp, Edgar Wallace. And no, he isn’t exactly known for writing deep psychological masterpieces that give insight into the human soul – or particularly clever ‘fair’ mysteries and this story about an unpleasant man who makes his money by seducing women and blackmailing them is neither. But it is great fun. The same is true for Victor Gunn’s Death in December. It again gives us the well-loved setting of a snowed-in Christmas party at a manor with a house ghost. It also features a villain whose plan is ridiculously complicated, even for the mystery world where people sometimes built elaborate contraptions to simulate the sound of a gunshot so that they have an alibi. The detective, meanwhile, solves this case because he has an exceptionally good sense of smell. Realism even in the broadest mystery sense? No. Fun? Hell yes. Margery Allingham’s The Man With The Sack takes us back to the beloved setting of a Christmas party. The host’s daughter has a boyfriend her parents (especially her mother) disapprove of because he’s the son of a criminal. When some jewels go missing she has little doubt about who is responsible – unlike Campion. It’s not an extraordinary story – and the whodunit is not particularly surprising (the how is at least somewhat interesting) but it’s solid entertainment and that’s more than can be said about some of the other stories in this collection. There’s S. C. Roberts’ Holmes Pastiche Christmas Eve that features a criminal whose plan doesn’t make sense no matter which way I look at it and a Holmes that has been replaced by a very stupid doppelganger. Meanwhile, Christopher Bush’s Murder at Christmas tells us a lot about golf and possibly somewhere between all that also a bit about murder but I was too bored by all the golf talk to pay much attention. Michael Gilbert’s Deep and Crisp and Even isn’t quite as bad. The main character showed some promise but the story didn’t. It’s hard to say much about it without spoiling the end so let’s just say this story is on the humorous side and involves a misunderstanding. And the author pokes some fun at the character misunderstanding things. Only, I could easily see why he would misunderstand things the way he did. Suggestings his actions were stupid – or at least very over-eager – felt weird. While in most of the stories the setting over Christmas was at least in some way relevant to the story, in some the setting seems very coincidentally. Especially Off The Tiles by Ianthe Jerrold could have been set on any wet day. That doesn’t make it a bad story but it’s not one of the more overwhelming ones. In Macdonald Hastings’ Mr Cork’s Secret the feeling that it lacks the proper seasonal feeling can probably be attributed to the fact that the climax is set on a yacht somewhere on the French Riviera but it’s still an entertaining story with fun twists and turns. Josephine Bell’s The Carol Singers which closes this collection is rather unusual for a golden age mystery in two ways. For one it’s quite dark and doesn’t act as if murder is just an intellectual challenge instead of a human tragedy. It also lacks the typical set-up with a victim and suspects which were all close to the victim. The death in this story is caused by a burglary gone wrong and as such the question, not just ‘whodunit’ but also ‘how do we find them in the first place?’ The whole story reminded me a bit of a police procedural episode: a cold opening that shows us the last moments of the victim and then some more or less realistic police investigation with questions that lead from one suspect to the next (and even some action and chase at the end). To come back to the hypothetical mystery connoisseurs who already really hated the stories by Wallace and Gunn: He will probably also dislike this one. For me, it was quite unexpected, and admittedly felt somewhat out of place in this collection where murder is otherwise treated less darkly but it was still a good story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Various Christmas criminality, with the only writers whose names I knew being Edgar Wallace and Margery Allingham. The former is much as I expected, although leaning less heavily on dastardly foreigners; the latter's Campion story relied too much on mere snobbery for my taste. The longest piece, Victor Gunn's Death In December, gave a strong impression of a writer paid by the word and not inclined to waste time going back and establishing a key detail earlier when he could chuck it in retrospect Various Christmas criminality, with the only writers whose names I knew being Edgar Wallace and Margery Allingham. The former is much as I expected, although leaning less heavily on dastardly foreigners; the latter's Campion story relied too much on mere snobbery for my taste. The longest piece, Victor Gunn's Death In December, gave a strong impression of a writer paid by the word and not inclined to waste time going back and establishing a key detail earlier when he could chuck it in retrospectively. Also, it could very easily be adapted as a Touch Of Cloth special in period dress (and you know the visual pun Brooker et al would get out of that one), with a minor Wodehouse Drone playing sidekick to John Hannah as cantankerous lead Chief Inspector Bill 'Ironsides' Cromwell. Still, it rattles along nicely enough, and has a lovely setting of a snowbound castle – very much the same sort of picture as that cover which, as ever for this series, is gorgeous (although annoyingly all the images on Goodreads spoil it by replacing the red title panel with blue). I was also surprisingly moved by its line "The blizzard of the night was over, the sun was shining, and there was snow everywhere. It was the kind of Christmas Day one sometimes reads about in old-time novels, but rarely experiences." Oh, the nested nostalgia of that, in what's now itself an old-time novella! Death In December is also one of a couple of pieces here to disguise its crime, Scooby-Doo style, as that more standard fixture, the festive ghost story. Which, after all, often relies on a crime having happened at some prior point to occasion its haunting, and both make interesting play on that. Elsewhere, various different bits of December business are pressed into play, from decorations to (as in the last British Library crime classic I read) the possibilities of Santa impersonators. I was glad I read it out of order, as the last story, Josephine Bell's The Carol Singers, isn't on the same cosy ground as the others; the crime is described within the story as "revolting" and "sordid", which is about right. I have little doubt that this one's more realistic, resisting the urge to construct an ingenious plot or foreground an idiosyncratic sleuth, and instead taking us through the chain of circumstances and people which occasion a grubby, nasty action, and then enable the perpetrators to be caught. Still, I wouldn't have wanted this to be the note on which I left, especially given the horrid topicality of the victim's daughter's self-reproach: "In trying to do the best for her mother, by not exposing her to possible infection, Mrs. Evans felt she had brought about her death." Other than that, though, the collection strikes the comforting note one needs this year more than ever, clockwork puzzles in which people who generally had it coming anyway meet curious but not unduly distressing ends, which are in turn unpicked by dutiful restorers of order in time for the new year.

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