This year, I am taking on The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, a 674 page tome containing 59 individual stories about the Christmas season. Conveniently, it’s broken up into blog-post sized sections. Here’s the seventh post, section nine.
A Puzzling Little Christmas
- Sister Bessie, Cyril Hare - Not bad. Not awesome. Somewhat expected tragic twist.
- That’s the Ticket, Mary Higgins Clark - Ha. Not a bad little story, cute resolution.
- Death on the Air, Ngaio Marsh - Fine resolution, pace was a bit off.
- The Thirteenth Day of Christmas, Isaac Asimov - Super cute bit of fluff.
- The Christmas Kitten, Ed Gorman - A lot of buildup for not much substance.
- The Santa Claus Club, Julian Symons - *snurk* the butler did it, naturally.
These were a little bit of a let down after the last section, but most of these stories were still pretty decent. Similar to the “Surprising” section, all of these stories had at least a bit of a twist or a reveal near the end.
“Sister Bessie” follows a man who’s being blackmailed by an unknown relative, and his efforts to stop whoever it is at all costs. “That’s the Ticket” is a humorous story of a stolen lottery ticket. “Death on the Air” is a murder mystery involving a rigged radio and an extremely acrimonious household: the premise and characters start out interesting, but flag a bit by the end.
“The Thirteenth Day of Christmas” is pretty good, which is predictable given the author. It follows a young boy whose father is responsible for dealing with a terrorist threat around Christmas.
“The Christmas Kitten” was probably the weakest in this section. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it just didn’t. The main character is ineffective, the reveal on the murderer is just depressing. “The Santa Claus Club,” meanwhile, had great style, but I rolled my eyes more than a little on the ending. The side notes and descriptions in that one are pretty fun, though.