Publishing House:Sapere Books
Date of Publication:October 30th 2019
”I think you can let the baby Jesus go”, Slonsky said. ”He’s innocent, just like the real one.”
Behind the shiny ornaments, the bright lights, the laughter, the flowing wine, and the presents, dark intentions may find a fertile ground to flourish. Winter is a time for being cautious, Christmas is a time for gatherings. And gatherings sometimes bring disputes. And who knows where disputes might lead…Small wonder that a plethora of mysteries takes place during the holidays.
This collection includes 11 short stories whose setting varies from Prague to Brighton, from the 17th century to 2019. Lost relationships, strange felonies, apparitions, mistakes create an interesting array of mostly well-written stories with a distinctive Christmas aura and vivid settings.
Away In A Monger by Graham Brack: A funny story of pickpocketing set in the Old Town Square of a festive, crowded Prague.
”The clock in the hall struck three. Charles Dickens did not sleep again that night.”
Footsteps In The Snow by J.C.Brigss: Charles Dickens finds himself face-to-face with an inexplicable premonition and a strange death. The atmosphere in this tale is outstanding.
Lost and Found by Keith Moray: The story of a death in the family on Boxing Day, in the company of bagpipes. Set in West Uist, Scotland, the folklore element is very vivid and makes this story much more than a death mystery.
The Spirit of Christmas by Cora Harrison: A mystery set in Victorian London, taking place close to the amazing Hamley’s toy shop. Clever boys, a dog and a constable battling with the perplexities of the metropolis in an era of changes.
The Stolen Santa Sack by Sean Gibbons: A story set in Galway, Ireland, in our time. This one was pretty horrible. Ridiculous plot, jokes of the lowest quality possible, vulgar language to the point of disgust. Pure trash.
Will Power by Marilyn Todd: A moving tale of a brave young woman who almost falls victim to a man’s exploitation and an intelligent crime scene photographer.
Christmas Spirit by Gaynor Torrance: The second story/garbage that reads like an awful cop-movie. The Welsh slang and swearing didn’t really help…
The Essex Nativity by David Field: Two police officers battle crime in the streets of Essex, during the 1890s.
Secret Santa by Kim Fleet: A story of Christmas hope and the past that refuses to be put to rest, set in Cheltenham.
Stir Up Sunday by M.J. Logue: The mystery of a stolen recipe book set within the political and religious turmoil of the 17th century.
The Christmas Ghost by Linda Stratmann: A touching story of a bereaved mother and a woman with a special gift, of deathly mistakes and reconciliation, set in Brighton in 1871.
Even though Mystery and Crime aren’t amongst my favourite genres, Christmas calls for a cozy or two (or more…) and this collection is definitely a satisfying company.
”Charles Dickens started out at the snow which lay thick and shining under a great lamp of a moon. The moon seemed unusually large to him, yet it was peaceful, seeming to light the way to the heavens.”
Many thanks to Sapere Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.