What is it about the holidays that makes them the perfect setting for murder and mayhem? Is it the dark and cold nights, the stress, or maybe too much family time? Whatever it is, it makes for good reading and thankfully there are many mysteries set during the holidays to choose from. Here are five mysteries that you might enjoy this season:
If you like crime novels: Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan - It's the week before Christmas in Tinsel Town, and the Edgerton Mall isn't exactly full of holiday cheer, despite its two Santas. The mall is a fossil of an industry in decline; many of its stores are closed, and to make matters worse, there is a rampant shoplifting problem. Enter burglar Junior Bender, the unwilling fixer for LA's various underworld bosses.
If you like literary mysteries: The Mistletoe Murder by P.D. James - Four previously uncollected stories by the late Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award-winning author include two featuring her popular detective hero, Adam Dalgliesh, in his early years.
If you like short stories: The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler - An Edgar Award-winning editor collects 60 of his all-time favorite holiday crime stories, including tales by O. Henry, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Hardy, Ed McBain, Mary Higgins Clark, Isaac Asimov, Ngaio Marsh, Peter Lovesey, Max Allan Collins, Stanley Ellin, John D. Macdonald, Damon Runyon, Donald E. Westlake, and John D. Mortimer.
If you like classics: A Holiday for Murder by Agatha Christie - The cerebral Belgian detective Hercule Poirot uses impeccable logic to locate the murderer of a millionaire in the dreary English Midlands.
If you like cozies: Ornaments of Death by Jane K. Cleland - Josie Prescott is dealing with her annual Christmas party while trying to unravel the mystery of a missing relative and the disappearance of two valuable seventeenth-century miniatures. A nicely twisted mystery in a fun and festive setting.