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Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop
by Otto Penzler (Editor)
Christmas Books (210)
Christmas Reading (132)
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This was my final holiday read for Christmas this year and it was excellent!
Otto Penzler, the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC, each year commissions a short mystery from a well-known author, to be published in a small pamphlet and given to customers at the holiday season as a way to say Thank You. The only stipulations Penzler gives to the author is that the story take place at Christmas and have at least one scene take place at The Mysterious Bookshop.
This book is a collection of 17 of those stories and only one of them failed to thrill me or at least amuse me. (That one wasn't bad, it was just a creepy story in homage to Poe.) My absolute favourite was Lawrence Block's As Dark As Christmas Gets. A very close second was Jeremiah Healy's The Holiday Fairy and for sheer cleverness that had my giggling as I read was S.J. Rozan's The Grift of the Magi.
If you enjoy holiday stories and mysteries, definitely keep an eye out for this one. I'll re-read more than a few of these stories again and again.
Loved the concept of this book but only enjoyed 2 of the 17 stories.
All of these short stories involve Otto Penzler or his staff, and the action takes place, for the most part, in his bookstore, The Mysterious Bookshop. It sounds like it could be great fun, after all what's better than being in a bookstore at Christmas time, surrounded by wonderful books with a mystery thrown in to boot?
Unfortunately I found most of these stories to be poorly written with predictable outcomes. I realize that it is difficult to pen an intriguing story when every story must have a similar setting & characters.
I quickly became bored with the store setting and characters. I felt that the authors were "kissing up" to Otto just a little too much (after all, he does push their books in his real store), by never showing Otto in a bad light, or making him a villan. He and his store were just a little too perfect for my taste in these cozy tales.
I did enjoy one of the stories; My Object All Sublime (Anne Perry). I found this one to be a nice surprise, well written and interesting.
Two other tales were passable; The Lesson of the Season (Thomas H Cook) & Christmas Spirit (Michael Malone), which included a terrific cat as part of the plot. I'm always a sucker for a story that includes animals, although not talking ones! My 2 star rating is given only because of these three stories.
I had to read this for my bookclub, it's their Christmas pick this year. I probably would not have finished this book, were it not for the club.
If you must, borrow this from the library, read the 3 stories mentioned above, skipping the rest of the poorly written drivel with their silly plots.
I’m a big fan of Otto Penzler’s mystery story compendiums and am particularly fond of his Christmas collections. I picked this one up on my trip to New York. This collection of short stories is inspired by the Christmas holiday and all stories (be they funny, creepy, clever et al) are set (at least in part) in the Mysterious Bookshop. It features stories by Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, Thomas Cook, and more. Really worth a look and a great addition to your holiday reading list.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
Features over fifteen mystery short stories set during Christmas, with some of the action taking place at the editor's real-life Mysterious Bookshop in New York City.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813 — Literature English (North America) American fiction
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Thank you, Otto Penzler, for this one-of-a-kind, and oh-so stinking cool, Christmas gift. ( )