Holiday Mysteries

Yesterday, I’d Rather Read posted on her blog about holiday mysteries (including one of my favorites, Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In the Bleak Midwinter— for those who haven’t read these, it’s an excellent series!).

My immediate reaction was, huh? Holiday and mystery? Sounds weird. Then I sat down and started ticking off favorite books on my fingers and realized, in fact, I have a number of favorite holiday mysteries. Here they are:

— Elizabeth Peters’ Trojan Gold.

Book IV (or III, depending on whether you count Borrower of the Night) in the Vicki Bliss series, this is my hands down favorite Christmas mystery, involving snow, skiing, perilous car chases on mountain passes, and Christmas Eve in an old, broken down church along with one of the more attractive fictional hero-villains of all time. I love this book. I re-read it annually, but, somehow, never remember it when asked about Christmas books. It must be that mystery plus holiday mental block.

— Kasey Michaels’ High Heels and Holidays.

If you’re looking for spunky heroines in the mode of Vicky Bliss, you can’t get much better than Kasey Michaels’ Maggie, a mystery novelist whose Regency hero comes to life in her apartment, with all the attendant problems that brings (just picture Lord Vaughn occupying your living room). Although this one is holiday appropriate, my favorite is still Maggie By the Book, in which Maggie attends the annual conference of WAR, aka We Are Romance.

— Elizabeth Peters, The Love Talker.

You didn’t seriously think there was only going to be one Elizabeth Peters on this list, did you?

— Barbara Michaels, Stitches in Time.

For reasons that are now obscure to me, I didn’t love this one when it first came out, but it’s since become one of my favorite holiday reads. A sequel to Ammie, Come Home and Shattered Silk, a grad student finds herself overshadowed by a haunted quilt as she spends the holiday house-sitting for friends. Yep, it’s Elizabeth Peters under a different name.

What are your favorite holiday mysteries?


  1. Hannah on December 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I liked Mistletoe and Mayhem by Kate Kingsbury. Also, many of Anne Perry’s mysteries are set around Christmas.

  2. Vicki on December 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Oh my, I had forgotten about Stitches in Time! I must re-read that one. Evil quilts equal holiday goodness! It would be fun to revisit Trojan Gold as well. And isn’t Julia Spencer-Fleming amazing? She kills with that series! I knew I could count on you for great suggestions!

  3. Am7 on December 15, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and The Theft of the Royal Ruby by Agatha Christie. The first one is a classic novel in the best traditional Agatha Christie. A house party of bitter relatives quarreling during Christmas while Poirot explains that putting that many people who can’t get along under one roof is bound to lead to murder. (One of many favorite parts.) The ending is classic Christie fair and unfair all at the same time more on fair in my opinion.
    The theft of the royal ruby is a short story that also features Poirot but definitely even more cosier. Again a house party but a softer story of family that actually loves and adores each other.
    Both of these stories are on the cosy side. Christie gets a bad rep: she actually wrote a lot of softer, cosier mysteries. If all you have ever read of her is And Then There Were None then you have no idea of what she’s capable of in terms of romance, fun, humor and farce. I highly recommend both of these although the theft of the Royal Ruby might be hard to track down. It was published in an anthology called Double Sin and Other stories, some which weren’t cosy and some of which were.

  4. Am7 on December 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I tried to post something, but I can’t see the post. When I tried to post it again, it said I had already posted it. This happened to me before on Weekly Reading Round up. Not sure what is happening.

  5. Lauren on December 15, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Argh, I’m sorry about that, Am7! There’s something screwy with the spam filter– it keeps letting in boatloads of spam and blocking out legitimate posts. Thanks for letting me know. I’m going to see if I can get it fixed.

  6. Am7 on December 16, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Thanks Lauren! I can see both posts now.

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