It’s time to get into the holiday spirit, so I started off my post-Thanksgiving reading with Donna Andrews’s The Nightingale Before Christmas, the– oh, goodness, I’ve lost count. Let’s just say the something-teenth Meg Langslow mystery, in which Meg serves as coordinator for a Christmas-themed decorator show house, never knowing that one of the decorators will soon be part of the decor in a rather fatal way. The Meg Langslow books (start with Murder with Peacocks) are always fun, and having served as a tour guide and general dogsbody in a decorators’ show house outside Boston these mumble mumble many years ago in my grad school days, I found this one particularly amusing.
Up next was Paul Collins’s The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars, a non-fiction account of the discovery of a headless torso in the East River and the combination of detection and tabloid warfare that followed. I’d initially picked this up because the book I’m working on is set partly in 1890s New York and I’d thought it might be useful for background info. But although I quickly realized that the Turkish baths, police precincts, and bustling immigrant communities of the West 30s were a world away from the mansions of 5th Avenue, I kept on reading anyway, for the colorful portrayal of a slice of New York life a century ago.
Back to the Christmas reading…. I left the murder and mayhem behind with Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas, in which a house-sitter/chef finds herself tangled up in the family dramas that come with the old Jacobean manor house. I adore “house” books of all kinds, and this one includes a family secret, quirky characters, and lots of descriptions of food. (Make sure you have a mince pie at the ready while reading, and some very strong tea.)
What have you been reading this week?