Christmas Shopping for the Classic Mystery Lover

So, the snow has fallen all around – well, all around me, anyway, and my three brass band gigs have been cancelled. So I thought I’d share with you, dear readers, some thoughts on Christmas gifts for the crime fiction lover in your family – you know, so they don’t have to put on a brave face when you present them with the film tie-in edition of Murder On The Orient Express and ask, “Have you read this one?”

Reference Books:

I say “Reference Books” but these are far more than dry encyclopaedia.

The Golden Age Of Murder by Martin Edwards – still haven’t got round to reviewing this one yet, naughty me. But it won an Edgar Award in 2016, and the history of the Detection Club is definitely one that every self-respecting mystery fan should have.

The Story Of Classic Crime In 100 Books by Martin Edwards – well, it’s actually 102 and many more do get a mention, but this is a beautiful addition to any coffee table, the perfect complement to the British Library Crime Classics range.

Taking Detective Stories Seriously by Dorothy L Sayers, edited by that man again, Martin Edwards – the collected crime fiction reviews of Sayers, as written for The Sunday Times from 1933 to 1935. Absolutely fascinating stuff for the fam of the Golden Age.


So, which books might the crime fiction aficionado not own? Well, I’d stay away from the well-known authors, but here are a few suggestions:

The British Library Crime Classics Range – there are plenty to choose from now – 50 in fact – but the quality does vary a bit. I’d go for some of the less mentioned titles, such as Death Of An Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg or Murder Of A Lady by Anthony Wynne.

A Meditation On Murder, The Killing Of Polly Carter and Death Knocks Twice by Robert Thorogood – the three Death In Paradise mystery novels that thoroughly embrace the classic crime genre. Fun reads with clever plots – first rate stuff.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz – an homage to the Golden Age, much lauded and quite right too. Better, imho, than his more recent The Word Is Murder, although that’s pretty good too.

Any Green Penguin – if you’re lucky enough to have a second hand bookshop near you with a shelf full of Green Penguin novels, then grab a couple, preferably by authors you’ve not heard of. Never an unwelcome gift.

Anything else?

Well, if you want the ideal gift, then my good blogging chum Kate, over at Cross Examining Crime, where you can get a Coffee and Vintage Crime Gift Box – and don’t worry if your potential giftee has refined taste and doesn’t want to pollute their palate with coffee, tea or hot chocolate is available, along with a couple of hand-picked vintage crime novels. No idea if Kate can produce enough by Christmas, but she says 1-2 weeks, so if you order it today…

And what should people who read this blog post and know me get me? Well, one of Kate’s boxes sound fun (but in case you missed my subtle comment earlier, TEA, not the content of the devil’s urinary tract that is coffee) or you could just break the bank and buy me the complete works of Brian Flynn that I don’t own. That would be nice…

Anyway, back tomorrow with a review of an outstanding historical mystery, with an impossible poisoning that could only exist in an historical novel…


  1. Thanks for the shout out. At the moment I am dispatching at the rate of 2-5 days (but I gave myself a slightly longer time on the site) to places as far flung as New Jersey and Australia. Wasn’t sure how much interest it would get but I’ve been quite busy in the last couple of weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Several hither to unknown (to me and I read a lot of British mysteries) was George Bellairs. I have been reading some of his titles set on the Isle of Man, and LOVING them. Great scenery, plots and dialog. There are so many new options that we are spoiled for choice. And most of them are wonderful although occasional titles by small presses could do with some copy editing. Or someone should check them to eliminate silly errors before they are finally approved for printing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeepers, I should have read my own message more carefully — just look at the first sentence directly above. My apologies, but no matter. George Bellairs is a great writer. I’m reading Delano Ames (Dagobert and Jane Brown) and loving them. Francis Beeding, Elizabeth Gill, Mike Ripley’s carry on Margery Allingham characters. L C Tyler. June Thomson,.. As I get older (and the teeth, eyes, ears and other organ is slow down or fall apart, and arthritis sets in, there are always books. Unfortunately so many books and so little time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “…if your potential giftee has refined taste and doesn’t want to pollute their palate with coffee….”
    “….not the content of the devil’s urinary tract that is coffee…”

    DON’T make such sacrilegious statements ! I am a strong lover of coffee !


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