A Coffee and Crime Vintage Mystery Gift Box – Another Look

You may remember a few months ago, I went into detail about my first Coffee and Crime gift box from my blogging buddy Kate Jackson. Well, I was so impressed with my first three boxes, I renewed my subscription. And I thought I’d talk you through once again what arrived in the post this morning. Because it was, as ever, extremely impressive and well-thought out and a welcome treat (admittedly one I paid for) to distract me from the general 2020-ness of everything.

As this is going to be a pictorial tour of the box, let’s start with the packaging, with a distinctive label and packed very securely and safely.

Let’s leave the books for now and look at the extras. First of all, there’s Kate’s newsletter, which I still haven’t learned to read one side of properly before turning it over and seeing the answer to the puzzle that I hadn’t thought about properly…

Then we get to the Coffee part, which for me is the least important bit of the whole thing, given I can’t stand the stuff. But I did instead get a posh teabag and a tube of Rolos (the latter of which made Mrs Puzzle Doctor very happy.

Then we’ve got a short story from C S Forester – it’s a sort of fold out pamphlet.

Now one of the oddest things – a Cluedo pack of playing cards, guaranteed to help you cheat. You see, one sixth of the pack has each Cluedo character on the back, but printed in order. So for example, all of the Mrs Peacock cards are diamonds. So not the most practical set of cards for playing poker…

Now, each box so far has had an extra book, a puzzle book of sorts, very useful for filling in a few minutes as a Maths teacher in lessons. This time though… well, I’ll leave that til the end.

Right, the two books. They come wrapped very nicely with a label on them detailing the contents, but I’ll admit, I try not to look at them. I like unweapping presents without knowing what’s inside them. The first book this month was The Rasp by Philip MacDonald, a rare Green Penguin and despite having a few MacDonald books, this is one I don’t have.

Second of all is an author new to me, Nancy Spain, and Poison For Teacher, a book recently reprinted in the Lesbian Landmarks series. Not sure what to expect from this one, quite frankly, but I’ll let you know.

And the highpoint of this box wasn’t one of the expected books, but a copy of Curtis Evans’ The Spectrum of English Murder, a detailed look at the Coles and Henry Wade. I’m not a massive fan of either author, but if anyone can convince me, it’s Curtis. I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and finding it in this box was a delight.

If you’re interested, then do head over to Kate’s Etsy page. She can tailor a box to your preferences – I’ve asked her to try and focus on books that are primarily whodunits – and she’ll ship to almost anywhere in the world. It’s a great one-off or ongoing gift for a friend or for yourself. Haven’t used the phrase in a while, but this is Highly Recommended.


  1. It’s a while since I read The Rasp, but if I remember correctly it was quite entertaining but had some plotting issues.


  2. I’ve not read any Nancy Spain, but I’ve been on the lookout for her magnificently-titled cricket mystery Death Before Wicket for a while now…


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