hands of woman reading book by fireplace

I shifted my reads for December to mid-month in anticipation of the upcoming winter break. Many of us will have several days off to relax, visit, nap, and most importantly, READ. These are some books that will help you forget your winter blues and settle in for an evening by the fire.

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

9781101870891Edited by Otto Penzler

This book in itself is probably enough to get even a voracious reader through the chilliest nights. It’s more than 800 pages of Sherlock-inspired stories from dozens of writers. It even includes parodies written by Conan Doyle himself.

Perhaps one of the funniest is a lampoon from J.M. Barrie, best known for writing Peter Pan. Barrie and Doyle were good friends in real life.

Written in the style of a sensationalist broadsheet, it tells the story of a Dr. Watson arrested for the murder of Sherlock Holmes. It alleges that it was Watson who sent Sherlock over the Reichenbach Falls and Moriarty was completely innocent.

The evidence in the case being circumstantial, it is obvious that motive must have a prominent part in the case for the Crown. Wild rumours are abroad on this subject, and at this stage of the case they must be received with caution. According to one, Watson and Holmes had had a difference about money matters, the latter holding that the former was making a gold-mine out of him and sharing nothing. ~Pg. 116.

There are also cases from modern-day writers, including Neil Gaiman, Laurie R. King, Colin Dexter, and Anne Perry. See the full table of contents. It enough to keep any Sherlockian busy through the holidays.

Many thanks to Angelina for the review copy.

Hardcover: 816 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (October 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101870893
ISBN-13: 978-1101870891
Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches

Bryant & May and the Burning Man

61nR47zl1bLBy Christopher Fowler

In a modern London that is slightly dystopian, a team of detectives works the Peculiar Crimes unit. Using Guy Fawkes Night, and the anarchist protests around the old city, as a cover, someone has killed a homeless person seeking shelter in a bank stoop. The perpetrator was hoping to make it seem like an accident in the midst of the chaos, but Bryant & May immediately sense something this awry.

When a second body is discovered and the victim has ties to the same bank, they know there is more to the story. The detectives embark on a dangerous investigation among riots and blazes that threaten their beloved London.

The book constantly swings between the cold, frightening perspective of the criminal and the curmudgeonly humor of the detectives and the sideways remarks of their supervisor.

Then there were Bryant’s fanciful lectures on policing to contend with. Once he started there was no escape, and Land felt himself agreeing to the most appalling proposals. …

“Thank you, I remember what happened the last time I left you alone,” Land replied. “You filled my office with Tibetan monks and gave the Bishop of Southwark a black eye. …” Loc. 689

This is the twelfth in the series of Bryant & May books, and each one mirrors a classic detective novel style. If you like it, there are plenty more where that came from.

Read via NetGalley. Official listing.

Series: Peculiar Crimes Unit (Book 12)
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345547683
ISBN-13: 978-0345547682
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches

The Disappearance of Signora Guilia

51To0t8M8jLBy Piero Chiara

Esengrini, a deft criminal attorney, is known in the region for being the best at what he does and having an impeccable reputation. He is admired by everyone in the legal system, including Detective Sciancalepre.

The investigator is called into Esengrini’s office one afternoon, when the man believes that his wife, Guilia, has disappeared. Sciancalepre immediately begins to track the case, looking for any trace of the beautiful — and much younger — wife.

Originally published in 1970, this is the first of Chiara’s novels to be translated into English. He writes with a solid, declaratory manner. The simplicity of the writing belies the twisted mystery that gets more complicated at every turn.

It was eleven-thirty when they went outside and into the park, Indian file. The moon was already throwing clear shadows. The three of them made for the coach house, avoiding the central pathway and walking along the dividing wall towards the villa Sormani. Pulito stationed himself against one of the gate’s pillars in total darkness, in order to block the nightly visitor’s retreat. ~Pg. 60.

This is part of the Pushkin Vertigo collection, a young imprint that “publishes crime classics from around the world, focusing on tours-de-force works written between the 1920s and 1970s by international masters of the genre, with spine-tingling jackets designed by Jamie Keenan.”

I’m very glad to read these authors that are being brought to English readers for the first time and look forward to more from Pushkin Vertigo.

Thanks to Brittney for the review copy.

Series: Pushkin Vertigo
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo; Tra edition (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 178227104X
ISBN-13: 978-1782271048
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches