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Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop    edited by Otto Penzler order for
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop
by Otto Penzler
Order:  USA  Can
Vanguard, 2010 (2010)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

''Tis the Season to be Deadly - Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem from 17 Masters of Suspense.' Imagine a mystery lover's delight upon opening a Christmas present and finding Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop! It has seventeen mystery stories all in one volume by well-known authors Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, S.J. Rozen, Anne Perry, Donald E. Westlake, to name some of them. A true treasure. But, wait! You'd better buy two of them. You'll want one for yourself.

As well as wearing several other hats, Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. Each year for the past seventeen years, Penzler has commissioned 'an original story by a leading mystery writer. It had to be a mystery/crime/suspense story, set during the Christmas season and that at least some of the action take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced into pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the store as a Christmas present.'

Now, all of these 17 stories have been published in one volume. Some are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others are tales of simply pure detection. Now I've explained the purpose of this book. Did I enjoy it? An unequivocal YES. Don't usually like short stories, although I've written a number of them. I like a book I can put myself into. Short stories don't give that option. But when you read the best, you can't not enjoy.

In Give Till it Hurts, Dortmunder is conned into a poker game with interesting results. Murder for Dummies has some heated discussion about the author of a book. Nero Wolfe is a role model in As Dark as Christmas Gets. I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus will curl your toes. Oh, heck. They're all good. Each one as unique as their authors. Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop is a great concept and a very good read.

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