Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop
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Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. Thes...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Vanguard Press
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64th out of 232 books — 66 voters
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Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: The book was sent to me unsolicited. I read several short story collections last year but haven't been reading many, if any, this year at all and the thought of spending some time with the short story format again was enticing, the book had come at just the right time for me.

This is a collection of the stories that Otto Penzler has had commissioned to be written for his store each year beginning 1993. He then has them bound and gives them away to customers at Christmas. The l...more
This was a fun "theme" book of short stories all about mysteryies set in the Christmas season, with at least part of the action taking place in The Mysterious Bookshop.

The Mysterious Bookshop of the title is actually a real bookstore in the Tribeca area of Manhattan. The owner of the store is the editor of the book containing the short stories, all of which he commissioned through the years from famous mystery authors, one each year as a gift for loyal customers of the store for Christmas. He de...more
I liked this book. As with all anthologies, some stories are better than others. Some were more Christmas-ey than others and more were more mysterious than others. However, I found it to be a lot of fun. The only rules for these stories are that the story must take place at Christmas time and some of the action must take place at New York’s famous Mysterious Bookshop.

It was interesting to see how varied and wide reaching the different stories were. There were typical whodunits, tales of redempti...more
Jann Barber
This was the December selection for the mystery book club to which I belong.

Otto Penzler owns The Mysterious Bookshop in New York. He commissions a Christmas story each year from an author, publishes it, and gives it out as a holiday gift to customers. The bookshop has to play some role in the story.

Seventeen of the stories are in this book. It was an amusing read. There is a story for every type of mystery reader.

Now, I have a new place to check out for hard-to-find mysteries!
I enjoyed this collection much better than I thought I would. Most of the stories are very entertaining and for once they are actually short enough to be read in one sitting. Man alive, did it make me want to be in this bookstore at Christmas (especially the old location). Overall, 3.5 stars.
Lois Browne
Lots of amusing stories featuring The Mysterious Bookshop of New York City. I finished a higher percentage of the stories in this book than I usually would in a collection of short stories.
Aside from the gorgeous cover art and the attention grabbing title that speaks to any book lover, this is a holiday collection of mysteries centered in and around The Mysterious Bookshop and more often than not, starring, in some fashion, the owner, Mr. Otto Penzler. You learn a bit more about the shop (yes, it IS in fact a real bookstore) and the owner in each story, though you are cautioned that these "truths" are really fictious in nature (I wonder...).

The stories remained a bit hit and miss...more
Dusky Literati
My second read for the Christmas Spirit challenge, is a collection billed as “stories of mistletoe and mayhem from 17 masters of suspense” compiled by Mysterious Bookshop (New York) owner Otto Penzler. Annually, from 1993 to 2009, Penzler commissioned a short story from a leading mystery writer. There were three requirements that had to be met:

the story must be a mystery, crime, or suspense story;
the story must occur during the Christmas season; and
part of action must occur at the Mysterious Boo...more
Short story collections—particularly those with stories written by many different authors—tend to be hit or miss, and this one is no exception. Every Christmas season, Otto Penzler, the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York, commissions a mystery short story from a prominent genre author that has two stipulations: first, it must take place during Christmastime; and second, it must somehow involve Penzler's bookstore.

A cool idea, and out of the nineteen stories the effort has produced...more
Lesley Ohara
This is a little gem. Especially for all of us die-hard mystery fans who can imagine nothing better than to own a bookshop dedicated to mysteries and to have writers call in for book signings and, even better, to know those writers as friends.
This is exactly what Otto Penzler does, and from those writers he has asked a different one each year to write a detective story which is printed and given to the customers at Christmas time. The only stipulation is that The Mysterious Bookshop must feature...more
Cathy Cole
From the Introduction: As a way of thanking our customers for their support, I have commissioned an original story from some of the finest mystery writers in America each Christmas season for the past 17 years.

As owner of fabled The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, Penzler laid out a few ground rules for these stories:

The story must be a mystery/crime/suspense story.
It must be set during the Christmas season.
At least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop.

In their...more
Julie Barrett
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop
17 mystery writers are given a task each Christmas to come up with a very short story surrounding one item-the boostore in NYC.
I liked the stories and some I felt I didn't get the whole thing because they were so short. Going to get other works by the authors and read their longer works as they were interesting to listen to.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).
Theresa Wesley
I got this book at the library, I was picking up books I requested and this was on the shelf next to my stack and I picked it up by mistake but still looked at it before I put it back in the other persons stack then promptly went to the library request desk and requested it and I read it every Christmas Season. A little something for everyone and you won't regret reading it yourselves.
Julie Davis
I heard about this when it came out (last year?) and was immediately interested. Every year Otto Penzler would give 1,000 copies of a specially written Christmas story to regular customers. The requirements were that the story must include the bookstore in some way and must be set at Christmas. The 17 stories (through 2009) are printed in this book in chronological order. Each is by a different luminary in the mystery writing genre. Thus far they have all been fun and fairly light and quite enjo...more
What a great collection of stories! Each one was enjoyable and many of them made me smile or even laugh. These stories are all so unique and have a festive air that is quite enjoyable. The Mysterious Bookshop really came alive through this novel and is somewhere I'd love to visit. All the stories are so well done and still somehow work well together in the collection. (view spoiler)...more
Most of these stories are adequate but three stand out. In Lawrence Block's "As Dark As It Gets", Otto Penzler hires a guy to find a missing manuscript, stolen at a Christmas party in his library. The detection and resolution are a hoot. In Thomas Cook's "The Lesson of the Season", a bookstore clerk can't understand why a regular customer reads a certain low-brow author. When she finds out the reason, it changes her opinion of the customer completely. S.J. Rozan's clever writing shines through i...more
Karen Kenney
Fun little read with 17 short stories by 17 of the masters of mystery and suspense. Quick but also has some thoughtful insights. I liked it.
From my book review blog Rundpinne...."Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop ‘Tis the Season to be Deadly, Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem from 17 Masters of Suspense, edited by Otto Penzler is a compilation of seventeen short stories commissioned by Otto Penzler, the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop who each year would ask a well known author to write a Christmas mystery incorporating his bookstore into the story."....The full review may be read here.
What could be better - short story mysteries set at Christmas?

17 stories from authors like Donald E. Westlake, Ed McBain, Mary Higgins Clark, Anne Perry, Lawrence Block and 12 others!

I really enjoyed "Give Till It Hurts" by Donald E. Westlake, with his Dortmunder character.

"Murder for Dummies" by Ron Goulart was great, I will look for other things he has written. I will also be looking for things by Andrew Kiavan who wrote "The Killer Christmas".

I love short story mysteries, they introduce me...more
Someday I would like to go to this bookshop.

The perfect bathroom read with so many short stories.
As a rule, I avoid collections of short stories. These however were really little gems, probably because they included some very well-known mystery writers. Each year, for the last 17 years, Otto Penzler has commissioned a short story by a leading mystery writer that he produced as pamphlets (1000 only) and gave them out during December to customers. His bookshop "The Mysterious Bookshop" in New York City appears in each story. The first one is a Dortmunder (Westlake) and just whets your appetit...more
I liked the title, but I was in the wrong mood to be reading short stories.
Fun. Some hit or miss, like all short story collections.
New York's famous Mysterious Bookshop gives its patrons a gift each holiday season--a short story by a famous author, set at Christmastime, and mentioning the bookshop. This collection of seventeen of them is great fun. Many of the authors give us the bonus of a brief visit with their famous sleuth--Donald Westlake's Dortmunder, Michael Malone's Cuddy Mangum, Edward Hoch's Nick Silver. As is always the case, some of the stories are much stronger than others. I was surprised not to find a brief b...more
Otto Penzler the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City has edited a collection of short stories. He commissions a mystery writer at Christmas to produce a story that is given out to the customers of the bookshop during the holiday season. The requirements for a story are that is must be a mystery/crime, that the story takes place during the Christmas season and that the action scene take place at the bookshop. This book was a wonderful surprise and I loved it!! Highest recommendation...more
Every year at Christmas Otto Penzler, the proprieter of The Mysterious Bookshop (NYC) commissions a short story from some of the world's finest mystery writers. He publishes the story and gives it away to his customers as a gift. The story must be set at Christmas time and it must have featured in some way, The Mysterious Bookshop This collection are the stories from 1993-2009.

It is a collection of well-written stories, some funny, some sad, and some mirthful. Some I liked and some I didn't. The...more
I am not usually a short story reader but this books 17 stories all revolve around a mystery bookstore that actually exists in New York City called The Mysterious Bookshop (of course). All of the stories also take place around Christmas. I love Christmas stories and I love bibliomysteries and I guess the only reason that I didn't rate this higher was the short story aspect. (And I do mean short--just a few pages each.)

However most of the stories were really good and I would recommend to all bib...more
Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop is a collection of short stories from a variety of mystery authors. The stories are pulled together with a common setting, theme, and one consistent character. After reading the collection, the reader gets to know Otto Penzler, the editor and Mysterious Bookshop owner Excellent selection for a reader like me who is both a mystery fan and a big fan of Christmas. I would feel right at home should I ever have the opportunity to walk through the bookshop doors in...more
This is a series of short mysteries involving Christmas and the real-life Mysterious Bookshop in New York. Many were written by well-know writers like Mary Higgins Clark, who have some connection to the bookstore and its owner, who makes an appearance in most of the stories.

Overall, I found this a pretty average collection, and I didn't love any of the stories (give me Agatha Christie any day). I did enjoy the descriptions of the bookshop, though, and would love to visit it!
I picked up this book for a Christmas In July swap. The stories are all fairly quick reads. Naturally some are better than others, but overall I enjoyed the collection and look forward to reading more from some of these authors. I found the appearance of Otto Penzler in most of the stories delightful since every story had a different take on the man. It really makes me wonder what he is actually like and what he thinks of his fictional selves in these annual Christmas tales.
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Otto Penzler is an editor of mystery fiction in the United States, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives.

Otto Penzler founded The Mysteriour Press in 1975 and was the publisher of The Armchair Detective, the Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years.

Penzler has won two Edgar Awards, for The Encycl...more
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