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The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  544 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Have yourself a crooked little Christmas with The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries.

Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler collects sixty of his all-time favorite holiday crime stories--many of which are difficult or nearly impossible to find anywhere else. From classic Victorian tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thomas Hardy, to contemporary stories
Paperback, 654 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published October 20th 2013)
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3.97  · 
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 ·  544 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Donna Davis
I have never before reviewed a book that I hadn't yet finished yet and wasn't planning to abandon, but the season is here, and you have to have this book! I was fortunate enough to get it as a "first read" via the giveaways. It doesn't matter, because if it is for sale before Christmas, I plan to buy a couple more copies to give as gifts. It's that good.

The stories are organized according to category in a format and layout that is congenial all by itself. There are ten sections, st
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of fun reading these mystery short stories but the book is big!! It might have been better if I had started in early November instead of the beginning of December. I had read surprisingly few of the stories before (only Arthur Conan Doyle & Agatha Christie I believe). It was a nice touch that the book opened and closed with stories by the Grand Dame of Mysteries, Agatha Christie, the only author to have more than one story (one a Poirot story & the other a Miss Marple).

Dec 25, 2018 marked it as to-read
This is a super-fun book. I read a few stories this year, and will now put it away to be re-opened next Christmas season. This book will last me years and years! :)
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-2017
I could not resist purchasing The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries this year, and began to read it as soon as it was December. It is a chunky and clunky tome, so I decided from the off to spread my reading of it out over a few days. I had initially decided to read one of the sections per day so that it would last me all of advent, but I ended up reading far more of it on some days than others, and finished it in just under a week.

The stories here, as mentioned above, are split into rather a lot o
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013, mystery
What could be more perfect than mysteries at Christmas? Christmas is the happiest time of year and all that, but the cold winter days are also the perfect setting for all things dark and twisty. Maybe a murder, perhaps a robbery gone wrong, or maybe there could be a ghost. However you like your mystery there is something for you in The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. There are ghosts, thieves and cold-hearted murderers. There are traditional mysteries and modern mysteries, funny mysteries and s ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3 to 3.5 stars. As expected for an anthology of this size, there's some truly absorbing stories and a bunch of mediocre ones. But just what I needed for this time of year, when the brain is largely mush.
Neil McCrea
I assume the publishers who giveaway books in the first reads program want the recipients to review the book in time for the official release date of the book. This book is so large, with tiny type and two columns per page, and I am reading so many things at once that I will be lucky to finish this by Christmas much less in time for the holiday buying public. So instead of waiting until the end, I shall endeavor to write mini-reviews of some of the stories throughout the next 4-5 weeks or so.

I s
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas
I have yet to finish this book, and I'm not quite sure that I will. If I do finish, it is certainly going to be with some skipping about as some of the stories are a whee bit much for me. However, there are at least several truly fun ones, and the cover is even more adorable in person, so as of this moment I would give it a 50/50 review. :)

12/28/16 Update:
Finished! And I actually quite liked it.

I ended up reading only 56/59 stories because of the reasons stated above.

Favorite stories:

"The Butle
Julie  Durnell
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A great selection of Christmas mystery short stories, enjoyed most all of them, a couple I skipped that were not for me. Took me a year reading just a few pages at a time, but the selection of well know and not so well known authors was intriguing!
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

Another well chosen anthology of mysteries by Penzler, with some truly obscure gems. However, the theme does begin to wear on one after a while.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and HUGE compendium of Christmas mysteries covering all aspects of the genre.
Traditional stories, humourous tales, creepy, scary supernatural mysteries, pulp fiction tales, modern whodunnits, puzzling and classic short stories.
Every possible angle is addressed with authors ranging from Christie, Thomas Hardy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson all the way up to more modern authors such as Colin Dexter, Susan Moody and Mary Higgins Clark.
In this heavy tome there is something
Julie Davis
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
There is no better time to reread a short story collection than one that is seasonal. I guess all those early Christmas ads I hate have worked enough magic on me to make me want to dive into the season a bit early.

This is a top notch collection of Christmas mysteries, ranging from G.K. Chesterton, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Agatha Christie to Donald Westlake, Mary Higgins Clark and Ed McBain. There are funny mysteries, hard boiled mysteries, ghostly mysteries, and heartless mysteries — all set at
Carrie Kilgore
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous collection of short stories, connected by Christmas (at least a mention) and mystery. They run the gamut from profound to silly, from the deft cozy to the chilling. The stories are sectioned so the reader can choose specific types (traditional, funny, Sherlockian, pulpy, uncanny, sorry, surprising, modern, puzzling and classic). I read it straight through, enjoying the variety. Many of the greats are represented here (Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ellery Queen, Robe ...more
I believe I need to buy this book. My home is nearly wall-to-wall books, but................... I'd checked it out at the library where I work, but it is so fabulously written & compiled & such a lovely book, that I may have to purchase it. Did I mention that it is also very, very long? Well, it is.
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I'm able to combine my love of mysteries with my love of Christmas, I'm in heaven. Make them short stories, and I'm soaring so far above heaven, the angels are having a hard time finding me.

Like any other collection of short stories, The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries has a few misses for me, but there are so many more hits. Going into it, I knew there was no way I would end up liking all 60 stories. What surprised me, was the fact that I enjoyed as many of them as I did. Anyone who know m
Jack R. Cotner
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries” edited by Otto Penzler is just what the title says, “Big”—and certainly worth its weight. From the first Christmas whodunit, “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” by Agatha Christie through the entire collection are wonderful and fascinating short story takes on the winter season celebrations and crime. I discovered for the first time interesting works and authors like Fergus Hume and his “The Ghost’s Touch” published in 1906. This is a book I will enjoy ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This massive and--be prepared--heavy tome probably has more hits and fewer misses than any short story collection you can think of. Beginning and ending with works by Agatha Christie, it includes popular writers like Mary Higgins Clark as well as long-forgotten pulp authors and some little known contemporaries. Some of them are more Christmas-focused than others, and there are some authors I would have liked to see included, but by and large this will keep you reading happily, Christmas or not, ...more
Carole Knoles
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a treat! If you like a little holiday reading that is not too glycemic this book is a perfect sugarplum antidote. It is filled with stories by wonderful authors such as Agatha Christie, O. Henry, and Mary Higgins Clark and at nearly seven hundred pages would contain amusements for at least at least a few years to come. I am loving it!
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.
I got this book for Christmas back in 2015. Since I like to read seasonal, I didn't crack it open to read until the first week of December 2016. For that month, I cherry-picked what I wanted to read by author and category. By December of 2017, I cracked it open for the next month-long session. About five stories in I stopped picking stories and just proceeded from the front cover to the back, finishing up the ones I had missed. This year, I read a few Christmas-themed book
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Rating 3.5
Good selection of mysteries from some big and some obscure names. I really liked the short author bios included with each piece. The lengths were just right in most cases. Many seemed to be just peripherally about Christmas--sort of token or slanted to be included in past anthologies. I found that I took it in spells because it was such a big book and, even though these were short stories, I found that I wanted to chew over a number of the pieces instead of just blazing through. I alwa
David Bisset
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cornucopia of Christmas tales

It is a large collection and the quality varies. Or is this my subjective opinion? However, there are classics which certainly are literature, and others which have been rescued from obscurity. However, the general quality is good and surprises abound. It is certainly a pleasurable book for Christmastide: and the introduced to each story provide a little seasonal erudition!

D.A. Fellows
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s taken me two years to finish this book, as I’ve only read it in the build-up to this and the past two Christmases. It would be inaccurate to say each and ever story was a five star gem, but there is at least something to enjoy in each of them, and if you like a good mystery and fancy something festive, this fits the bill. Most stories can be read in about half an hour, and the tales themselves are well selected and compiled.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was fun despite reading it in the spring. Lots of great mystery short stories, many genres and authors. My favorite was Donald Westlake’s The Burglar and the Whatsit. This book was useful for finding new authors to try, especially thanks to the brief intro to each story that gave author background, including their best-loved books.
Woody Chandler
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished! "Big Book 📖" is right! I had every intention of finishing it around/over the Christmas 🎄 holiday, but being away from school & on my own, I just don't feel as motivated. Editor Otto Penzler does a masterful job of curating a great bunch short stories. Recommended, but plan on a good bit of reading time.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A diverse, awesome collection of mysteries! I strongly recommend this book for anyone who likes mysteries! There are many authors included here who have published other mysteries or books in other genres; the commentary on each author and their work proceeding each mystery is especially helpful if you want to take a closer look at a certain author or their work. Thank you!
Matt Glaviano
A yearly browse, and always a pleasure. The stories themselves I'd rate higher. As always, though, the format of Penzler's Big Book series is a challenge to read, and takes away from the relaxing tales. I'm not a fan of the Hard Boiled Xmas stories section in this one.
Amy Samin
This is an enormous collection of stories and novellas, with something for everyone. But because the range of mysteries is so broad, I doubt anyone will love every single story - I sure didn’t. Plus, the sheer size of the file made the ebook awkward, and often slow to open.
Ray Akerboom
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The peace of Christmas and murder mysteries aren't two things one would normally combine. But in this book several of the best murder- or misschief stories are being presented in a fascinating way for those who want to take a break from peace and goodwill on earth!
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas-reads
Borrowed from the local library. I really liked the stories but didn't complete the book. Next Christmas season, I'll pick up where I left off by either borrowing it again or outright purchasing the book.
Mark Pearce
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When they called it a 'Big book' they weren't joking. A real mix with some better than others but overall worth a read.
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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
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