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Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  430 Ratings  ·  111 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
Paperback, 245 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Carroll & Graf
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Nicola Mansfield
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
All of these short stories involve Otto Penzler or his staff, and the action takes place, for the most part, in his bookstore, The Mysterious Bookshop. It sounds like it could be great fun, after all what's better than being in a bookstore at Christmas time, surrounded by wonderful books with a mystery thrown in to boot?
Unfortunately I found most of these stories to be poorly written with predictable outcomes. I realize that it is difficult to pen an intriguing story when every story must have a
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A great book for Christmas season. I have several books of short stories that were collected by Otto Penzler and never really knew who he was. I do now!

Every year Penzler, the owner of the real Mysterious Bookshop in NYC, asks mystery authors to write a short story that he then publishes (usually for friends and customers). The restrictions are that it somehow concern the bookshop (even if only as an employee, customer, etc.) and that it be set around Christmas.

Some of the authors are ones I kno
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
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Alexandria Luttke
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a Christmas gift to his loyal customers, Otto Penzler, owner of The Mysterious Bookshop, solicits a short story to be written and published by Penzler's publishing company; this book is a compilation of some of those short mysteries. Not so long ago all I read were mysteries, and I forgot how much I enjoyed them until I picked up this collection. Since a minimum requirement is for the story to be set at Christmas and have the bookshop as well as Penzler in them, I felt that this was enough of ...more
Jann Barber
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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!
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of short mystery stories written by 17 authors over seventeen years. Otto Penzler, owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York had the authors, one at a time, create a short story which he gave away as a gift each Christmas for the 17 years. A good Christmas read and the mix of stories is very nice. Some are better than others, but all worth reading. Now to see what else Mr. Penzler has put together.
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Short stories make me feel like I read fast! ;)

Some were good, some not so much and some were just average. But it was a fun little read....I chose 8 or so. That's all I'm doing. For book discussion...and cookie exchange...really looking forward to that!
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
The idea behind this collection of short stories is great. I am a huge fan of door stoppers and series, so sometimes short stories can be a bit of a challenge. There was a wide variety stories, and while I didn't love all of them, it was a good Christmas read.
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
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Denver Public Library
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lisab
For a number of years Otto Penzler, owner of the real Mysterious Bookshop in New York City has asked his author friends to pen a short story that he could hand out to his customers with one requirement that some of the action take place in the bookshop. The result is Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. An excellent and straight forward compilation of suspense and mystery stories written by well-known and not so well known authors. While many of the stories also have a little bit of the holiday ...more
Alison C
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop, an iconic New York City store for decades now; certainly if I ever get to NYC, it's the first, and fourth, and ninth place I'll check out. Some 17 years ago, he began commissioning authors to write a short story for Christmas, which he gave in bound copies to longstanding customers; Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop is a hardcover collection bringing those stories, from 1993 to 2009, together in one volume. The requirements were that ...more
Dusky Literati
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
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
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Cathy Cole
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Lesley Ohara
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Julie Davis
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Robert Schneider
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found the stories collected here to run the range of good, fun, interesting, touching, dull, and bad. There were a couple that I skipped completely (not having liked anything I've read by the authors before now)and there were a couple I started and then gave up on. There were two Highlights for me. Mary Higgins Clark - 'What's in a Name?' was unexpectedly touching and was a pleasant ending to the book. Lawrence Block - 'As Dark as Christmas Gets' was a nice homage and was just a lot of fun, es ...more
Dec 13, 2010 rated it really 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.
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting and good read.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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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 about Otto Penzler...

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