Merry Mystery Christmas!

We’re wishing everyone MERRY mysteries this year.

There’s plenty of mysteries and crime fiction to choose from., but here are four off the top of our list

We always start our shopping at SOHO CRIME  — this  imprint publishes some of the best mystery writers around, including Cara Black, James R. Benn, Francine Mathews, and  Peter Lovesey, to name a few.

Lovesey, of course, is best known for his stellar Peter Diamond series, and boy we’re in luck because his latest is Beau Death  which launches Dec. 5th. (Looking forward to reviewing it in 2018. That’s a hint to Paul Oliver!)

Lovesey has also contributed  to a delightful new anthology, THE USUAL SANTAS featuring holiday-themed tales by Helene Tursten, Mick Herron, Martin Limón, Timothy Hallinan, Teresa Dovalpage, Mette Ivie Harrison, Colin Cotterill, Ed Lin, Stuart Neville, Tod Goldberg, Henry Chang, James R. Benn, Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis, Sujata Massey, Gary Corby, Cara Black, Stephanie Barron. There’s also a  forward by Peter Lovesey. Lots of goodies in here, and one of our faves is Mick Herron‘s “The Usual Santas.” Set in a fashionable  mall in the UK on Christmas Eve, 8 Santas are  gathered in celebration of their gig’s end, when they suddenly realize there’s a mysterious ninth Santa among them.

 

Next stop is MINOTAUR BOOKS — .another hot mystery publisher which, this year, gifted us with Jane Casey’s LET THE DEAD SPEAK —  the latest in her Maeve Kerrigan series.

A richly plotted  thriller with wicked twists, this novel has  a drop-dead ending that will haunt you long after reading. Maeve is a character who lives and breathes,  thanks to Casey’s mastery.  Beyond  the carefully layered suspense, he relationship between Kerrigan and DCI Derwent  is complex and compelling. If you have yet to  encounter the series, you’re in for a treat.

Looking for noir under the tree, well the late French writer  Pascal Garnier writes novelettes  that are dark and laced with black humor . Gallic Books has been making all of his books available in excellent translations.

When we read  Garnier’s THE PANDA THEORY we were hooked. Had the late Terry Southern written a thriller, it might have been this. We recently read THE ESKIMO SOLUTION which is as noir as Simenon but with an edginess that is uniquely Garnier’s. Here a writer gets a tad too close to his protagonist

It’s not for the squeamish.


To end the year with laughter, our friend Norman Conquest asked us to mention two new Black Scat Books.

The first publication in English of the master humorist Alphonse Allais‘s collection, LONG LIVE LIFE! — stories culled from the pages of LE CHAT NOIR, packed with madcap (and bawdy) tales of love, adultery, the supernatural, military life, and fake news. These texts are quintessentially Allaisian, spiked with absurd digressions, parenthetical asides, footnotes, puns, jokes, military jargon, Parisian slang, neologisms, dog Latin, literary quotations, and other unmentionable forms of wordplay. This special Black Scat edition features four additional  short stories not included in the original French volume, as well as a lively introduction, illustrations, and fascinating notes on the text by Doug Skinner.

And in the stocking stuffer category comes this fictional reference book:

Le Scat Noir Encyclopædia contains entries from Acrostic to Zwine, and features contributors from around the world—some of whom are distinguished professors at prestigious universities. Others are Nobel Prize winners, while a few have been arrested on felony charges. Discover rare factoids, flash fiction, nubile moon spew, mythological arcana, cabalistic pathogens, pataphysical detritus, scatological schemata, crypto-heuristic scripture, and radical homomorphism.

Over 100 pages of profusely illustrated weirdness.

 

See y’all next year — have a blast!