Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mistletoe Mysteries - Mystery Review

Mistletoe Mysteries: Tales of Yuletide Murder Collected by Charlotte MacLeod

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Every one of the great detectives of literature, from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot to Nero Wolfe, has endured a holiday marred by murder. Now, modern mystery writers including Mary Higgins Clark, Marcia Muller, Aaron Elkins, and others place their detectives in a Yuletide setting for a special mix of murder and mistletoe.

Genre: Mystery - Short Stories

Why I Picked This Book:  I have enjoyed similar collections in previous years and I love that Open Road Press is bring back these more classic collections.

My Impression:  I'm going to be honest here - between the holidays and some family emergencies that have cropped up lately - my brain is fried and my attention span has shrunk to gnat-like proportions.  Throw in all the mile long to do lists and just being chronically short of sleep and I'm struggling to focus on the simplest of plots.  And that is where this collection of short stories saved the day!  The stories are short but perfectly complete, incredibly entertaining and unbelievably varied.  There are hauntings, espionage, blackmail, misunderstandings, and straight up murder all in this festive time of year.  Not only does it feature several old favorites (Charlotte MacLeod, Sharon McCrumb, Aaron Elkins, and Marcia Muller) but it also included several new-to-me authors who were lovely surprises (particularly Peter Lovesey and Susan Dunlap's stories) and included a short story by Isaac Asimov that was entertaining and unexpected.

Like all short story collections not every story was a shining star but I didn't find any real bombs here.  I loved MacLeod's best and Lovesey's was a close second.  All the stories felt complete and were well paced well which isn't too big of a shock given the caliber of the authors that are featured.  This was a fun way to get a bit of murder and a bit of holiday spirit without having to make my brain try and focus through a full length book.  Perfect reading for the middle of the holiday season!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  Not only did it reinforce my love of some old favorites but it's given me several authors I want to read more from.

Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely!  If you enjoy mysteries this is a really solid short story collection.


  1. Hmm sounds like a perfect book for you with all that is going on. Do hope things slow down for you, and you get some rest. I know a fried brain really makes reading harder. Nice to have a variety of authors to sample in one book.

  2. easy mysteries also sound great to me for that season. I wanted to start the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes this year, but other plans crept in. maybe next winter! Emma at Words and Peace

  3. I'm glad you were able to read this one with all life's been throwing at you lately. I think I might have to keep this one in mind for next Christmas when the hustle and bustle get a bit too much in the way of my reading plans.

  4. what is it about murder and holidays lol? And I've had hard time finding Christmas reads this year. Not sure why, but I think I'll pick this up! I love short stories too...

  5. Sometimes the short and sweet stories are perfect. Glad this worked for you!!

  6. I don't often read short story collections, but you are right. They offer just enough to capture our interest...and especially when they're connected by a theme, like the holidays, they are just what we need.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. Sorry you're under so much pressure right now - I hope things get easier soon :(. Short story collections can be just the thing - and this one sounds great. Peter Lovesey once came to talk to West Sussex Writers about writing short stories and I do enjoy his Peter Diamond murder mysteries.

  8. This sounds wonderful and I love anthologies or short stories this time of holiday themed books that aren't romance add a nice mix into my pile!

  9. I love how books can just make everything better. It is so nice when a collection of short stories can all be fun and take you away.