Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest Blogger!! Christmas & Crime

I am proud to present my first guest blogger ever: Dorte of DJ's Krimiblog. Dorte is a fellow Dane, blogging mostly about mysteries and thrillers, and for this guest blogger post, she has chosen to combine Christmas and Crime. Thanks a lot Dorte, I love your post and I hope you will guest blog here again some other time.

Christmas and Crime.

Thank you very much, Louise, for inviting me to write a guest post for you. It is my first guest post ever! And thank you for waiting patiently until I had time to write it.

A comfortable armchair, a nice fire and a scary crime novel – is there a better way to spend the Christmas holidays? Of course you can read any old crime story, but why not pick at least one or two which are actually related to Christmas? Here is a colourful bouquet from my own shelves, all picked and presented just for your!

Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot´s Christmas (1938).

It is Christmas time and families are supposed to get together and enjoy the holidays. Old Simon Lee, the millionaire, gathers the family around him, even the prodigal son and the unknown granddaughter from Spain. His children are a bit skeptical as to his real motives until he lets it slip that he is making arrangements with his lawyer to change his will. The scene is set for traditional British crime, and of course the holidays do not pass without jealousy, suspicion – and a gory murder!

But the local Superintendent Sugden and the eminent Sherlock Holmes are at hand, so don´t worry! Peace and order will soon be restored.

Martha Grimes, Jerusalem Inn (1984)

As usual, this American writer has set her crime novel around an old British pub in the countryside. Inspector Richard Jury happens to meet the attractive but mysterious Helen Minton in a church yard. She tells him about her interesting place of work, Washington Old Hall. The following day Jury goes to see the place (or the lady?) only to discover that Helen Minton has just been murdered.

At the same time, some of Jury´s friends, including the nobleman Melrose Plant, are staying at Spinney Abbey, near the pub Jerusalem Inn where snooker tournament is going on. Another murder takes place in Spinneyton, and as the two crimes are related, Richard Jury is involved in both cases. Melrose Plant is very eager to lend him a hand – to escape the boredom of the affluent bachelor gentleman for a while. As connoisseurs of traditional, British crime may have guessed, Martha Grimes´ series has much in common with Dorothy L. Sayers´ Lord Peter Wimsey series and Elizabeth George´s Inspector Lynley series.

R.D. Wingfield, Frost at Christmas (1984)

Perhaps you know the British TV series about Detective Inspector Jack Frost but did not know the series was based on six crime novels published in the period 1984-2008? In my opinion the books are better (and more distinct) than the television episodes.

An eight-year-old girl does not return home from Sunday school, and our untidy DI Frost is put on the case together with the new man, DC Clive Barnard. Little Tracey is the daughter of a prostitute so of course Frost takes a closer look at her mother´s various acquaintances, as well as anything else he stumbles upon, and soon he is landed with a thirty-year-old corpse, plus a very fresh one. As usual, Frost leaves a trail of digression, disorder and broken rules behind him, but his instincts are sound and his heart is in the right place.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark (2006)

This cozy mystery takes place in Australia in the roaring twenties. So if you want to get away from the cold and dark European winter, you can move back in time and enjoy a very different climate and culture in this Phryne Fisher mystery. Here Christmas is celebrated for several days on the decadent drink, drug and dance scene of affluent Australia. A spoilt little boy is kidnapped, and the mysterious ´Joker´ threatens to kill the generous and popular host of the Christmas party. Phryne Fisher must take action – in between the many indispensable meals, games and concerts. She solves the crimes expertly, but more like an intellectual puzzle or game than through hard work.

A good mystery for readers who want light entertainment instead of graphic violence, but the sex scenes would probably make Miss Marple blush.

Arnaldur Indridason, Voices (2006)

The third novel in Indridason´s excellent Icelandic series takes place in the capital. Voices begins when Santa Claus, in the shape of a doorman of a Reykjavik hotel, is stabbed to death, or silenced, in his basement room.

Voices is also about a little boy with a brilliant voice which was once recorded on old 45 records, now collectors´ items. And finally, the title refers to Erlendur himself, the taciturn policeman who has such a frail and difficult relationship with his own children. Even though the case does not demand it, he leaves his flat and moves into the hotel, squirming and fidgeting to get away from Christmas and all the social obligations in connection with this season.

An excellent, modern murder mystery, but also the darkest of my handful of Christmas mysteries.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to both of you on your first guest posts! Will you be posting over at Dorte's blog?

Dorte H said...

Softdrink: thank you :D

Louise wrote one for me in November, but I did not have time to write a proper post then.

Anonymous said...

Nicely-done, Dorte! I'm impressed. Soon you'll droves of us "groupies" chasing you all over the "blogosphere."

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Hi Dorte! *waving*

The Australian Christmas one sounds like decadent fun. I enjoyed all of your previews for Christmas crime stories, and I've really enjoyed your blog exchange program with Louise.

Dorte H said...

Margot: oh, I love the idea of groupies chasing me around! At least as long as the chase is virtual :D

Hi Julia!
"Decadent fun" is an excellent description of Murder in the Dark. I hope you will have time to read some good Christmas mysteries.

Heather said...

visiting from Dorte's blog. Great choice of topics. I have read Christmas romances, but not Christmas crime. cool idea.

Hector Macdonald said...

Hi Lou

I can't find an email address for you, so please forgive me intruding on your comment wall. I’d like to invite you to write about your favorite books at, where you can add information, images, video, music and links to illustrate and explore the books.

Right now, we're running a $3,000 Tournament and we'll be offering contract work to the best entries.

Best wishes

Hector Macdonald
Editor, Book Drum

Beth F said...

Guest posting is such a great idea.

And thanks to you both for this list of great Christmas mysteries. What a fabulous idea.

Dorte H said...

Hi Beth.

I am glad you like the Christmas mysteries :D

Anonymous said...

Great Christmasy post :)

Dorte H said...

Heather: sorry I didn´t see you the other day. Christmas crime is quite often of the cozy type so perhaps the main difference is the crime :)

Stacy: thank you!

Esme said...

Louise-Have a wonderful Christmas.

Aarti said...

Hi Lou, I have you down for the next Rosie's Riveters post. If you want to email me at booklustblogger AT gmail DOT com, I can send you the template. Thanks! And happy new year :-)

Unknown said...

What a great post - there's lost of new books I can add to my ever growing pile! :) Thanks for joining my Typically British Reading Challenge too. I hope you enjoy it and discover lots of British authors!

Unknown said...

What a great post - there's lost of new books I can add to my ever growing pile! :) Thanks for joining my Typically British Reading Challenge too. I hope you enjoy it and discover lots of British authors!