Saturday, February 04, 2017
Crimson Snow edited by Martin Edwards
Victor Gunn's story, "Death in December" was a lengthy piece featuring Chief Inspector Bill "Ironsides" Cromwell. It's a piece that was originally published in 1943. Ironsides accompanies a co-worker, Johnny Lister, to the family estate at Christmas. Is there anything better in a Christmas mystery than to have the detective snowed in, isolated with a cast of suspects? In this case, there's even a ghost story. Victor Gunn was just one pseudonym of Edwy Searles Brooks, according to Edwards, who introduces each piece with the background of the author, and a note about the story or the detective.
The author Christopher Bush was born on Christmas Day, and his name was actually Charlie Christmas Bush. His contribution, "Murder at Christmas", is narrated by his private detective, Ludovic Travers, who visits a policeman friend for the holidays. When a man is found murdered, Travers can't help himself. He does a little nosing around.
There are plenty of killers along with Santa Claus and carolers, thieves and con men. There's a great deal of pleasure in reading these older traditional stories. In one case, the reader even gets to match wits with the sleuth, just as readers did when the story was originally published.
Martin Edwards calls these "vintage" crime stories. One definition of vintage says, "of high quality or lasting value, or showing the best characteristics of the person who created it." Crimson Snow fits that definition. If you would like some of the best traditional stories, with a winter or Christmas setting, try Edwards' collection.
Martin Edwards' website is www.martinedwardsbooks.com
Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards. Poisoned Pen Press. 2016. ISBN 9781464206757 (paperback), 311p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of the book.