Book Review – Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop

For some reason, short story collections don’t do well here at the library, but I love them.  It’s great just to dip in and read one story before bedtime or sit and read them all.  So when the book Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop came across my desk I had to check it out.   Otto Penzler, owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan, founder of the Mysterious Press and the creator of Otto Penzler Books was the editor as he has been of many other books.  For years Otto commissioned a mystery from one of the many famous authors featured in his store – the only requirement be that it take place at Christmastime, and take place, at least in part in the bookstore.  Last year he compiled all 17 stories in this one book and it’s a wonderful Christmas treat.

Many of my favorite authors contributed: Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, Edward D. Hoch, Ron Goulart, Anne Perry, Mary Higgins Clark and S. J. Rozan.  Some I hadn’t read but will now look out for are Rupert Holmes, Andrew Klavan, Michael Malone, Jonathan Santloffer, Jeremiah Healy, Thomas H. Cook, George Baxt, Lisa Atkinson and Charles Ardai.  Some of my favorite characters appear, like Westlake’s burglar Dortmunder and Block’s Chip Harrison in a Nero Wolfe pastische.  And S. J. Rozan’s wonderful, pun-filled  and rhymey story “The Grift of the Magi.”  I laughed out loud and of course, devoured the book in one night.

I heartily recommend this to all you mystery lovers who want a bit of Christmas with their mysteries.  As for me, I hope someday, I can visit New York and Otto’s wonderful store and amazing personal library.  There must be a twinkle in his eye, since most of the writers describe him that way.  I didn’t get to meet him at the last Mystery Conference I attended, but I’ll be sure to look him up at the next!