With Christmas very much in the air, it was fitting that my reading took me to “Christmas Mysteries: Ten Excerpts To Set The Season” put together by Open Road Integrated Media. There’s something about excerpts that you may have noticed. If, like me, you enjoy mysteries, stories incomplete and the scope to figure out for yourself what happened before or after that excerpt, you will enjoy reading them. If you don’t, while they make for good reading in any case, excerpts can be annoying as you find yourself wanting more with the excerpt ending just as you got hooked to it.

The writers in this collection span a long period of time and start with masters like Ellery Queen and Dorothy L. Sayers to contemporary writers like Charlotte MacLeod and William Bernhardt. For writers and I daresay for book lovers too, mysteries seem to have a strong association with the Christmas season. You imagine yourself warm at home snug as a bug with a fire going in the chimney as you settle down to read your favourite author while it is freezing cold outside. The warmth of the room and the beauty of the Christmas tree with all its decorations provide a peaceful backdrop as you read on. This is the mental picture I carry of reading in the Christmas season.

The ten excerpts ( plus the bonus three for the New Year) do what they are supposed to do. They encourage you to put down the books in which these excerpts appear in your library list. They also make a great Christmas gifting idea should you wish to share the joy of what you have read with family and friends who love reading.

Whether it is Ellery Queen writing of The Egyptian Cross Mystery or of  Loren D. Estleman writing of Detroit in relatively modern times, all the stories have one thing in common.  They urge you to get to the bottom of the mystery. Whether it is Professor Peter Shandy in “Rest You Merry” by Charlotte MacLeod or Dr.Simon Ellerbee in ” The Fourth Deadly Sin” by Lawrence Sanders, they leave you intrigued and asking for more.That’s what excerpts are supposed to do, right?

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