For some reason that I’ve never been able to explain — not that I’ve ever tried — there has been a long-standing connection between Christmas and the crime story, and not just in the short story format. Back when Mystery*File was still an in-print journal, I published a checklist of all of the crime, mystery and detective novels that took place on or around Christmas. It was long in its initial form, and it kept getting longer and longer as additional suggestions continued to pour in. Figuratively speaking, of course.

   I’ll be taking the day off from blogging tomorrow. I sincerely hope that you will have family and friends nearby, or at least within a phone call away. In the spirit of the season, with a dose of Alfred Hitchcockian humor thrown in — well, more than a dose, I’m afraid, but the cover is nicely done — I offer you the following. Mark Hess is the artist.

Charlotte MacLeod: Christmas Stalkings

MYSTERIOUS PRESS. Paperback reprint, December 1992. Hardcover edition, 1991.

      Stories, all apparently first appearances:

Charlotte MacLeod — Counterfeit Christmas    [Peter Shandy]

Reginald Hill — The Running of the Deer    [Joe Sixsmith]

Elizabeth Peters — Liz Peters, PI    [Liz Peters]

Medora Sale — Angels    [Inspector John Sanders]

John Malcolm — The Only True Unraveller

Dorothy Cannell — The January Sale Stowaway

Bill Crider — The Santa Claus Caper    [Carl Burns & Pecan City police chief “Boss” Napier]

Patricia Moyes — Family Christmas

Evelyn E. Smith — Miss Melville Rejoices    [Susan Melville]

Eric Wright
— Two in the Bush

Mickey Friedman — The Fabulous Nick

Robert Barnard
— A Political Necessity

Margaret Maron — Fruitcake, Mercy, and Black-Eyed Peas    [Deborah Knott]