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Only twenty-four days to go before the big day arrives. I am sure that like me, there is nothing better than buying someone a book for Christmas. It is a bit of a double edged sword for me, and I am sure for any book lover, to be in a book shop buying Christmas presents as invariably I do come out with some presents, but I also manage to still tuck a few cheeky purchases for myself in the shopping basket! I donít believe anybody who claims they have not bought a book for themselves to read over the Christmas holidays!
Now, we at proudly deliver a few goodies for you to feast your eyes on. I am sure that with this quality selection of crime fiction, there will be something to buy a loved oneÖ plus that cheeky purchase for yourself. Go on! You know you want to!

December Author of the Month is one of my favourite new authors, Nicola Upson with her seventh book in the Josephine Tey and Archie Penrose series, Nine Lessons. Nicola combines her love of that great city, Cambridge with its history which boasts the best horror writer of all time, M.R. James. If you havenít read Upsonís books, then donít fear, this is a perfect jumping off point. If you have read all the books, then you will know you are in for a treat for all the senses. Upson is a sublime writer and here she delivers pathos, a creepy Gothic atmosphere, a great crime thriller, but with emotion and an ending full of tragedy and poignancy. I couldnít think of a better book to serve us out of 2017. If you really love the reader in your family, then you will be doing them a huge favour by giving them this book. It will be in a few stockings for my family and friends this Christmas.

Keeping in with the Gothic vibe, my choice for Fresh Blood is The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. This debut is a wonderfully, spine-tingling ghost story full of history, deception, witchcraft and the creepiest spirits ever! Many love to curl up with a ghost story for the winter nights, and you canít beat this book. I had to keep putting this book down as it was seriously making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! This is a very impressive debut with plenty of chills.

Reviews we have a plenty! We have more Christmas thrillers from Julia Chapman, Ragnar Jůnasson, Gladys Mitchell, Cyril Hare and M.B. Shaw, plus a spooky ghost tale from the ever creative maestro, Michael J. Malone. More Christmas goodies will be going online over the next few weeks so you will have plenty of time to order any goodies you see on the pages of this monthís!

Classic Crime is the 50th book in the British Library Crime Classics series. To celebrate they have brought out Portrait of a Murderer by in hardback and paperback. I have been looking at this title for some years since Martin Edwards brought it to my attention, but it was always on the costly side for an old copy. Now the problem is solved by LB! This will be online in the next few days.

That lovely man, Christopher Fowler has written a wonderful piece on his new release, The Book of Forgotten Authors for our Events page.

The Penguin microsite features Alastair Gunn to celebrate the impending arrival of his new D.I. Antonia Hawkins novel arriving on the 16th November, Cold Christmas. In the small village of Cold Christmas there's a church that faces the wrong way. What has it to do with the three dead men found in a London flat? DCI Antonia Hawkins has a killer to catch. Only she can't predict what is waiting for her at the end of the chase.
This will certainly be a crime thriller that many will love to find in their Christmas stocking!

Penguin Microsite

A new Christmas Top Ten for 2017 will go up soon. For some years it appeared that any crime thriller alluding to Christmas was out of fashion. Now it is marvellous to once again see with the huge tide and appetite for Golden Age re-issues, that Christmas anthologies and novels are once more on the menu. It does mean that with all the wonderful spread of Christmas goodies, it does make my job that little bit harder to whittle down to the best ten on the market. I promise you, I will give it my best shot to bring you the best you can give to any crime fiction lover!

To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you canít recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed a huge amount of books during's twelve years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!


If you have any comments or have a particular author you would like to see highlighted on this website please e-mail me at

Chris Simmons
Online Editor.