Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop
Edited by Otto Penzler
Vanguard, Oct 12 2010, $24.95
This compilation of seventeen short stories that were given out as pamphlets to the customers of the legendary store date back to 1993 with one a year since. The only two stipulations are it takes place at Christmas and the bookstore must be involved at least in one scene. The contributors are a who’s who of the mystery-suspense genre with most lampooning the classics including those written by the author as Donald E. Westlake did in 1993 with Dortmunder learning to “Give Till It Hurts” and Mary Higgins Clark in 2009 with Alvirah in” What’s In A Name?”. Lawrence Block satirizes Nero Wolfe in the amusing 1997 “As Dark as Christmas Gets" or the 1995 jocular self-deprecating "I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus" by Ed McBain (is that his ninth plum of an pseudonym?). With No clinkers, fans who appreciate a strong mostly tongue in cheek anthology in which part of the fun is discovering the insider jokes will want to stop in Manhattan’s Tribecca neighborhood (in person or from the armchair) to visit Otto Penzler’s Mystery Bookshop as this is an entertaining collection.