So much has been going on lately that I've not even blogged until now about my latest anthology in the British Library Crime Classics series. It's a seasonal compilation, The Christmas Card Crime and other stories, and it's my third anthology of this type, following Silent Nights and Crimson Snow. In all, I've edited eleven collections of short stories for the BL, and there's another to come in the first part of 2018, Deep Waters.
With this book, I wanted to concentrate on less familiar winter and Christmas stories. The three which I think dedicated crime fans are most likely to have encountered are those by Baroness Orczy, John Dickson Carr, and Cyril Hare, but there are some pretty rare tales, including the title story, written by Donald Stuart. Stuart was one of several pen-names written by the author best known as Gerald Verner, and whose real name was J.R.S. Pringle.
There's a relatively unfamiliar story by Ronald Knox, and also one by Francis Durbridge. John Bude and John Bingham, two very capable novelists who seldom wrote short stories, are also represented, while other contributors include E.C.R. Lorac and Julian Symons, both of whom are, like Bude, the authors of a number of novels in the Crime Classics series.
Apparently, this book shot into the independent bookseller bestseller lists, and last time I looked, it was also riding high in the Amazon crime anthology bestseller charts. Last week, the kindle version and the paperback featured at number one and number two respectively. Whatever one thinks of bestseller charts, that can't be bad.
So, here's hoping that this book will (along with Gallows Court, obviously....) help to solve your Christmas present buying dilemmas! And I'd also like to recommend another British Library title which is sure to be a highly popular stocking filler. This is Kate Jackson's The Pocket Detective, a compilation of puzzles for fans of the Crime Classics series. I'm working my way through it right now, and having a great deal of fun.