For me, a mystery isn’t just about the story. It’s also the time and the place in which you’ve experienced it. There are so many books that I’ve read where I simply can’t divorce where and when I read them from the actual plot. The Burning Court – a mountain lodge in Crested Butte, Colorado. The Plague Court Murders – a dingy “extended stay” motel in San Jose, California. Nine Times Nine – a sleepless night in Winchester, UK. The list goes on and on, even if it’s merely on the couch in my home on a foggy night.
There’s a nagging desire in my mind to mix the mood of my surrounding with the book I’m reading. Not from a desire to further experience the book, but to instead amplify the seasons that I enjoy in life. And if there’s any given time of year I look forward to, it’s the fall and the early winter. Last year I felt like I captured that season perfectly with John Dickson Carr’s Poison in Jest. I don’t know that I’d characterize that Pennsylvanian gothic tale as being particularly wintery, but reading it in late November sure hit the spot. As the season rolled around this year, I’ve been keeping my eye out for some appropriate reads. And so, in classic cheesy blog tradition, I present you with a Christmas murder mystery.