My week off is going well, I've almost caught up with all the Backlisted podcasts, finished a boot topper, read a couple of books, been shooting, watched The Favourite (it's very good) and other things along the same lines. I could have been more productive (I suppose there's still time for that) but being quite lazy is a luxury I'm savouring.
Even so, it seems high time to finish up writing about the books I was reading before Christmas and get onto the ones I've read since. As with 'Spirits of the Season' I had this book well before because I'd been sent review copies, but if I hadn't they're what I'd have asked for as presents. They're the sort of book I like to be given, not least because for me the Christmas season starts on Christmas Eve and runs through to 12th night, and that's when I want to read books like this. Even more so this year when we're only really starting to get cold weather now.
Anyway, whenever you read this, it's got some treats in it. For a long time Edwards started these collections with a Conan Doyle story, this time he's gone for Baroness Orczy (she really is having a moment) which features Lady Molly. It's both fun, and interesting to read, if not the greatest bit of detective fiction ever written.
Carter Dickson's 'Blind Man's Hood' crosses over into ghost story territory and is delightfully atmospheric as well as providing a shiver. Selwyn Jepson's 'By The Sword' has something a little weird about it to, as well as a really nasty villain. Cyril Hare's 'Sister Bessie or Your Old Leech' carries on that darkness.
What I've really come to appreciate about Martin Edwards Christmas/winter selections especially is how he mixes more or less cosy crime (which is not a term I particularly like, but I don't have a better one) with something that serves as a reminder that murder is more than a puzzle to be solved. If I was describing this book in wine terms I'd say it had an excellent balancing acidity.