Twelve new stories, twelve great writers, one Agatha Christie. This is another book that did well last Christmas in hardback and is now doing quite well in paperback for this autumn. I managed the rare self-restraint of waiting for the paperback to come out, then entirely predictably did nothing about reading it until this week.
Now I am reading it I really like it. I'm not exactly scaling back on present buying this year, but there's not much that many of my friends want or need that they haven't already got. I'm opting for things like well chosen (I hope) paperbacks and good quality coffee, biscuits, and other small indulgences (if anyone wants to give me a Terry's chocolate orange I'm very fond of them).
Marple strikes me as an excellent small gift too. I'm more of a fan of Agatha Christie on the screen than in book form - she's amazing at plots, but not, in my opinion - though I'm not going to fight anyone on this, so good at character, but she's the Queen and I do enjoy her. I don't generally love other people taking on an author's characters but the detection club did it back in the day, and Christie's characters have long taken on their own lives.
The 12 writers here are interesting, and not necessarily obvious choices either which really helps - they come from across genres so although there are a few crime writers on the list there are also names that I associate with science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. And then I've really enjoyed the stories I've read so far - so this should be a winner for crime lovers, curiosity lovers, and fans of classic crime.
I also recommend looking up the Detection Club titles, Ask A Policeman is particularly fun in that the writers involved swap their detectives and write some splendid pastiches of each other's work.