As Christmas approaches, it’s not hard to find Sherlockian connections to the sacred season.
Just think: A Study in Scarlet, the inaugural Holmes story, debuted in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. What a Christmas gift that was to those first readers!
But the rest of us still have the joy of re-reading it any time we want, along with that “Christmas story without slush,” as Christopher Morley called “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”
Anthologies of Christmas mysteries abound, and “The Blue Carbuncle” is almost always included. (Exceptions in my library include Holmes for the Holidays and More Holmes for the Holidays, which are collections of Christmas-based Holmes pastiches.)
My other favorite Christmas mysteries are:
- "Christmas Party," by Rex Stout, a Nero Wolfe novella in which Archie claims he's getting married, prompting the reclusive sleuth to dress as Santa Claus to investigate this flummery.
- Murder for Christmas, by Agatha Christie, an excellent Hercule Poirot novel.
- "Maigret's Christmas," by Georges Simenon, in which the French inspector was never more human.
- "The Adventure the Dauphin's Doll," by Ellery Queen, which involves a child.
- "The Flying Stars," by G.K. Chesterton, in which the thief Flambeau finds redemption.
- "The Necklace of Pearls," by Dorothy L. Sayers, a neat little Christmas party theft story.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss, the greatest caper of all time. Not even Moriarty ever tried to steal Christmas!
What's your favorite Christmas mystery?