Our staff here at The Mysterious Bookshop are always on the prowl for a new must-read mystery. Dan, Sally, Ian and, of course, Otto Penzler, have selected the cream of the crop, the cherries on top, the best mysteries of December 2011. Check ‘em out.
Check out more of Otto's faves, as well as Dan, Ian and Sally's picks after the jump!
Block, Lawrence, Afterthoughts, Mysterious Bookshop. Block had often considered writing an autobiography but finally admitted to himself that he would never do it. Instead, he collected introductions that he had written for reissues of various books over the years, many containing very personal stories and anecdotes which, when gathered in one place, form a loosely structured autobiography. Signed copies available. This is the only hardcover edition. $35.00
Block, Lawrence, The Night and the Music, The Mysterious Bookshop. The first collection of all the Matthew Scudder stories, including one specifically written for this volume and the Edgar-winning “By Dawn’s Early Light,” which he later expanded into the novel that is often regarded as his masterpiece, When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes. Block’s friend Brian Koppelman, the well-known Hollywood producer (The Illusionist), screenwriter (Walking Tall, Ocean’s Thirteen, Runaway Jury) and director (Solitary Man) wrote the introduction. The only hardcover published is a deluxe edition of 100 numbered copies, signed by Block and Koppelman. $150.00
Connelly, Michael, The Drop, Little, Brown. I hate being predictable and recommending yet another book by Connelly, but what do you want me to do? Ignore the fact that this amazing author has done it again and produced another compelling, non-stop adventure? Few writers have ever been as consistently terrific as Connelly. Here, Bosch is looking at a career that has only three more years before he’s forced into retirement. His sense of morality and justice makes him hungry for a bigger workload and he gets his wish: two complex cases with roots in the distant past, one a political conspiracy and the other an investigation that raises the possibility that a serial killer has been preying on the innocent for three decades. Signed copies available. $27.99
Here are some of my favorites that also make great and unusual gift ideas for the holiday season!
Christie, Agatha, Star Over Bethlehem. Harper. This beautiful collection of Christmas writings by the Queen Crime makes a fabulous stocking stuffer. Many of these writings have been out-of-print for decades. There are lovely poems and Christmas stories with their original illustrations. A must for Christie fans. $12.99.
Coben, Harlan ed., Otto Penzler, series ed., The Best American Mystery Stories 2011. Mariner. The series is consistently the finest annual anthology of it's kind and this year is no exception. Includes stories by Lawrence Block, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman, Brendan DuBois, S. J. Rozan and more. There's something here for every reader. $14.95
du Maurier , Daphne, The Doll. Harper. This new collection of previously lost stories by the brilliant writer of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn is a fabulous gift idea. The stories were written early in her career but her classic themes are all here. These are tales of jealousy, obsession, suspense and the dark side of love. $14.99
Then we have the great Daniel Woodrell, so long the benchmark for quality rural noir. This year we’ve seen the reissue of The Bayou Trilogy in one volume (Mulholland, $16.99) and the release of Woodrell’s new collection of stories, The Outlaw Album (Mulholland, $24.99). Keep an eye out for some gorgeous reissues of his other novels in 2012, as well as a new novel if I’m not mistaken. Finally we come to two outstanding collections of short stories. Alan Heathcock’s Volt (Graywolf, $15.00) will certainly make my best of the year list. This is probably the standout volume of short stories for me this year. It’s hard to follow-through and have one great story after another, but Heathcock pulls it off. Coming in at a close second is Frank Bill’s Crimes in Southern Indiana (FSG, $15.00). Bill pulls no punches and his gritty, stripped-down language will knock you for a loop. I’m sad to say that the only signed copies we have are Pollock’s Devil All the Time and Woodrell’s The Outlaw Album, and not many at that, but take my word for it and read them all, signed or not. Or order them as gifts for those in your life who like to read about bad people doing bad things for all the wrong reasons (you know who they are). Happy Holidays!
So here's a list of what I want to find in my pillowcase on Christmas morning:
Afterthoughts by Lawrence Block
The Drop by Michael Connelly
V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
Soft Target by Stephen Hunter
The Corn Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates
A Killer's Essence by Dave Zeltserman
11/22/63 by Stephen King
All but the King are signed books. And I have not read them yet.
They are here at the store and I am suggesting that you follow my example and stow some of these gems in your pillowcase - or even those of your loved ones. It doesn't even have to be Christmas!
You can purchase all of our's staff's picks at mysteriousbookshop.com or stop on by our brick and mortar store at 58 Warren Street (between W. Broadway and Chruch) in Manhattan.