There is something about winter which seems to turns folks’ minds to blood, murder and mayhem. Which is nice. So long as we are just talking about fictional blood, murder and mayhem, of course…The combination of dark nights, wild weather and time spent with the further reaches of your friends and family group with no hope of escape makes crime fiction seem like the best possible option. Luckily the world of publishing knows this and breaks out the good stuff for the autumn schedules. At the moment we have new books by Lee Child, Martina Cole, Michael Connelly and Belinda Bauer covering all sorts of modern day killers and their victims but I decided to go for something a little bit more classic.
Crimson Snow is a collection of short stories in the British Library Crime Classics series. The stories were written between 1906 and 1992 – which goes to show that a good, seasonal crime story is a pretty timeless thing – and, although most are pure detective stories, some have an air of ghost stories giving an eeirie cast to the book. Some of the authors are well-known (Margery Allingham, Julian Symons) and others less so. The lesser known authors, however, look to be worth looking into – some are very good and rather prolific. My personal favourite is the last story in the book, The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell, which is nicely twisty and rather twistedly nasty.