9 Holiday Mysteries For Readers Who Prefer Their Mistletoe With A Side Of Murder

by Sadie Trombetta

Do you cringe at the thought of Christmas carols, bristle at the idea of baking cookies, sour at the mere mention of Santa and his reindeer? Maybe this festive season isn't for you, or maybe you just haven't discovered the right thing to help get you in the holiday spirit. For some people, all it takes is a glass of eggnog and a few verses of All I Want for Christmas Is You to get in a merry mood, but for people who prefer their mistletoe with a side of murder, these holiday mysteries and thrillers are just the thing.

As many readers know, the holiday season comes complete with its very own reading list. At the top, there's Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express, and O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi — all perfect titles for people who like heartwarming holiday tales. But what about readers who get their jollies from stories about murder and mystery and mayhem? As it turns out, there is a book category made just for them.

Featuring secrets and Santa Claus, mistletoe and murder, these nine holiday mysteries and thrillers are the perfect way for crime readers to really embrace the spirit of the season.

'Hercule Poirot's Christmas' by Agatha Christie

In this Christmas mystery, Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot helps the Lee family find out which one of their relatives is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of their tyrannical (and incredibly wealthy) patriarch.

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'Silent Night' by Mary Higgins Clark

In what is one of my personal favorite holiday suspense novels, a little boy gets in way over his head after he decides to follow the thief who stole his mother's wallet and the lucky medal tucked inside. When a dangerous fugitive on the run gets his hands on the child, it will take a miracle to make sure everyone — including the boy and the criminal's family — makes it home safe and alive for Christmas.

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'The World Beneath' by Rebecca Cantrell

Due to his crippling agoraphobia, software multi-millionaire Joe Tesla never leaves the subterranean world of New York's underground. That is, until he discovers a mysterious train car carrying deadly cargo and Joe is forced to do whatever it takes to save his fellow New Yorkers from a bloody Christmas death.

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'The Twelve Clues of Christmas' by Rhys Bowen

In the sixth mystery in Rhys Bowen's bestselling Royal Spyness series, Lady Georgiana is excited to be hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. That is, until she arrives in the quaint village and discovers not one, not two, but three dead bodies. Are they accidents, is there a murderer on the loose, or is there is something even more wicked happening in this winter wonderland? It's up to Georgiana to find out — preferably before someone else turns up dead.

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'No Place Like Home' by Kerry Wilkinson

When Craig Macklin was a teenager, he said goodbye to his troubled past and left his home in the north of England in favor of a fresh start. It isn't until 13 years later that he returns to Manchester for the first time in search of his home and is family. But when a debt collector attacks his parents house, Craig realizes that there are some secrets from his past that he can never outrun.

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'Murder at the Old Vicarage' by Jill McGown

In this homage to Agatha Christie's classic mysteries, an isolated village is rattled by news of a violent crime at the local vicarage right before Christmas. It is up to Chief Inspector Lloyd and Sergeant Judy Hill to find out who their town's murderer is, before another life is claimed.

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'The Mistletoe Murder' by P.D. James

In this classic cozy Christmas collection, P.D. James gives readers the gift of fun and festive short crime stories. Featuring murder, mystery, and mayhem, it's the perfect book to read under the mistletoe.

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'The Darkest Day' by Håkan Nesser

The first in the five part Inspector Barbarotti series, The Darkest Days transports readers to the quiet Swedish town of Kymlinge just before Christmas. There to celebrate a big family birthday, the Hermanssons should be merry, but when two people go missing, it's Inspector Barborotti who is tasked with figuring out how and why.

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'The Usual Santas' by Various Authors

The Usual Santas is a crime fiction collection stuffed to the brim with murder, mystery, and just the right amount of holiday magic. Featuring eighteen holiday stories from your favorite Soho Crime authors, including Peter Lovesey, Helene Tursten, Sujata Massey, and more, this book will keep you entertained all season long.

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