This time last year I was gazing out over an Arctic landscape. More than a foot of snow covered the ground around my office, and I sympathized more than usually with people who have to travel more than twenty yards to work. Quite how I ever got there myself remains a mystery; I had to dig my way past the garage.
This year has been cold, wet, windy, sometimes icy, but so far we’ve been spared the disruptive white stuff, which, try as I might and pretty though it can be, I can’t bring myself to like.
But it’s still the middle of December, and a scary eleven days to Christmas, so it’s time for my last-minute list for Santa. You can keep your diamonds and fancy clothes; all I want for Christmas is... books. And maybe some chocolate. But mainly books.
Lots of my favourite series authors have new titles out; the main issue is whether they’re out in paperback yet. And whaddya know – I just checked Amazon to see if the new J D Robb was in pb, and found Time of Death, an Eve Dallas short story volume I didn’t know existed! (Am I the only person who visits Amazon to check books out, then goes to a real bookshop to buy them? According to something I heard on the radio the other day, indie bookshops in two continents are falling like flies because most people do the opposite. Which is at best rude, and at worst destructive.)
After that brief digression I’ll continue. The new Julia Spencer-Fleming is yet to appear in pb, so that’s a treat for the future. So is the latest Zoë Sharp. But C J Sansom, Susan Hill and Elly Griffiths are on the list; and there are backlist titles missing from my shelves by Meg Gardiner (a recent discovery – her Jo Beckett series takes my breath away, and I still haven’t read the first one), Ann Cleeves and Lee Child.
Hey, isn’t this making Christmas lists thing fun! Who knows, some of the above may turn up under our tree a week next Sunday.
And no, I really don’t want a Kindle, or any of its close relations. I’m holding out for the real thing.
If you’re as behind with your gift buying as I am, and still looking for something a little different to give someone, I can strongly recommend three authors I ‘discovered’ not so long ago when my life was a different shape; I still have an editorial hand (or maybe just an interfering finger) in the work of two of them, and they’re getting better all the time. I speak, of course, of Maureen Carter, who I don’t edit, and Roz Southey and Chris Nickson, who I do. They all have new titles out this year, in the US as well as the UK, and they’re all going from strength to strength.
A brief PS, unrelated to crime fiction, or indeed to books in any way: a few months ago I indulged in a rant against construction companies who want to build cheap houses on beautiful green fields, and one company in particular which was threatening the village I live in. The little people of the village took up arms (not literally) with over a hundred and fifty letters of objection and over seventy valid points made to the local council’s town planning department. In this case the pen proved a more effective weapon than the sword, and guess what – we WON! The developers have slunk away with their tails between their legs, muttering over the shoulders as they went about submitting a new application; but for the time being they are well and truly trounced.
So Christmas, Yule, Hanukah, whatever you celebrate, will be a little brighter around here.
That’s it for now. Cards to write, presents to wrap, last-minute shopping list to compile.