cover image Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries

Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries

Edited by Martin Edwards. Poisoned Pen, $12.95 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0675-7

Edwards’s second winter-themed anthology (after 2015’s Silent Nights) in the British Library Crime Classics series is a standout. As in the most successful of such volumes, the editor’s expertise results in a selection of unusual suspects, expanding readers’ knowledge. The longest and best of the 11 selections is by Victor Gunn, whose “Death in December” features Bill “Ironsides” Cromwell, an endearingly irascible Scotland Yarder. Ironsides joins a young colleague on a family visit to Derbyshire, only to encounter multiple impossibilities, starting with a man who crosses their path without leaving footprints in the snow and continuing with the appearance, and disappearance, of a bloody corpse from a locked and supposedly haunted room. Fergus Hume, best known for the novel The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, offers a nice whodunit with supernatural trappings in “The Ghost’s Touch.” More familiar contributors include Margery Allingham and Julian Symons. Edwards even offers an entry with a challenge to the reader, “Mr. Cork’s Secret,” featuring Macdonald Hastings’s canny insurance investigator, which originally came with a cash prize for the most logical solution. (Jan.)