More Christmas Reads!

A Postcard from Iceland by Ragnar Jonasson

My thoughts

A short story I read posted on a Twitter thread. A son writes to his mother. It’s dark, cold and just right for the season.

Author

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer, and is co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of seventeen, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Ragnar Jónasson website | @ragnarjo |Orenda Books

Part of the New Irish Writing series.

The Translator’s Funeral a new short story by Rónán Hession

My thoughts

After the death of an author and her partner the priest allocates the services to the same day. It’s a mistake he cannot rectify so the town must consider what should happen.

Not a Christmassy read as such but a charming one which is well worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.

Author: Rónán Hession is an Irish author, musician and social worker based in Dublin where he lives with his partner and two children. As Mumblin’ Deaf Ro, he has released three albums of songs, and his most recent album, Dictionary Crimes, was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for album of the year. Leonard and Hungry Paul is his first novel, and was shortlisted for an Irish Book of the Year award. His next novel Panenka is out in 2021.

Bluemoose Books | Rónán Hession on Twitter |

CHRISTMAS PUDDING by Nancy Mitford

‘Christmas Day was organized by Lady Bobbin with the thoroughness and attention to detail of a general leading his army into battle . . .’

Book blurb

The formidable fox-hunter Lady Bobbin is holding a Christmas house party. Attendees include her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, a pompous suitor, a couple of children poring over newspaper death notices, and a dejected writer whose first serious novel has been declared the funniest book of the year. Add to the mix beautiful ex-courtesan Amabelle Fortescue and her guests staying in a neighbouring cottage and you have a ribald tale of true love and false fidelity, hijinks and low morals, not to mention the consumption of a considerable quantity of Christmas spirit.

My thoughts

Something a little different, for me anyway, and an enjoyable, lighthearted, humorous read.

Author: Nancy Mitford (1904–73) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which, according to the author, is largely autobiographical. Apart from being taught to ride and speak French, Nancy Mitford always claimed she never received a proper education. She started writing before her marriage in 1932 in order ‘to relieve the boredom of the intervals between the recreations established by the social conventions of her world’ and had written four novels, including Wigs on the Green (1935), before the success of The Pursuit of Love. After the war she moved to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don’t Tell Alfred (1960). She also wrote four works of biography: Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great. As well as being a novelist and a biographer she also translated Madame de Lafayette’s classic novel La Princesse de Clèves into English, and edited Noblesse Oblige, a collection of essays concerned with the behaviour of the English aristocracy and the idea of ‘U’ and ‘non-U’. Nancy Mitford was awarded the CBE in 1972.

Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie

An all-new collection of winter-themed mysteries from the master of the genre, just in time for the festive period.

Book blurb

There’s a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter… It’s the perfect time to curl up in front of a crackling fireplace with this winter-themed collection from legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie. But beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests. This compendium of short stories, some featuring beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, is an essential omnibus for Christie fans and the perfect gift for mystery lovers.

INCLUDES THE STORIES:
The Chocolate Box
A Christmas Tragedy
The Coming of Mr Quin
The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest
The Clergyman’s Daughter
The Plymouth Express
Problem at Pollensa Bay
Sanctuary
The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
The World’s End
The Manhood of Edward Robinson
Christmas Adventure

My thoughts

It’s always a treat to read an Agatha Christie and here we have a lovely selection – some more Christmassy than others – to spend a wonderful few hours immersed in these stories.

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