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Looking for some chills and thrills this holiday season? Check out these holiday mystery titles.
Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen
It's Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing "Away in a Manger." Bridie is touched by the girl's ragged clothes and wants to help her out if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl's older brother. They've come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they're living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly. Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and clearly used to better things. So who are they? And what's happened to their mother? As Molly looks for a way to help the children and for the answers to these questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society. (catalog summary)
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page
The Fairchild family is spending the Christmas holidays on idyllic Sanpere Island in Maine while the Reverend Thomas Fairchild recuperates from surgery. His wife, Faith, is rejoicing in the rare, holiday family-time together—but Faith's high spirits are dampened when she discovers the body of a young woman on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas morning, she learns of an abandoned, newborn baby boy who was left in a nearby dairy barn along with a note and $50,000 cash! (catalog summary)
Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop: 'tis the Season to Be Deadly : Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem From 17 Masters of Suspense
Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present. Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume—Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying. This charming one-of-a-kind collection is a perfect Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and tastes.Contributors include: Mary Higgins Clark, Ed McBain, Anne Perry, S. J. Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Donald E. Westlake and more. (catalog summary)
On Christmas Eve, a young girl dreams her beloved toy comes to life. He becomes her Nutcracker Prince and dances his Clara through the land of sweets and defeats the wicked Mouse King. Perhaps you've seen the ballet-- it's so popular that many ballet schools make it their featured holiday production year after year. The music is amazing—from the wild Russian dance to the slow and mysterious Arabian dance. It all flows together to create a magical night of exhilarating performances.
You can create your very own cards to shine, sparkle, and spin. A quick trip to a craft store can net you a few things that can help you turn out beautiful and amazing holiday cards.
If it's December, it's time for that familiar topic for reports: Christmas Customs Around the World. Fortunately, the library has a number of resources to help you.
First, of course, you need to find out something about the country you've been assigned to research. The World Book Encyclopedia or The World Almanac are good places to start. Here's where you can find out whether Christmas is even celebrated in your assigned country! The World Almanac (part of Student Edition) and other encyclopedias are also available online at no charge to CRRL card holders.
Oranges bring a warm sweetness to the dreariest winter day. They are full of good things: vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some oranges are used to make juice while others are eaten just as they are.
For many people, the day after Halloween is the official kick-off of the holiday season. Lights are out in front of the mall, the stores put their holiday wares front and center, cookie recipes are dusted off, and children pull out a fresh sheets of paper for their wish lists. The season heats up even more on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as people start stressing out over gift lists, school events, and merry-making to-do lists.
For many other people, however, the holiday season is one of a different kind of stress. There is worry about the colder months and the heating bill, about not having enough money for gifts, or getting through the season without a loved one. This season, instead of perusing the “Hot Toys of 2015” lists, why not set a personal or family goal to make it truly a season of giving, rather than receiving?
Popcorn was grown by Native Americans long before the Europeans came to the New World. The Aztecs used it, strung into garlands, in their religious ceremonies. Peruvians toasted and ate their popcorn, which was called pisancalla. During the 1830's, it was "discovered" by American farmers who, using a new kind of plow, planted acres and acres of it during the 1850s. By the turn of the 19th century, popcorn vendors could be found in every big city. They'd sell their wares by the bag or the ball and make a profit of about 70 cents on every dollar!
As every baby who's ever beaten a spoon against her high chair knows, there's nothing more fun than the rhythm of a pounding drum sound. Fast or slow, loud or soft, people around the world use the drum to build community spirit.
Like most families, we have our favorite holiday traditions. We decorate our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and, every year, my husband watches Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. When I was young, my father always read C. Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” to my brother and I. When my son was born, I couldn’t wait to uphold the tradition and searched for the just the right version that offered beautiful, detailed illustrations with a classic-looking Santa. I hope your family has a favorite holiday read aloud. If “The Night Before Christmas” isn’t for you here are a couple of other suggestions; of course there are many more possibilities to enjoy as well.
Bored? Nothing to do? Jump into a cozy picture book on a winter night. Troublesome trolls and a beauty's Beast! Helpful hedgehogs and polite polar bears! Whether you find yourself surrounded by swirling snowflakes or a chilly blue twilight, there are no better companions for winter's frozen brightness than Jan Brett's tales from the European tradition.
Jan Brett knows all about the magical relationship between a book and a reader. "I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books," she once recalled. "Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists."