It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the cozy offices of Dean Street Press; the halls are decked, the gifts are wrapped, our epic vintage holiday music playlist has us humming along to Bing Crosby, and each day concludes with a warming cup of mulled wine that our company director expertly brews in our little office kitchen.
I am so overwhelmed with the holiday spirit that I’d much rather not be working, but instead, snuggling down with one of Dean Street Press’s Golden Age Christmas Mysteries.
Molly Thyme’s The Crime at The Noah’s Ark (1931) couldn’t be any more Christmassy, with its glamorous cast marooned by bad weather at the Noah’s Ark inn, each forced to spend the holidays suspecting each other of murder. The same year saw the publication of Christopher Bush’s ingenious mystery, Dancing Death, with the characters again holed up in the snow, this time in a rather grand English manor to which they have been summoned to a costume ball on New Year’s Eve. Both of these titles are available through Amazon as paperbacks and e-books, and both have introductions by noted crime historian Curtis Evans. I’ll be gifting these titles to the Golden Age Mystery fans on my Christmas list, along with a little, muslin bag of the Dean Street Press mulled wine spice blend.
Although Dean Street Press is best known for its Golden Age Crime Fiction, Furrowed Middlebrow publications, and Golden Age Hollywood biographies, we have one or two interesting outliers (published for no other reason than a personal affection), one of which is The Festival of Christmas by Laurence Whistler. Written in the late 1940s, Mr. Whistler set out to document the origins and history of the holiday’s traditions, many still with us, some lost to time (but certainly worth reviving). Clearly a lover of Christmas, Mr. Whistler’s prose is as warm as the season itself, all of it enhanced with beautiful illustrations by Robin Jaques and Joan Hassall.
The worst thing about Christmas is when it all ends, but we can all enjoy a little holiday spirit in March, 2019, when Dean Street Press will publish the wonderful Classic Crime novels of E.& M.A. Radford, one of which is the delightfully atmospheric, Who Killed Dick Whittington? Written in the 1940s, the murder is set in the theatrical world of Christmas pantomimes, the actress playing The Principal Boy meeting her end on stage and in full view of the audience. Whodunnit? I don’t know yet, as I am only half way through proofing it before it goes to press, and am considering myself particularly fortunate that a Christmas mystery has landed on my desk at the start of this holiday season.
Oh; so I do get to snuggle down with a Dean Street Press Golden Age Christmas Mysteries after all.
Now where’s that mulled wine…
Amanda Hallay Heath
Director of Marketing and Publicity
Dean Street Press