Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Forgotten Books, Winter Holidays in Fiction

*** denote holiday-themed selections  

***Christmas in Absaroka County

Rick Robinson suggested this when I said I was having trouble finding the right book for this topic. And I enjoyed it. A few gripes though-so many of the people I have grown to love from the TV series are not in here. It is basically Walt's stories with a bit of Cady. And he is somewhat different in temperament from the man I love on TV.

Here's a summary of the four stories. 

 "Ministerial Aid" takes place soon after the death of Martha Longmire and Sheriff Walt Longmire is in bad shape as he hand delivers a paycheck to his deputy. An abused woman mistakes him for Jesus.

"Slick Tongued Devil." Martha Longmire's death is reported anew years later by a careless newspaper employee and Walt is approached by a con man who sells bibles to the bereaved claiming the loved one had ordered it. Sad and beautifully told.

 "Toys For Tots." A grumpy Sheriff Waltmire befriends the young Navy chaplain manning a Toys For Tots box. Walt takes advantage of a situation to make the chaplain into a hero, restoring his self-esteem.

"Unbalanced" On his way to pick up his daughter Cady at the Billings airport, Sheriff Longmire stops offers a ride to a half-frozen young woman. Walt figures out she is on the run from a mental hospital and manages to wrest a gun away from her.

Each story in some way reflects on the spirit of Christmas. These are slight stories but well told.

I am not sure if the Walt Longmire in the novels is as different as this one is from the one on the series. I think hearing his interior voice makes him feel grumpier and more reflective than the Walt on the show. At the end of the four stories a long section from THE COLD DISH appears. I am not sure I want to read it because I like Longmire the way I find him played by Robert Walker.

Does this happen to you? Do you have trouble moving from book to TV or vice versa?

SNOWBERRIES, Megan Abbott (Christmas at the Mysterious Bookstore) 2010

Megan's story is the first one and you can read it on the Amazon site if you open the book. There are also seventeen other stories included by various crime fiction writers. This is in the style of the stories Megan wrote before producing more contemporary work. It is charming if I do say so.
Otto Penzler gives individual stories away to customers at Christmas. He has a new one each year. Or at least he did in 2010 and before. This collects the first 17.

Sergio Angelini, MURDER IN THE COLLECTIVE, Barbara Wilson
Yvette Banek, THE MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF, Martha Grimes
Les Blatt, ST. PETER'S FINGER, Gladys Mitchell
Brian Busby, THE KEYS OF MY PRISON, Frances Shelly Wees
Scott Cupp, MAGNUS, ROBOT FIGHTER, Russ Manning
Martin Edwards, THE JURY DISAGREE, by George Goodchild and C.E. Bechhofer Roberts,
Curt Evans, Quentin and Punshon
Ed Gorman, HOW LIKE AN ANGEL, Margaret Millar
Richard Horton, THE SPACE PIONEERS, Cary Rockwell
***Jerry House, MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, Valerntine Davis
Nick Jones, TOUCH, Elmore Leonard
***George Kelley, HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS, Agatha Christie
Margot Kinberg, THE CALLING, Inger Ash Wolf
***B.V. Lawson, RED CHRISTMAS, Patrick Ruell
Evan Lewis, THE SISTINE SECRETS, Blech and Doliner
Steve Lewis, MURDER AMONG THE OWLS, Bill Crider
Todd Mason Winter Holiday Edition: ALL THE LIES THAT ARE MY LIFE (and SHATTERDAY, the collection) by Harlan Ellison
***Matthew Paust, ST. ALBERT, THE GREAT, Kevin Vost
***James Reasoner, THE PUSHER, Ed McBain
***Richard Robinson,Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin by W.J. Burley 
Gerard Saylor, GHOST ROAD BLUES, Jonathan Mayberry
***TomCat, CRIME AT CHRISTMAS, C.B.H. Kitchin


Charles Gramlich said...

Maybe this year I will read a Christmas type book at Christmas. Don't do that very often

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Do I have trouble moving from books to TV or vice versa? Sometimes yes. Jackie used to read the Rizzoli & Isles series by Tess Gerritsen (until a certain plotline started creeping her out too much). But when they put it on TNT it had changed the characters out of all recognition (in her opinion) and she couldn't watch it.

I don't have a problem with the Longmire series in general, despite the changes, with one exception: in no way, shape, or form is Lou Diamond Phillips acceptable to me as Henry. He is the same age as Walt - both were Vietnam veterans - and is even bigger than the Sheriff. The idea of him being locked up in that ludicrous way and intimidated could never have happened.

Also, I like the character of Vic a lot in the books. On television, not so much.

But Taylor is so good the rest is acceptable.

Jeff M.

Mathew Paust said...

Somehow the "in fiction" hit my mental firewall when reading this week's suggested assignment. Sorry about that, altho arguably some of the metaphysical "facts" ascribed to the nonetheless phenomenally brilliant and scholarly Albert Magnus might belong to the preferred category. I shall stay out of any such arguments should they arise. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Todd Mason said...

A holly jolly over the river festival of lights kind of FFB entry, or merely another slightly subdued one:

FFB, Winter Holiday Edition: ALL THE LIES THAT ARE MY LIFE (and SHATTERDAY, the collection) by Harlan Ellison (1980 publications in various formats)

Thanks, Patti. I probably should throw in a citation for Ellison's "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R." if not Westlake's "Nackles"...

Richard R. said...

Patti, that's why I always want to read the book first, if I can. I trust the author's version more than a screenwriter's, and the author's, and my imagination, more than the casting director. I did see Midsomer Murders first, and it spoiled the book (I only tried one) for me.

Richard R. said...

I liked CHRISTMAS AT THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP so much that, after reading a library copy, I bought it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I agree. It was one of the stronger anthologies, not nearly as uneven as so many of them are.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I agree. It was one of the stronger anthologies, not nearly as uneven as so many of them are.

pattinase (abbott) said...

John Thaw's MORSE was one of the few where the media and the book matched evenly.

Todd Mason said...

Though it's becoming less so, the direct adaptation of novels or fiction to television has been pretty rare outside the miniseries format for most of US television's run, anyway...though it did occur to me how we're now seeing the likes of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE and CHILDHOOD'S END being offered as prestige projects by television sources that are still trying to establish themselves or improve their reputations. How many open-ended series have been based on fiction without a major cinematic release coming between them...even LASSIE doesn't pass that test...though MR. BELVEDERE does...

Certainly some adaptations, such as Stacy Keach's Mike Hammer, are more in keeping with the originals than others, such as Darren McGavin's Mike Hammer.

One of the worst examples not only saw some serious revision going from page to cinema, but further revision going from movies to tv, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.

Kent Morgan said...

I was looking for a book to write about, but couldn't find one. I recently did read Craig Johnson's book of 12 Longmire stories titled Wait For Signs and it could have qualified. In the acknowledgments, Johnson said he wrote the first story as a free holiday gift for the subscribers of his newsletter and learned that his readers expected a story each year. Several of the stories are set during the holiday season. I like the short stories better thanh the novels I have read.

Yvette said...

I've got one posted too, Patty. I've slipped back into the Friday Forgotten Book pattern. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Haven't read the novels, Kent, but I liked the writing in these stories a lot. Felt very natural.

Mathew Paust said...

Just now read Megan's story in CHRISTMAS AT THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP. Clever dialogue. Had me all the way to the reveal.