Christmas Mystery Short Stories

These short mystery stories are all set at or around Christmas.

“The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” by Agatha Christie

Mr. Jesmond is trying to convince Hercule Poirot to go to Kings Lacey for a genuine old-fashioned Christmas in the English countryside. Mr. Jesmond is accompanied by a young, miserable looking man. There’s an item that needs to be recovered requiring the utmost delicacy. The young man brought some of his family’s jewels to England for his upcoming wedding. His indiscretion led to the theft of a famous ruby. They can’t go to the police because they have no proof. They believe that among the Christmas guests at Kings Lacey, the solution to their problem will be found.

This story can be read in the preview of The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries(8% in)

“Gold, Frankincense and Murder” by Catherine Aird

Henry Tyler is going to spend Christmas with his sister’s family in rural Calleshire, leaving behind his ambassadorial work in London. Also attending will be other family and friends, including a doctor and his wife, and the owner of a pharmacy. At the request of the rector, there will also be two refugees, the Godieskys. Mr. Godiesky was a chemist at a university before he had to flee.

This story can be read in the preview of The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries(48% in)

“Boxing Unclever” by Robert Barnard

Sir Adrian Tremayne, a former stage actor, relates to the dinner table a story of Christmas reconciliation from ten years ago. He was visited by Angela, an actress, and Daniel, a critic, who had both wronged him. There were also other actors and people in the business invited. To defuse suspicion, Tremayne also invited some “outsiders”, those not in the business.

This story can be read in the preview of The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries(61% in)

“The Proof of the Pudding” by Peter Lovesey

Frank brings a big turkey home on Christmas morning. His wife, Wendy, pretends to believe his story about winning it in a raffle. Challenging him will only result in a beating. Frank has just returned from the war. His brother Ted was killed in action. Their son, Norman, is called downstairs. Frank presents his son with a gift, meaningful to him but underwhelming to the boy. Wendy’s present to Frank is met with anger, and he roughly pushes her against the cupboard. Wendy has to prepare dinner for their guests.

This story can be read in the preview of The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries(72% in)

“Death on Christmas Eve” by Stanley Ellin

The family lawyer goes to the Boerum house to visit Charlie, who’s wife, Jessie, has died. Charlie’s sister, Celia, answers the door. The authorities have cleared Celia in the death, but the lawyer makes it clear he knows she did it. There’s lots of tension in the house. Celia is planning on getting rid of Jessie’s things.

This story can be read in the preview of The Speciality of the House(82% into Kindle preview)

“The Ghost’s Touch” by Fergus Hume

Lascelles remembers the terrible Christmas he spent at Ringshaw Grange. He spent it there with the owner, Frank, who inherited the family estate, and Frank’s cousin, Percy, who inherited the family money. Percy assisted Frank financially to keep up the dignity of the family. The Grange included a room called the Blue Chamber, which was said to be haunted.

This story can be read in the preview of Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries(18% in)

“Away in a Manger” by Graham Brack

Slonsky, Navratil and Peiperova of the Prague police head out for a drink and patrol on Christmas Eve. Captain Lukas says he’ll meet up with them. They go to the Old Town Square, which is packed with people. There’s a nativity play starting.

This story can be read in the preview of Midwinter Mysteries: A Christmas Crime Anthology(10% in)

“O! Little Town of Bedlam” by Toni Brill

Russo and Midge are out walking in the cold at 4AM. They’re looking for Angie, a fifteen-year-old. It seems she found the new bike for her under the Christmas tree and took it outside. There’s shouting from up ahead and flashlight beams point to the canal. They rush to join the group. Angie’s face can be seen just below the surface of the water. Midge notices something.

Some of this story can be read in the preview of Mystery Midrash: An Anthology of Jewish Mystery and Detective Fiction(37% in)

“A Cozy for Christmas” by Charlotte Macleod

While her husband, Max, is away solving a mystery, Sarah visits family at the boarding house they run. Mrs. Gates, an elderly boarder, is finishing up the tea cozies she promised to make for the Holly fair at church. Sarah has the difficult job of finding appropriate presents for her in-laws, and thinks one of the cozies would be nice. Getting one turns out to be a bit complicated.

Some of this story can be read in the preview of Mistletoe Mysteries: Tales of Yuletide Murder(22% in)

“Counterfeit Christmas” by Charlotte MacLeod

It’s the Christmas season. The faculty dwellings at Balaclava Agricultural College are decorated and food is being sold on the grounds. Large crowds are gathering for the festivities. Professor Peter Shandy doesn’t enjoy the gaudiness. He gets a visit from Moira Haskins, the college comptroller. She shows him a twenty dollar bill, a fake, that was passed at one of the booths.

Some of this story can be read in Christmas Stalkings: Tales of Yuletide Murder(30% in)