Christmas modern crime fiction

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ve been publishing a list every morning since Tuesday on the blog this week.

Today our last list is Christmas modern crime fiction –

Merry Christmas Alex Cross

When Detective Alex Cross gets a phone call on the night before Christmas, he knows he won’t be good news. Henry Fowler has kidnapped his ex-wife and his children. He is high, armed and dangerously unstable. Meanwhile, a major terrorist attack is unfolding. Will Alex save the day…?

Murder in the Dark

Set in Australia in the 1920s our heroine Phryne Fisher, wealth aristocrat and private detective, is invited to the Last Best Party of 1928. When three party guest go missing, Phyrne must follow the scavenger hunt clues to find them. Part of the Phryne Fisher series.

The Other Mrs Walker

A detective story without a detective. When Mrs Walker passes away in a frosty, Edinburgh flat, she leaves only an emerald dress, six orange pips and a Brazil nut engraved with the ten commandments. Meanwhile, Margaret finds herself back in Edinburgh on a whim and working for the Office for Lost People. Given the task of finding out who Mrs Walker was, the unusual collection of objects leads her into the past of Mrs Walker and ultimately into her own story.

A Maigret Christmas

Nine of Simeon’s best Christmas tales set in Paris that see Inspector Maigret on cat and mouse chases all over the city, including following the trail of a mysterious intruder dressed in red and white. We see his paternal heart, as he is helped on many of the cases by some bright children.

How the Light Gets In

When Chief Inspector Gamache is sent to Three Pines to investigate the disappearance of a colleague’s friend, he discovers that the missing person is one of the most famous in the world. With no one he can trust, can he find a safe place for himself and his trusted colleagues?

Dying for Christmas

A chilling twist on the twelve days of Christmas when an obsessed stalker takes the object of his obsession hostage, he tries to win her over with a bizarre “gift” on each of the twelve days. Terrified that the final gift will be her death, Jessica has her own secret. Will it be enough to save her life?

We really hope you enjoyed these lists and have been inspired to try a festive read. Our libraries are open as usual up until Christmas Eve, more info here

Staff at Brompton Library

PS here are our previous lists: Christmas reads for younger childrenChristmas reads for older children and Christmas classic crime fiction


Christmas classic crime fiction 

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ve been publishing a list every morning since Tuesday on the blog this week.

Today it’s Christmas classic crime fiction –

It’s the perfect time to come in from the cold, turn off the TV and curl up with a crime novel. Fractured family gatherings, suspicions and intrigue in remote country houses, Christmas provides the perfect backdrop to a case of murder. Here is a selection of some of the best in festive crime fiction.

Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon

‘The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.’

When heavy snow brings a train to a halt near a small village some of the passengers find shelter in a country house. The fire has been lit and the table laid but no one is home. As they unravel the secrets of the house, a murder strikes. A chilling Christmas classic.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

When multi-millionaire Simeon Lee unexpectedly invites his estranged family for Christmas, suspicions are raised. As Simeon plays with his guests’ emotions, the festive games turn deadly as he is found brutally murdered. Everyone has a motive but only one man can find out whodunit. An especially bloody Agatha Christie Christmas classic.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Christmas Eve in a country house and the party is in full swing. As the clock strikes midnight the revellers find there’s more than just presents under the tree. Luckily one of the guests is amateur sleuth Mordecai Tremaine! Find out who killed Father Christmas in this long-forgotten classic first written in 1949.

Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries Edited by Martin Edwards

A collection of crime fiction from some of the best writers of the genre. A mixture of much-loved classics and more obscure tales, bringing together some of the finest crime fiction of the past.

The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay

A cocktail of all the right ingredients to make the perfect country house murder-mystery. The Melbury family patriarch is found shot in the head by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus. His family all have a motive but not Santa Klaus, the only guest with many chances to pull the trigger! Get immersed in the action right beside Constable of Haulmshire as each character tells you their statement.

Crimson Snow

A collection of crime stories set in Winter, often at Christmas. With mysterious tracks in the snow, some unpleasant carol singers and a very odd Santa Claus. A perfect collection of stories, each introduced by crime expert Martin Edwards.

The Mistletoe Murder

A collection of four of the best of P. D. James Christmas short stories, originally commissioned for magazines. Each of them tantalising puzzles to be solved, she keeps you guessing to the end with her atmospheric story telling.

The Thin Man

Set in December in 1930’s New York when prohibition is coming to an end. Can the rich and glamorous Nick and Nora Charles solve a murder case in between Martinis and fast-talking wise cracks?

Murder at the Vicarage : A Christmas Mystery

As the snow deepens around the village of Byford and its residents are settling down for Christmas, the vicar’s son-in-law is murdered. With a difficult personal relationship and a group of suspects all trying to sabotage the investigation, Jill McGowan pays homage to Agatha Christie in this classic with a rather uncosy twist.

See you tomorrow for our final list!

Staff at Brompton Library

PS here are our previous lists: Christmas reads for younger children and Christmas reads for older children

Christmas reads for older children

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ll be publishing each list every morning on the blog for the rest of this week.

Today it’s Christmas reads for older children – a collection of classic tales and modern takes on Christmas themes for older children.

The Haunting of Charity Delafield

An old-fashioned tale of a girl brought up with no mother and a strict father in a vast remote house. Unable to leave the house due to an unnamed illness, Charity knows little of the outside world, or even about her own family and has just her cat and a nurse to keep her company. She is haunted by a recurring dream about a secret corridor hidden in the house. When one day she finds the corridor, it leads her on a journey of discovery about her mysterious past.

The Christmas Mystery

When a boy buys an advent calendar, he finds that each door of the calendar tells the story of a little girl who chased after a lamb and ended-up travelling back in time to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. As he opens more doors he also finds out more about the man who made the calendar and Elizabeth Hansen a girl who disappeared many years earlier. Stories within stories in this magical Christmas mystery.

Letters from Father Christmas

Every year on Christmas Eve in the Tolkein house, a letter would arrive from Father Christmas. Tolkein wrote these for his children. The letters include stories and sketches and tales of an accident prone polar bear. Delightful for all ages.

The Fox at the Manger (we currently don’t have a copy in our catalogue but staff have requested it)

Christmas Eve and the bells of St Paul’s are ringing for the first time since the end of the war. Three boys make fun of the service until the hear the story of Christmas told by a fox and their innocence is restored. Written by Mary Poppins author L.P. Travers and recently reissued, The Fox at the Manger reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

A Boy Called Christmas

Born on Christmas day, Nikolas is given the nickname Christmas. When his woodcutter father is given the chance to work in the land of elves, Nikolas is left with his child-hating Aunt Carlotta but after a few months, he can stand it now more and leaves to find his father. The story of Father Christmas came to be, a magical and fun modern classic.

The Little House in the Big Woods

Part of the Little House on the prairie series, its wintertime and the Ingalls family live among the wild animals. The story tells how they live together in harmony and sometimes in fear of danger.

Mistletoe and Murder

When Daisy and Hazel go to snowy Cambridge for the Christmas holidays Hazel is expecting dreamy spires and cosy fires. Two days before Christmas there is a terrible accident. Or was it an accident. Daisy and Hazel must do everything they can to solve the mystery before Christmas.

The Dark is Rising

Its midwinter’s Eve and Will can sense that something is not right. When he wakes up and finds himself in a snow-ravaged wintery land, he realises he must find six circles of light by twelfth night to stop the world being taken over by dark forces.

The Christmasaurus

From inside the flap:

“Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, pop a crumpet in the toaster and get ready to meet…a most unusual dinosaur.”

William never thought he’s find a dinosaur at the north pole, but he does! The magical home of Santa Claus brought to life as you’ve never seen it before.

Paddington and the Christmas Surprise

When Paddington visits Santa’s grotto he causes quite a stir when he gets lost in a grand London department store, but will he get to meet Santa?  A fun tale from our best loved bear.

Michael Morpurgo’s Christmas Stories

A tale on a farm, a fairy tale, Christmas in World War I and the Nativity story.  Four beautifully illustrated tales from the children’s laureate.

Reindeer Girl

On Christmas Eve on holiday in Norway, Lotta wakes up to find herself in her Grandmother’s story. She has her own reindeer and calf to look after. When the reindeer goes missing, will Lotta find her before the calf dies? And can she ever go back to ordinary life?

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of coming of age with the March sisters, as they prepare for Christmas without their father. Beautifully told with real and likeable characters. A very moving and timeless story.

See you tomorrow!

Staff at Brompton Library

PS – yesterday’s post was Christmas reads for younger children

Christmas reads for younger children

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ll be publishing each list every morning on the blog for the next four days.

Today it’s Christmas books for younger children –

Mr Men The Night Before Christmas

It’s the night before Christmas and everyone is ready – except Mr Wrong, oh and Mr Muddle and of course Little Miss Late, who only sent her letter to father Christmas that morning!  Will he get it in time?  Join the Mr Men and the Little Misses for some Christmas Eve fun.

I Love Christmas

Join Ollie and Fred on Christmas Eve as they tell us everything they love about Christmas.  Joyful and beautifully illustrated.

Ben and Holly’s Christmas Adventure

When Father visits the Little Kingdom on Christmas Eve everything is going well – the elves have made the presents, the fairies have made the crackers and the pine elves have grown the Christmas trees.  Uh oh!  Wise old Elf gets stuck in a tree, Queen Thistle is wrapped up inside a Christmas present and King Thistle is trapped inside a Christmas cracker!  Will they ever get out?  A fun and Christmassy tale from the creators of Peppa Pig.

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and the little Tooth Fairy has been blown away!  Not to worry.  Who does she meet but Santa in his sleigh!  A funny and magical fairy story told in a lovely rhyme with colourful and dynamic illustrations.

The Night Before Christmas

A Christmas classic, illustrated version of Clement Moore’s poem about Christmas Eve.  Nothing could be more festive.

All I Want for Christmas

Get ready for Christmas with mummy and baby penguin as they bake cookies, decorate the tree, make Christmas lists and wrap presents.  The true meaning of Christmas.

That’s Not My Santa

Part of the popular series, this touchy feely book is perfect for baby’s first Christmas with bright colours and lots of textures from Santa’s boots to his fluffy white beard.

The Nativity

The story of the Nativity in a bright and beautiful board book with great little details in the illustrations.  A lovely retelling of the first Christmas.

Duggee’s Christmas

Join Duggee and his friends decorating the Christmas tree and giving out presents, but where is Enid the cat…?

The Magic of Christmas

Join this family of mice as they get ready for Christmas, sitting by the fire, hanging decorations, making snowballs and playing in the snow. Celebrating the real magic of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol (retold by Lesley Sims)

With beautiful watery, wintery illustrations, this classic Charles Dickens tale is retold here bringing the story to life for younger children.

The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas

A cautionary tale about being greedy, The Dinosaur Pooped Christmas is a less in being careful what you wish for… Not for the squeamish!

See you tomorrow!

Staff at Brompton Library 

Christmas art and craft activities galore at Chelsea Library

Heavy snowfall in December led to scores of schools closing across the country, bringing Christmas holidays closer for some happy children. Snowy and icy conditions caused widespread travel disruption. Nevertheless, if you were lucky to be on Primrose Hill or in Hyde Park, while it was snowing, you probably had a wonderful time!

Our Christmas art and craft activities at Chelsea Library skilfully avoided snowy showers, plummeting temperatures and icy winds and offered a great fun to children and adults. We created Christmas decorations – baubles, wreaths, lolly stick decorations and paper-plate angels. In fact, we have two more sessions before Christmas – more info here.

Our guest from Belgrade, Ana Milovanovic, faced bigger problems than a few inches of snow and wasn’t able to be with us to run her  Azbuka Puppets’ Workshop.

So, we created another activity – ‘Let it snow’. Snowflakes in numerous designs, shapes and sizes and named in a variety of languages generated quite a joyful snowstorm for our display. In two hours we had representatives of English, French, German, Serbian, Macedonian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese speakers. When at 4.20pm a bunch of new people arrived, they could not understand why we all cheered when I discovered that they were from Malta! Snow – or borra – is not a frequent occurrence in Malta, but it made a fantastic contribution to our display!

Naturally, whoever comes to Chelsea Children’s Library, has been asked to give their own input and make their language-snowflake. So, it continues to snow at Chelsea Library!

Christian, Marion and Zvezdana, Chelsea Library

Christmas cooking

If you want some ideas for your Christmas menu, look no further – whether you are looking for traditional or modern ideas, here is a collection of recipe books to inspire you. All of these books can be borrowed from our libraries, no need to just choose one!

The Hairy Bikers’ 12 Days of Christmas

From Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night, the hairy bikers have thought of everything, from a traditional roast goose to telly snacks, to what to do with turkey leftovers. It even includes a section on edible gifts such as sloe gin and chutney.

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas cookbook

Jamie has also got everything covered.  From pates to roast meats, herb butters to chocolate log, but what Christmas recipe book wouldn’t be complete without a whole section on potatoes!  Not only that, Jamie includes a lot of delicious vegetable recipes including creamed spinach, four ways with Brussels sprouts and Clapshot, a delicious vegetable mash made with bitter marmalade and “loadsa chives”.  Something special for everyone.

Delia’s Happy Christmas

Delia’s recipes always provide a safe pair of hands, just what you need to get you through the Christmas period.  Not only does this book include 100 new recipes such as chestnut cupcakes, along with old favourites and traditional recipes, Delia has taken away the stress of planning with sample menu plans to make sure you are ready for the whole period.

Nigella Christmas : Food, Family, Friends

If its luxury and decadence you’re after, then look no further.  Nigella shares simple recipes for start with a cocktail, prepare simple dinners with friends, go to town on the main event, make soothing soups and light bites to restore yourself ready for the next feast and finish off with a hot drink.  There are even gift ideas as well as sweet Christmas baking and preserves.

Great British Bake Off Christmas

Enjoy Christmas bakes and savoury treats from the hosts and participants of the Bake Off.  Including Paul’s mince pies and Mary’s best Christmas pudding or try a passion fruit and pomegranate Pavlova layer cake.  Ideas for the whole Christmas period whether for entertaining or relaxed suppers with some Christmas present ideas thrown in too.


Brompton Library


Christmas overload already?

Escape the tinsel, mince pies and mulled wine madness with a good book- tell the family you’re off to wrap some presents, disappear into the spare room with a cup of tea (or g&t) for a couple of hours, and let them get on with Christmas  while you lose yourself in a bit of reading…

Yes, we have got the odd Christmas Romance


And some familiar faces


But if you want to get away from the whole yuletide thing, try something different


Or how about learning a few words of Japanese, Greek or Italian to wow everyone over the turkey?


We’ve got plenty of eBooks if that’s your thing!



Classics are always a comfort in times of stress


And if all else fails –

You can always go it alone

Merry Christmas everyone!


Christmas has arrived at Brompton Library!

Steph, Librarian at Brompton Library, writes: 

Brompton has now swung into full Christmas mode! We had our first Christmas craft session last Saturday and the youngsters decorated little card Christmas trees with glitter and all manner of sticky things. Their parents and carers were delighted!

Glue, sequins, paper...Christmas fun!
Glue, sequins, paper…Christmas fun!

Elisabeth has created an Advent Christmas tree and adds a new box to it every day for the children to decorate (I don’t know where she gets all her great ideas for the kids!)

Advent tree
Advent tree

For the grown-ups we have our terribly tasteful Christmas tree complete with presents (library stock) underneath for the taking plus our hand-picked display of Christmassy books, CDs and films.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!


Christmas music, books and more!
Christmas music, books and more!

For the rest of this month we have another Christmas craft session for children this Friday– please join us!

From Monday 15th December onwards the staff will be initiating the public who may be giving or receiving tablets and e-book readers into how to download our new, improved collection.

Kensington Central Library – December 2013

Kensington Central Library in winter
Kensington Central Library

Hello to you all from the staff at Kensington Central Library. We’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you’re planning on visiting us over the holidays please check our Christmas and New Year opening hours first.

We’ve had another busy month so read on to find out what’s been happening.

The Open University

Sandeep Dhaliwal, one of our Tri-Borough Reference Librarians blogged about The Open University coming to Kensington Central Library last week to deliver one of their Information Events.

Over to Sandeep to tell us more…..

The Open University Information Event on Monday 9 December at Kensington Central Reference Library

The Open University at Kensington Central Reference Library
The Open University at Kensington Central Reference Library

I am pleased to say that we had 43 visitors to this event with over two-thirds attendees from West London.

Two of the very helpful members of staff from The Open University
Two of the very helpful members of staff from The Open University

The diverse age range of the attendees highlighted that learning is a life-long exercise – people aged in their early 20s to the over 60s came along.

Receiving advice from The Open University
Receiving advice from The Open University

If you missed this event, there is another in the new year at Chelsea Library which will take place in March 2014.

For more information please visit The Open University’s website.

To see what other events we have check out our What’s On page on our website.

Sandeep Dhaliwal

Tri-borough Reference Librarian

New signage at Kensington Central Library

It’s been a long time coming but we finally have some new signage in the adult lending and children’s libraries. I really enjoyed working with the borough’s designer and the graphics company to ensure we got the signage we needed. It was fascinating learning about fonts, types of signs and even staying late to supervise the installation. We really hope our customers find the library easier to use.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

The staff have done an excellent job at decorating the library for this special time – hope you like our decorations!

We also had a very special visitor on Friday 20 December – Father Christmas made time in his busy schedule to attend our baby rhyme time. Kids and adults alike very pleased to see him and he felt like a celebrity with all the photos that were taken!

Father Christmas at Kensington Central Library!
Father Christmas at Kensington Central Library!

At our last story and craft session on Saturday 21 December – the children had great fun making Christmas wreaths using paper plates, green paper and red glitter.

So Happy Christmas from us all!

Jodie Green, Lending Librarian
Jodie Green

Jodie Green

Lending Librarian

Christmas wishes from Kensal Library – December 2013

Kensal Library is looking very festive: we have our tree and snowflakes up and some wonderful winter displays for our stock (which we have had to top up several times!). A Westminster resident who came into the library commented that Kensal was lovely, bright and fresh (thanks!).

Leanne Bellot, one of our Kensal CSA’s, has created a very cosy looking winter fireplace design to showcase some of our favourite festive reads. Thanks to Laryssa, one of our regulars, who helped Leanne with the display.

Christmas reads at Kensal
Christmas reads at Kensal

Last Friday saw our special Winter Baby Rhyme Time party: we read some Christmas stories, sang some classics like ‘When Santa got stuck up the chimney’ and ‘Christmas Pudding’ (accompanied by noisy rattles and bells!) and had a craft session making Santa beards.  All the children went home with a colouring book, a puzzle and a big smile.

Our last Crochet Diva session was on Monday 16 December. The ladies who come regularly to this event really enjoy the session and the company and have produced some lovely pieces of work.  For a couple of sessions they made jewellery and this proved to be very popular so watch this space for future sessions of jewellery making – perfect if you want to learn a new skill in 2014! The next Crochet Diva session will be on Monday 6 January at the usual time of 1.15 to 3.15pm.

Merry Christmas from Kensal Library
Merry Christmas from Kensal Library

All the staff at Kensal wish our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.