It is that time of year where we are busy buying Christmas presents, some less manically than others. As a crime fiction lover myself I have found that buying gifts for people like me can be quite tricky. Why you ask? Well as crime fiction addicts the obvious answer for a gift would be a book. But which book? If you just tell people you’re in to Golden Age crime fiction or even just crime fiction, you end up with a load of Christie’s and Sherlock Holmes stories you already have. The alternative of course is that you give people a reasonably large list to choose books from which you don’t own and the size of list means there is still some surprise over what you’re going to get (this usually happens to me as I forget what is on the list!) However, I also realise that whilst this reduces stress for others, it can also be a bit restrictive. So what do you get a crime fiction lover if not books? Here are 5 (practically all non-book) ideas…
Idea Number 1: The Boxset
Perhaps not a wildly unconventional suggestion, but always a good one and in our technological age there are many treats for those who like crime fiction. Here are a few more from classical/ Golden Age tradition:
Idea Number 2: Orient Express Board Game
This is a game I love and have enjoyed playing for quite a few years now and someday I do plan to beat my sister and finally win for once… But back to the game, unsurprisingly this game is based around Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express (bet you didn’t see that coming). As you can see in the picture below you have to roll the dice and work your way around the rooms to collect clues, including even sending telegrams to solve the murder. But if I remember rightly every roll which ends in a 6 causes a train which is moved around a track on the outside of the board to move one space. What it lands on can affect the game but mostly importantly if it gets to the end of its track or arrives at the “station,” the game is over and the killer is not caught. This does wrack up the tension as you try to solve the case in time. More importantly this case can be played loads of time as there are lots of prewritten cases or versions, so the solution is always different.
Idea Number 3: 221B Baker Street Detective
There are a lot of murder or crime themed board games out there so I have limited myself to two in this list, but this is another classic game based on a well-loved and classic sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. This works along similar lines to the previous game in that you have to travel to collect clues but it does have unique and enjoyable features of its own and is perhaps easier to win at, if you’re me anyways… The manufacturer’s description says it all really:
In this detective game you start at 221B and travel through the streets and alleys of London picking up clues and attempting to solve the most intriguing cases Holmes and Watson have ever faced. Each player assumes the role of Holmes and matches wits with the other players to determine who possesses the most skilful powers of deduction… each case is represented by a card that features a crime told in story form, a selection of probable suspects and a list of locations involved in that crime.
Clues are hidden throughout London, one in each of fourteen locations. Players must collect clues from each location, noting them down on their checklists as they attempt to find the answers to the questions listed on the case card…The first player to figure out the correct answers to a particular mystery or crime, return to 221B and announce the solution, is the winner.
Idea Number 4: The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
Although this list is supposed to look beyond giving people books, this is definitely a book deserving of being an exception and is a must for every crime fiction lover revealing surprising and interesting details about the key writers of the Golden Age era, the books they wrote and the real crimes which inspired them. Click the picture below to see my review, though the internet is awash with favourable reviews so you don’t just have to take my word for it.
Idea Number 5: Murder! By Arnold Bennet
Pocket sized and folds out like a map, this is certainly a different reading experience and is actually not a bad short story either. I think this would make for an unusual gift and addition to any detective fiction’s book shelves and for those who are space conscious it won’t take up much space.
Do you have any other gift suggestions? Post a comment below and look out for part 2 of my ideas soon…