Holiday Gift Ideas For the Crime Writer in Your Life…

GiftIdeasThe holiday season is fully upon us now, and at this time of year, people often get stressed out as they worry about what to get for the various people on their shopping lists. Well, I’m here to help make your load lighter by suggesting some things you might consider for the crime fiction writer in your life. After all, most of us behave ourselves (erm – reasonably well, anyway) all year long. So we deserve to get more than coal! 😉


So here are some….


Gift Ideas For the Mystery Novelist in Your Life


  • A trip to the scenes of some famous crime novels and series. Your special mystery novelist will love a tour of Donna Leon’s Venice, the Baker Street tour of London, or the Wolfe Pack’s tour of Rex Stout’s New York. And what better way to really understand Fred Vargas’ Adamsberg series than a trip to France, starting with Paris?


  • A Guided ‘Behind the Scenes’ Tour. Crime writers want to be accurate. So a chance to follow an FBI, RCMP, AFP or Met investigation would really be welcome. Oh, and any crime writer will tell you that a chance to listen in on ‘phone calls, hack computer accounts (especially of wealthy banking clients) or break into a suspect’s home might be both helpful and interesting. What? Illegal? Oh, all right! Moving on…


  • Lessons in the Use of Weapons. Most crime writers are gentle souls at heart, and aren’t really accustomed to using weapons. So learning how to use specially-designed knives and firearms, concoct poisons, create and set off bombs and so on could only help make your special mystery novelist’s next work better. Watch list, you say? Picky, picky!!!


  • A Brand New, Custom-Made Writing Room. Come on, mystery novelists. Wouldn’t you love to have someone in your life present you with your own private writing room? With a door that closes? And everything in the room designed to your specifications? You know you would! So folks, thrill the mystery novelist in your life with his or her specially-designed ‘writing haven.’ What’s in it for you? Your special crime writer will be out of your way so you can get on with your life while she or he disappears into a fog of fiction creation.


  • Maid/Valet Service. That special crime fiction writer in your life cannot possibly craft award-winning plots if she or he is also going to the dry cleaner, paying bills, cooking, shopping and so on. Right? So support the mystery novelist in your life by arranging for a concierge/valet/maid to do all of those things. Just – erm –  prepare the maid or valet for muttered comments about plots to kill, mysterious trips to the police station ‘for research’ and so on. No need to worry the staff unnecessarily is there?


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek. There, much better. Now, in all seriousness, here are some things you can do and give that will really be appreciated by the crime writer in your life:



  • A Gift Card From an Office Supply Store. Yes, those places are irresistible to us writers. They really are. Many of us have already gotten letters from our banks forbidding us to go into them any more. That doesn’t stop us. So be an enabler; think ‘gift card.’


  • A Gift Card From a Coffee Shop.  There’s nothing like an occasional trip to a coffee shop (preferably with WiFi) to get a writer’s creative juices flowing. And there are all sorts of opportunities there to ‘people watch,’ write, plan and oh, yeah, partake of the lifeblood of most of us: coffee or tea. So make your special writer smile: give her or him a coffee shop gift card. When your special writer becomes internationally famous, a plaque with your name on it may be placed in that shop as a reward. You never know.


  • Snacks. Yes, I mean it. Writing makes you hungry. And it’s always nice to have a little treat to give you writing energy. So find out what the crime writer on your list likes best for a treat (like, um, chocolate-covered almonds – whoops! Did I say that out loud? Sorry!). Then give that writer an energy boost. You may get a character named after you – it could happen.


  • Books.  That’s right. Books. The best writers also read. Voraciously. Writers learn from one another’s work. And there are lots of good books out there on the craft of writing. So find out who your special crime writer’s ‘top ten’ authors are. Get one of their releases. Find a good book on the craft of writing (Need ideas? Email me: (margotkinberg(at)gmail(dot)com). Trust me. The crime writer on your list will appreciate it!


  • A Year’s Membership in a Professional Writing Organisation. Just about all of the crime writers I know are on budgets. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know the value of joining professional groups. There are dozens and dozens of choices of group. So find out which group the crime writer in your life belongs to or would like to join. Give a year’s membership. You may be allowed past the velvet rope when your special crime writer wins an international prize.


But of all of these things, the one thing that mystery novelists want more than anything else is……


  • Your Support. How do you do that in a practical way? Here are a few ideas, and most of ‘em don’t cost much, if anything. Spread the word about the author on your list. Tell your friends. Ask your local library or bookstore to carry that person’s books. Use your social network presence if you have one to ‘talk up’ the writer in your life. Most of us do not like to ‘toot our own horns,’ but these days, promotion is a big part of getting one’s name ‘out there.’ So help out. You can also write online reviews of your special crime writer’s books. I can guarantee that your support will be very much appreciated. It doesn’t take much time, but it can make all the difference.


So there you have it. A few tongue-in-cheek and several not-at-all-tongue-in-cheek ideas. See? Don’t you feel less stressed already?  You’re welcome  😉  Hey, fellow writers: anything you’ll like to add????


Filed under Arthur Conan Doyle, Donna Leon, Fred Vargas, Rex Stout

16 responses to “Holiday Gift Ideas For the Crime Writer in Your Life…

  1. A bit more time would also be a wonderful gift.
    I really liked the tongue-in-cheek ideas though!

  2. I don’t know about that special writing room, Margot. Trouble is that, for a mystery writer, the room would have to be locked and bolted on the inside…and the writer, presumably, would be found stabbed to death in the middle of the room, everything bolted and no weapon or killer in sight. I’m not sure I want to go that way…

    But I do endorse, heartily, your last item. Every writer needs support, whether writing his/her first story or thousandth. Support, spreading the word about writers you like, can be worth more than gold.

    Have a wonderful Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice, all!

    • Les – I think you have a point there about the locked room. Hmmm….perhaps there should be a proviso or something that the author is protected from that kind of mayhem. Oh, and no gifts from anyone who’s read Stephen King’s Misery
      You’re so right about support, too. It usually takes very little time to help spread the word. A tweet, a Facebook update, a page ‘like,’ etc. can all really help the author.

  3. Very funny! I enjoyed your ideas. I don’t want a maid/valet etc – I just want a clean house. Without any effort. Don’t think I’m going to get that….

    • Moira – Thank you 🙂 – And I know just exactly what you mean! It would be so nice to magically have the place cleaned, wouldn’t it? Not going to happen though *sigh*…

  4. This is a great list, Margot, but I would have put the maid/valet service down there with the serious guests. What sweeter gift from a spouse or other loved one than an offer to run errands/do shopping for a month…or clean the house from top to bottom? 😀

  5. Life Size Bronze Statute: I am sure you would love a statute of Joel Williams leaning on the wall outside your campus office like the statute of Varg Veum of Gunnar Staalesen outside the Nordic Strand Hotel in Bergen, Norway.

    Pen: For those moments when you weary of the keyboard and computer monitor how about a nice easy writing pen with which to write down some of the brilliant thoughts that come when all of the electronic devices are turned off and silence descends upon the room.

    Honesty: Readers who share their candid thoughts on your writing.

    • Bill – THose are all terrific gift ideas. You know, I think a bronze statue of Joel Williams would look perfect right by my office building….Oh, sorry – I drifted off there for a moment. 😉
      And I like your idea of an honest-to-goodness pen, too. They do come in handy and they are awfully portable. Never need to be charged, either, except by imagination.
      And you are exactly right about honesty. Of course praise is great. But readers who will tell you – really – what they think? Priceless.

  6. I’d also recommend a year’s subscription to a writer’s magazine. It’s not something you always spend on yourself.

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