The Dorset Book Detective’s 2021 Christmas Gift Guide

A bit later than usual, here’s this year’s guide on what to buy the book lover in your life this festive season!

Given that the virus that shall not be named is still running rampant and, for many of us, particularly those of us in the UK, our leaders aren’t doing very much about it, Christmas will probably be a very strange affair this year.

One of the challenges the virus has caused is getting gifts for people that require little to no contact and reduce their chances of spreading the virus.

That’s why this year I’ve put together a list of some cool, book-themed Christmas presents that involve limited contact or can be sent directly to your loved ones.

I’ve also tried to find creative ideas, so you can choose something that’s a little bit different and will bring a smile to someone’s face. Goodness knows we need something to smile about right now.

A Book Subscription Box

Subscription boxes might make you think of beauty products and foreign candies, but there’s now a subscription box for almost everything. You can even get cleaning products in subscription boxes now! That’s not much fun though, so consider getting a book subscription box instead. You can get ones that send you specific types of books, or ones that give you fiction by specific writers, such as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. That’s a great way to learn new things and read books by a wider variety of authors. Treat someone you love to a book subscription box this Christmas and you’ll give them a gift that keeps on giving and can be sent directly to their home.

Kindle Unlimited

If someone you know and love owns a Kindle, then you could think about paying for a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. It’s a Kindle subscription that gives them unlimited access to all the eBooks available for eReaders, as well as podcasts, audiobooks and exclusive content that’s only available to subscribers. The subscription can be set-up and then they can use it on any Kindle or a smart device that uses the Kindle app. So, they can take an entire library with them everywhere they go. Make sure that the person you’re buying for likes reading digital books- for paper book lovers, this isn’t a great choice. Thankfully, there are plenty other options out there.

Candles That Smell Like Books

Candles are a great gift for anyone that likes making their home look, feel and smell cosy and comfortable. For the bookworm in your life, a candle that smells like books is the ideal choice. You can buy them online from a whole host of retailers, including online marketplaces like Etsy, so you can find a cute handmade option. They might not smell exactly like books, but many of them have a fresh, woody scent that evokes the memory of shopping in bookstores and unwrapping newly purchased books. Consider getting them a candle that smells like books in a glass jar, as these are often safer than

A Beautiful Book Journal

Recording your reading habits has become a popular hobby for many of us over recent years. While there are loads of apps out there to do it for you, but it can be fun to use a physical tool. If you’re looking for something a bit different, then you could consider a journal or wall hanging that actually offers suggestions for books to read in the future. However, if you want a classic gift, then you can find a stunning book journal. There are leather-bound options, ones with pretty patterns on them and more, so you can find one to suit the style of every book lover you know. Book journals are a stunning way to keep a record of every book they read, and by buying them a pretty one you can encourage them to make the most of it and feel proud to have it on their bookshelf.

A Hand Drawn Tattoo Design Based On A Beloved Book Series

If you know and love a bookworm who’s also passionate about body modification, then a drawing that can be used as the basis for a tattoo design, based on design from a book or fantasy series they love could be a perfect gift. It’s a personalised option that’s unique and from the heart. It’s also a great way to have some fun and unleash your creativity. Look at books in the series, and see if you can incorporate key motifs from the cover designs into your design. Your book loving friend or family member can then decide if they want to permanently ink your design on their skin, or simply frame it and display it in their home.

I’ll be taking a brief break over Christmas to relax and recuperate from the festive rush, but the Dorset Book Detective will be back and thriving in 2022. So have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m excited to share more updates in 2022 and hopefully things will get better next year.

Season’s Greetings From The Dorset Book Detective

Thank you very kindly for supporting The Dorset Book Detective blog throughout 2020. I’m taking some well-deserved time off, so I thought I’d post this message early to let you know how much I love and appreciate everyone who has supported me over the past 12 months.

I appreciate that this has been a dreadful year, but all of the support and help has really made a huge difference.

Personally, I’ve not always had the emotional or physical strength to be as supportive as I would have liked, but I have tried my very best to be kind.

It’s not been an easy year, but I’ve still had a lot of support from others, including regular readers, authors, book promoters, blog tour organisers and others.

Everyone has done an amazing job of helping me to create my content, so I’m externally grateful. My blog wouldn’t be possible without support and encouragement, so thank you so much.

To wrap up, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Awesome Crime Fiction Books To Give As Christmas Gifts

Following on from my Christmas Gift Guide for 2020, I’ve decided to put together a selection of amazing crime fiction, thriller and mystery novels that make for great presents.

While book-themed presents are awesome, if you must get your friends and family books, then you want to make sure that you choose a beautiful book that is enticing and will look amazing in their home.

After all, grabbing the latest off the bestseller list doesn’t require a lot of effort, and that shows. If you want to prove your love for the crime fiction reader in your life, then you need to find them an edition that they can cherish.

That’s why I’ve listed some awesome novels that will entice all thrill-seekers; whether they’re already major crime fiction fans or you want to introduce them to the genre.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection

As most of the Sherlock Holmes tales are out of copyright, it’s possible to pick up beautiful, illustrated versions for less than £20 at many online and physical bookstores. The books promise many hours of fun and are an amazing gift for fans of the Sherlock TV show or anyone who just loves Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s intuitive and ingenious sleuth. Many collections have all four of the full-length novels plus most of the short stories, so readers will be kept busy during the early months of 2021 with this collection.

A Folio Society Edition Of Their Favourite Mystery Novel

I’m a huge fan of the Folio Society’s gorgeous illustrated novels, so if you know a crime fiction fan who deserves a treat this Christmas, then why not treat them to a glorious edition of their favourite novel? I’d recommend the Folio Society’s stunning version of Agatha Christie’s classic The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, but there’s plenty to choose from, ranging from classics through to modern mystery masterpieces. There are also books from a variety of other genres and non-fiction works, so there’s something for everyone. Each piece is stunningly illustrated and beautifully bound to give it a prestigious and unique look that’s perfect for any sophisticated home. As a result, you’ll be able to select the perfect gift for the book lover in your life no matter what their tastes.

One (Or All) Of The Bodies From The Library Anthology

The Bodies From The Library anthology series has three versions, each featuring an overview of the Golden Age of Crime Fiction from expert and editor Tony Medawar, followed by a selection of incredible short stories and novellas from renowned writers from this pivotal period in crime fiction history. Many of the stories are either previously unpublished or haven’t been issued in a collection before, and have only appeared in obscure newspapers decades ago. As such, you’ll be able to give an amazing gift to someone in your life who loves cosy, Golden Age crime fiction stories. Each anthology has a selection of work from renowned writers of the time, such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers, as well as lesser-known writers from the period such as J. J. Connington, Freeman Wills Crofts, Georgette Heyer and many more. As such, readers get to find new favourite Golden Age crime writers as well as check out previously unknown work from the authors they already know and love.

I hope this guide helps you to find the perfect Christmas present for the crime fiction, mystery and thriller reader that you know and love. Stay safe this festive season and make it a merry one!

The Dorset Book Detective’s Christmas Gift Guide For 2020

If you’re shopping for presents for book lovers and avid readers, but don’t want to get them an impersonal gift certificate or add to their collection of books, then this is the gift guide for you.

Like my past guides, all of the gifts in this gift guide are unique products that can make their lives more fun. Rather than adding to their collection of books, you can get them cool products and experiences that they’ll love.

This year has been insane, so it’s understandable that Christmas will be a little bit different this year. Still everyone wants to make the people they love feel happy this festive season, which means finding not only great snacks for them to eat but also amazing gifts that they can treasure.

No one wants, or needs, more tat- the best gifts are the ones that they will use for many years to come. Finding those presents can be tough, which is why I put together an annual gift guide to help you find presents for the readers you know and love.

Without any further ado, here’s my guide to buying gifts for book lovers in 2020. Instead of a gift voucher or another book, try one of these slightly different options.

A Subscription Box For Their Favourite Series

If you know someone who loves a particular series, such as Harry Potter (despite J.K. Rowling’s flaws) or The Lord Of The Rings, then you can get a cool subscription box for them. They can receive mystery items of a specific value that allow them to show off their love of their favourite series of books. Find a box that gives them a selection of lovely treats and has good reviews, then order them either a one-off mystery box or an on-going subscription for a gift that keeps on giving.

Tickets To A Virtual Literary Event

Thanks to the pandemic, many authors and literary festival organisers have moved their events online. Some events are free to watch, but others require payment to get a ticket and attend. A ticket to a virtual event is easier to enjoy than a ticket to a physical experience, as your friend or family member won’t need to take time off, get a baby/ pet sitter or travel to the venue. Instead, they can use your ticket to enjoy an engaging talk from the comfort of their own home, so long as they have a good Internet connection. If you know their favourite author, then try and find a talk that they’re giving online and buy them a ticket, so they can enjoy an experience rather than a piece of junk that they don’t need and probably won’t use more than once.

A Freestanding Bookcase

If you know someone who loves books and is always buying more, but never seems to have anywhere to put them, then you could try buying them a cool freestanding bookcase. Some larger bookcases require assembly, which will give them a fun (or frustrating) activity for Boxing Day. Alternatively, you could get them a small freestanding bookcase that doesn’t need assembly. I personally have a little spinning bookshelf that’s about 2 foot high that I bought for a fiver from a charity shop and I love it. It’s the best piece of furniture I own, and I’d recommend getting one for anyone who loves books even half as much as I adore them. They’ll receive a physical present that they will actually use that makes them happy.

Handmade Book Ornament

Over recent years, a big trend in crafting has seen many creative turn old books into beautiful ornaments. Many people cut out the pages of books to create unique products that look quirky and can be personalised. Consider checking out Facebook marketplace or Etsy to find a small manufacture who can hand make a innovative book ornament that your friend and family member will enjoy. These stunning cutout books are a great way to reduce waste by not throwing out old books that no one wants to read anymore, but which are still good to be used to brighten up your friends’ homes.

I hope this gift guide gives you some inspiration. Good luck finding the perfect gift for the book lovers in your life!

Merry Christmas From The Dorset Book Detective


Merry Christmas! This is just a brief message to say that I hope you and your loved ones have an incredible festive season, and thanks for supporting my blog throughout 2019!

I’ve had a lovely time interviewing phenomenal authors and reviewing incredible books, and I hope 2020 brings me even more opportunities to increase my knowledge and grow as a reader and book reviewer.

Massive thanks again to everyone who’s done anything to help me during this past year and I hope you all have a great time reading and eating this Christmas!

There’s Etiquette To Gifting Books? Fuck That Off And Do What You Want


With Christmas approaching, many people are considering buying books for their loved ones to give them something new and exciting to read in the New Year.

As I’ve recently explained, gift cards are great for book lovers, but if you know what they want then you might be tempted to buy them an actual book. But wait! The Guardian thinks there’s etiquette to gifting people books.

Apparently you shouldn’t write an inscription, in case it gets given away or re-gifted (featuring an anecdote that’s about as true as a Tory election promise), and giving a book is as much about the giver as the receiver, as it’s a way to show how smart you are.

This is, to be frank, bollocks. You don’t have to buy people books to show that you’re a smart-arse, and you certainly are more than welcome to inscribe your book if you bloody well want to.

Christmas isn’t about you; it’s about doing well by others and spreading love, joy and laughter. It’s also about nice food, but that’s obvious.

It’s posh people nonsense to suggest that giving the gift of a book is some kind of test of the giver’s character. The book you give should be a reflection of the person you’re giving it to and the things they love the most in the world.

Overall, it’s impossible to know what’ll happen to a book you gift to someone else in the future, and giving a gift to make yourself seem smarter, rather than to please the reader, is egotistical and, frankly, bloody stupid. Get a grip and buy the book you want for whomsoever you want to this Christmas. Put some money into a charity box, then go stuff your face. The festive season is about spreading joy, supporting the unfortunate and munching food, after all.

My Top Five Crime Fiction Books To Gift To A Mystery Lover This Christmas


Buying books as a Christmas gift is always a challenge, so if you’re looking for something to treat the crime loving reader in your life, here’s my list of five of the books they’d love to find under the tree this festive season!

5. The Mystery Of Three Quarters: Sophie Hannah’s latest outing of her reimagined Poirot features the intrepid Belgium detective and his young friend Edward Catchpool working to uncover two mysteries: was the death of an elderly man an accident, and why was Poirot implicated in the accusation of an array of unlikely suspects? This is a tense tale that’s great for Christie fans, readers who enjoy Golden Age crime fiction or those who want something mysterious yet relaxing and fun to read over Christmas.

4.The Siberian Dilemma: Fans of Martin Cruz Smith and his revered Arkady Renko series will love this latest instalment, which sees the investigator embroiled in a personal mystery after his on/ off girlfriend disappears. When he gets the opportunity to interrogate a suspected assassin, Renko travels to Siberia to find his lover and get to the bottom of the criminal conspiracy she’d stumbled upon. This novel is fast-paced and enticing, making it great for readers who want thrills and chills this Winter.

3. Bodies From The Library 2: The second instalment of this incredible anthology series of stores and novellas from Golden Age stalwarts is a masterclass in how to create the perfect selection of tales for mystery lovers. It features famous names like Dorothy L Sayers, through to less well-known writers who nonetheless have a lot to offer. Readers who enjoy Golden Age books, or just a good classic mystery, will love this well thought out anthology.

bodies from the library 2

2. The Complete Collection Of Sherlock Holmes: Mystery fans who’ve only perused a few of Conan Doyle’s classic tales will adore a complete set, particularly if you get them one with all of the original drawings, or a newly illustrated one from a provider of luxury books, such as my personal favourite the Folio Society. The stories and novels that Conan Doyle created remain popular to this very day, and with good reason: each contains a cleverly constructed mystery and a solution that is both ingenious and deeply human. Make sure the person you’re buying for doesn’t already have a complete set before you buy them another one!

1.The Puppet Show: A copy of this year’s CWA Gold Dagger Award winning novel is a great gift for any crime fiction fan who hasn’t read it yet. Bloody and dark, M.W. Craven’s novel is not for the fainthearted. It features a deranged serial killer who’s burning victims alive in a set of stone circles in the picturesque Lake District. The police bring back a reluctant, disgraced detective whose past seems to be linked to these horrific crimes, and he embarks on a challenging investigation that will shake everything you think about humanity and human decency. Fans of rough, tough thrillers with lots of blood and gore will be ecstatic to find this book under their tree on Christmas morning. 

The Dorset Book Detective’s 2019 Christmas Gift Guide!


It’s back! For another year, here’s my annual Christmas Gift Guide, filled with amazing things you can give to the booklover in your life.

For Your Fancy Friend

From last year’s list is a selection of books from the Folio Society. These beautiful, decorative tomes are perfect for book collectors and those who enjoy the finer things in life.

There’s something for everyone, from crime fiction to classics, kid’s books to non-fiction, so you can find your friend’s favourite and give them a gift they can cherish forever.

For more information see:

For The Fussy Family Member

If you’re looking for a gift to give a friend that’ll last long after the Christmas food and fuss has all gone, then a book subscription could be the answer. They’ll get sent a book that’s handpicked just for them from their preferences.

There’s even the option to swap the books for no extra charge if the one they send isn’t just right. As such, your loved one will always have something great to read all through 2020.

For more information see:

For Someone Who Deserves A Little Treat

Sometimes it can be hard to find a stocking filler for your book loving friend that isn’t yet another bookmark that they’ll only lose. Most of us just use old receipts and train tickets anyways.

One great small option for stockings or Secret Santa is a light that clips onto the edge of your book. Really Tiny Book Lights are pretty, cute and come in loads of different colours so there’s something for everyone.

For more information see:

For The Eco-Warrior In Your Life

If you know someone who loves to help the planet, then try buying them a cute literary tote bag to carry around all the books they’re going to buy in the January sales.

These sweet bags come in loads of different styles, meaning there’s one for everyone, no matter what their reading preferences may be.

For more information see:

I hope you like this year’s Christmas Gift Guide and it’ll be back with bells on next year!


It’s OK To Give Vouchers As Gifts If They’re For Books

book vouchers

With the Black Friday madness still well and truly underway, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about gift giving.

Specifically, a lot of people have been talking about what they’re giving their friends and family for Christmas.

A few members of my family receive book tokens of Waterstones’ vouchers from me every year, for the simple reason that they never bloody tell me what else they want. Being fans of books, I buy them vouchers so they can choose the book they want when they spot a shiny new title that they don’t want to wait for.

Some of my friends think this is uncaring and not very imaginative; after all, as my Christmas Gift Guide, the 2019 version of which will be out shortly, proves, there are many great gifts for books lovers. Why don’t I just use my imagination and buy them one of those?

The answer is simple; I don’t know them well enough to get them something they’d genuinely love and make use of. Even some of my family members and I aren’t that close, and as such I make do with gifting them vouchers to spend on the books that will make them happy.

Personally, for all the cute bookmarks and cherished notebooks I’ve been given over the years, nothing has ever made me so happy as walking into a bookstore and spotting something I want, then thinking; wait, I have a voucher I can use for that!

As someone on a budget, and who buys most of her books second-hand, I’m always reluctant to buy myself brand new books as soon as they come out, because they’re pricey and I’m guaranteed to already have a huge stack of books that are still waiting to be read. I’m also very impatient, and as such I always love having a voucher in case I want a book that I’m desperate for.

What I’m trying to say, in my roundabout way, is never be ashamed to give vouchers if they’re for books. Books are the most personal and generous gift you can give to anybody, but if you don’t know them well enough to choose for them, or are concerned they already have it, a voucher is the next best option.

Clothes vouchers often feel impersonal, and subscriptions sometimes feel a little redundant when you think that the money is often whisked straight out of their bank account anyway, but book vouchers will forever be a great gift for readers. Never be afraid to give them; they will always be well received.