Crimespree Asks: What Was a Favorite Holiday Gift?

Each issue, Crimespree asks authors a question. For our end of year issue, we have asked them to think back to all of that gift wrapping that was torn apart and to tell us about a favorite gift.

Ace Atkins: Planet of the Apes action figures and ape village

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham: A Raleigh Chopper Bike which I wanted more than anything in the world. For an eleven year old there was nothing cooler in the world.

Bill Cameron: Must have been either ’71 or ’72 when I got the GI Joe Headquarters and a GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip™. Of course my excitement wore off when my step-dad looked at the GI Joe and said, “His hand is shaped like he’s ready to pull his pud. But I guess these dolls don’t come with puds, do they?”

Tess Gerritson: A hideous green pantsuit. I was trying to look like Emma Peel from “The Avengers.” I loved it at the time, but in retrospect — gaaack!

Todd Ritter

Russel McLean: Mum and dad were always very kind to me when I was young but I remember my first actual PC (after years of owning a ZX Spectrum) set up by a neighbour who worked for IBM while I was asleep on Christmas Eve. I walked into Dad’s office following directions from a note to find the computer displaying a scrolling message: HAPPY CHRISTMAS, RUSSEL – I AM YOUR NEW COMPUTER. I actually collapsed with excitement.

Sara Paretsky: My father had given my favorite doll, Janey, to my baby brother, who broke her. My mother secretly sent Janey to a doll hospital and made a wardrobe for her. She was next to my bed when I woke up on the 8th day of Chanukah, dressed in a snappy ice skating outfit.

Todd Ritter: I know I got some awesome toys for Christmas. I just can’t remember any of them. So I’m going to go with the first one that popped into my head, which was Manglor Mountain. Manglors were these weird rubber monsters that you could stretch and bend and remove their limbs and stick them back on. Manglor Mountain was this thing that looked like a plastic blender where you could dip your Manglors into colored slime. I don’t recall the purpose of all this. I just remember that it was pretty cool.

Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka: I can still remember the awesomeness of my Evil Knievel rip-cord motorcycle-and-jump playset. Got it for Chanukah when I was 7, I think. I’m hard-pressed to recall a gift that gave me such delight since then, though I admit that once, for my birthday, I was given a Maltese Falcon, wrapped in old Chinese newspapers and tied up with twine. That’s a close second.

Denise Swanson: A set of used Trixie Belden books given to me by a friend of my parents who happened to be a librarian. Her library was throwing them away and she asked if I wanted them. I could identify with Trixie in ways I couldn’t with Nancy Drew. Those books set me on the road to writing mysteries.

For gifts from Megan Abbott, Charlaine Harris, Val McDermid and more, check out issue 49 of Crimespree.

Join in the discussion and tell us your favorite gift in the comments section!