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David Handler | Theraputic Murder, Bodies, and Inspiration for THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE

The Snow White Christmas Cookie
David Handler




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Powell's Books


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Berger and Mitry Mysteries #9

October 2012
On Sale: October 16, 2012
Featuring: Mitch Berger; Desiree Mitry
272 pages
ISBN: 1250004543
EAN: 9781250004543
Kindle: B008VA744Q
Hardcover / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by David Handler:
The Man in the White Linen Suit, August 2019
The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes, August 2017
Phantom Angel, February 2015
Who Could That Be At This Hour?, November 2012


Killing people on paper is terrific therapy.  We mystery writers are very, very lucky that way.  If anyone dumps us, hoses us, lies to us, annoys us or is rude, hostile or so much as gives us a dirty look in line at the supermarket we have a coping mechanism that most people who live outside of the federal penal system don't have.  We can bump them off.   My newest Berger-Mitry mystery, THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE, is my ninth novel to feature the mismatched romantic duo of pudgy Jewish film critic Mitch Berger and beautiful black Connecticut State Trooper Des Mitry.  All of the books in the series take place in a picture postcard historic village on the Connecticut coastline that I call Dorset.  I've also written eight mysteries about the dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful, neurotic basset hound, Lulu, including my Edgar Award-winner, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, as well as a pair of thrillers.

You know what? I just did the math and I must have bumped off at least forty people by now.  Pretty amazing, isn't it?  I've shot them, stabbed them, bludgeoned them, nail-gunned them, poisoned them, drugged them, run them over, blown them up, drowned them, shoved them off of balconies, cliffs.  My all-time favorite murder was in one of my Hoagy mysteries, THE MAN WHO CANCELLED HIMSELF, when I electrocuted a TV star by hot-wiring his urinal.  In real life an actor on a sitcom I was writing for had really, really been getting on my nerves.

We mystery writers know how to deal with such petty annoyances.

Considering how many people I've murdered over the years you'd think that the No. 1 question I'd get asked by readers is, "Just exactly how did you turn out to be such a twisted puppy?"  And yet it's not.  The question that I get asked most often is, "Just exactly how do you come up with those ideas for your plots?"

Interesting you should ask, because the plot for THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE literally showed up on my doorstep one morning.  Okay, I lied.  It showed up at my mailbox.   I've based Dorset on the charming little Connecticut village of Old Lyme where I live.  Like my hero, Mitch, my home is a 200-year-old post-and-beam carriage house.  Unlike Mitch, I don't live on a private island with a lighthouse.  Just a bucolic little lane that's peopled by no shortage of eccentric, hilarious neighbors who live in eccentric, hilarious old houses that have closets chock full of skeletons.  One snowy day last December I looked out the window and discovered a local TV news crew standing at my mailbox interviewing my next-door neighbor.  Naturally, I immediately went outside to find out why.  It turned out that, get this, somebody in town had taken to stealing the mail out of peoples' mailboxes in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  My own mail hadn't been touched.  Or as far as I knew it hadn't.  But several of my neighbors confirmed that in recent days they'd received no mail whatsoever even though our trusted carrier, Frank, swore he'd delivered it to them.

This, my friends, is what's known as a mystery.

When I eagerly tuned in to the reporter's story on that evening's news she offered no specifics as to precisely what might have been taken or who might be responsible, other than to quip that perhaps it was the Grinch.

I didn't want snarky Yuletide quips.  I wanted to know what was really going on in.  Who was stealing the village's mail?  More importantly, why were they stealing it?  I became intensely curious.  In addition to being twisted puppies we mystery writers are also intensely curious ones.  So I decided to seek out the clued-in housewives, cleaning ladies and village tradesmen who I've cultivated as sources of gossip since I began the Berger-Mitry series ten years ago.  And then, armed with the 411, I decided to get myself a haircut.  In Old Lyme the ultimate source for village gossip is John the barber.  If it's happening, John knows about it.  John confirmed the veracity of what I'd heard so far.  He also added a few very choice morsels that I hadn't heard.  And that ended up leading me straight to the plot for THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE.

Which just proves something that I'm always saying: Real life is much, much crazier than anything a writer of crime fiction can dream up.  Or it is if you live in a small New England village like I do.  Which brings me to another question that I'm often asked:  Is there any difference between the real village of Old Lyme and the fictional one of Dorset? My answer: There is none -- except for the body count.  In THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE several people are going to lose their lives before crime-fighting odd couple, Mitch and Des, can figure out just exactly what in the heck is going on.

You know what? I think I may have given you some erroneous information before.  I do believe I've bumped off at least fifty people by now.

God, my mother would be so proud.

David Handler is the Edgar Award-winning master of the witty whodunit. THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE is the ninth book in his bestselling series featuring the mismatched crime-fighting duo of pudgy Jewish film critic Mitch Berger and beautiful black Connecticut State Trooper Desiree Mitry. He has also written eight novels about the dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful, neurotic basset hand, Lulu.  His newest hero, Benji Golden, a feisty and streetwise 137-pound New York private eye, will make his debut next summer in RUNAWAY MAN.  David began his career as a journalist and has also written extensively for television and films on both coasts.  He presently lives in a 200-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  If you'd like to read more about Mitch and Des, or catch David in one of his videos, please visit him on his website:

The Cold Blue Blood
Berger And Mitry
October 2001

The Hot Pink Farmhouse
Berger And Mitry
November 2002

The Bright Silver Star
Berger And Mitry
November 2003

The Burnt Orange Sunrise
Berger And Mitry
October 2004

The Sweet Golden Parachute
Berger And Mitry
April 2006

The Sour Cherry Surprise
Berger And Mitry
July 2008

The Shimmering Blond Sister
Berger And Mitry
October 2010

The Blood Red Indian Summer
Berger And Mitry
October 2011

The Snow White Christmas Cookie
Berger And Mitry
October 2012




50 comments posted.

Re: David Handler | Theraputic Murder, Bodies, and Inspiration for THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE

If my husband was an author he would definitely want to be able to kill of people who annoyed him.
(Maureen Emmons 5:36am November 4, 2012)

Your "couple" sound like such fun. I plan to read about them.
(Marjorie Carmony 5:51am November 4, 2012)

I loved your post. Way to get even without hurting anyone.
(Debra Guyette 6:09am November 4, 2012)

Yes, writing IS such a therapeutic way of dealing with all of our frustrations! :-)
(Felicia Ciaudelli 7:51am November 4, 2012)

Please enter me to win. I had not heard of you before this moment. Would love to win and read and review and pass on for someone else to read. Maybe that is what I need to do. Journal who I'd like to kill and how and do it by book. lol
(Jane Squires 8:05am November 4, 2012)

I read 'The Bright Silver Star' and found it a interesting take on the locality and lives involved. Des is a wonderful character.
Sue Grafton started writing her PI books by wanting to kill off her ex-husband; I guess he's doing less well than she is by now. So really we readers have to thank these annoying or rude or cruel people who give writers their inspirations.
(Clare O'Beara 8:30am November 4, 2012)

Old Lyme sounds like a great place to live. It must be so interesting to have a street full of colorful neighbours to add some spice to life, in a time when most neighbours don't get to know each other at all.
I don't agree with the reporter's prediction of The Grinch stealing the mail. I'd be more inclined to think it was somebody who was hoping there would be Christmas cards with a gift of money in them.
(Michelle Donaldson 8:55am November 4, 2012)

I would love to have this book. It would allow me to see if there is another series out there that I want to read.
Thank-you for the terrific giveaway and good luck to every entrant!!!
(Kelly Knapp 9:03am November 4, 2012)

It must be great fun to bump off so many people in your imagination. A great stress reliever.
(Pam Howell 10:13am November 4, 2012)

The book sounds real good, I'd love to read it.
(Wilma Frana 10:23am November 4, 2012)

Sounds like a nice way to stay calm if you can go home and knock off a few people in print. This information would have served me well when I was in customer service:)
(Connie Schultz 10:32am November 4, 2012)

Looks like a good contest.
(Kent Cook 10:42am November 4, 2012)

Love the cover so comforting makes me want to run out and buy the book except with Sandy I am not going anywhere
(Shelly Itkin 10:59am November 4, 2012)

I love honesty! Thanks for a good column. I look forward to reading more.
(G S Moch 10:59am November 4, 2012)

Thanks for this great post today. I enjoyed learning about
your books and the background. Best wishes.
(Sharon Berger 11:12am November 4, 2012)

Would love to win your new book.
(Mary Branham 11:15am November 4, 2012)

Amazing the fun you must have writing all of your books. Take no prisoners, I Love it!
(Cheryl English 12:03pm November 4, 2012)

I really enjoyed seeing the book cover. It put a
smile on my face when I saw it. I am looking
forward to seeing my town lit up like this for
Christmas. I live in a river town.
(Carla Vespe 12:47pm November 4, 2012)

Looks like a great read.
(Kathy Fowler 1:31pm November 4, 2012)

What a beautiful, peaceful cover! I guess looks can be deceiving. It sounds like a crime wave struck this lovely town. I would love to have a copy of the book and find out for myself.
(Anna Speed 1:34pm November 4, 2012)

Can you; hear me laughing David? I absolutely loved your post and now I have a new author to enjoy reading. I love your play on titles with a color theme, takes me back to the old Travis McGee series by John D. McDonald. I like action in the mysteries I read, and you sure do deliver. Drop my name in the hat for your newest book.
(Rosemary Simm 1:58pm November 4, 2012)

love mysteries thnaks for the chance to win
(Debbi Shaw 2:17pm November 4, 2012)

I have to say that I love the cover of your new book. I have not yet read any of your Berger-Mitry mystery books, but now that I have read your post, I can't wait.
(Robin McKay 2:25pm November 4, 2012)

Sounds like a very exciting book. I'd love to win.
(Mary Hay 3:25pm November 4, 2012)

Love the idea of killing off people who annoy me! Glad you only do it on paper, LOL!
I just checked my library, and they have some of your books - I'll have to check them out(I really meant read them, LOL!)!
Thanks for the giveaway!
(Joanne Schultz 3:36pm November 4, 2012)

Your Berger-Mitry mystery book series look and sound wonderful. I love the cover--it's beautiful, as well as all the covers for the others in the series are! I would love to own a copy of your new book!!
(Linda Luinstra 3:46pm November 4, 2012)

(Shelly Caggiano 4:34pm November 4, 2012)

I love Christmas books, and mysteries as well. Great excerpt it calls to me, so it is a definite TBB and TBR>
(Suzanne Bischoff 5:10pm November 4, 2012)

Enjoyed your blog, looks like I have found a new author. Your books sound like my kind of read.
(Sheila True 5:59pm November 4, 2012)

I think I'd better start writing some mysteries---I really need to kill off a few undesirables in my life. Thanks for the interesting blog today.
(Sue Farrell 6:18pm November 4, 2012)

are there cookies involved? I'm in! But David, what really happened to the mail of your neighbors? And did John the barber figure it out before anyone else? were more cookies involved? what do you people have against cookies? great mysteries....
(Beth Fuller 7:03pm November 4, 2012)

Sounds like a fun book! :) I like getting rid of annoying people like that too.
And sometimes, I have them be the killer and get caught &/or killed in some
horrible way. Fun times.
(Penny Mettert 7:04pm November 4, 2012)

Oh and I am with Beth Fuller...I'd like the answers to those Qs too!!!!
(Penny Mettert 7:06pm November 4, 2012)

great post and i look forward to reading this book ...
(Kimberly Hoefs 7:07pm November 4, 2012)

Thank you!
(Sally Hannoush 7:45pm November 4, 2012)

More books to check out - thanks for the giveaway.
Did they ever find out who was stealing the mail?
(Mary C 7:46pm November 4, 2012)

Oh WOW I'd love to read this book Thanks
(Bonnie Capuano 8:27pm November 4, 2012)

I have to say that if there was one person that I'd like to have lunch with, it would have to be you!! This is my reason why. I must confess that I've never read one of your books yet, although I would love to read this one, and catch up on the other ones afterward. I truly loved reading your posting today, and love your sense of humor. Now that I sort of know what makes you tick, lunch with you would be ANYTHING but boring, and my humor tends to run along the same vein. There are other reasons, too, but I think you would be fascinating to have lunch with. As I stated earlier, I would love to read your latest book, and have put your earlier books on my TBR list. Whomever did the cover of your book did a magnificent job!! I think it's beautiful, as are all of your covers!! Congratulations, and I'll be looking forward to reading it!!
(Peggy Roberson 8:38pm November 4, 2012)

I feel like that all the time when people annoy me. Make the person a character in a book and then kill them off. Add a mystery and then the hero and/or heroine and then develop a story plot, that is what I call therapy.
(Kai Wong 9:36pm November 4, 2012)

Love your sense of humour. I never thought of things that way before but bumping people off in print must be great therapy!!!
(Christine Schultz 9:58pm November 4, 2012)

Ah, but the fun of these books is not the murders; it's solving the murders! So, I'm wondering how a "Snow White" Christmas cookie is like an apple and if a wicked stepmother and a mirror are involved? Now.....if someone provides me the book, I'll have my answers, won't I.
(Carla Schuller 10:39pm November 4, 2012)

Well, what's a good mystery without a few murders between friends?
(Mary Preston 7:02am November 5, 2012)

I had to giggle to myself when I read about how many people you have "killed"
off. I love Dexter and I'm thinking I've found his "long lost brother!" :-)
David, why haven't I found your novels before? This IS like Christmas!

I love the humor with which you peppered your interview. Humor is fabulous
in any genre but in a mystery novel, it sounds like a great tension reliever. I
am very much looking forward to reading your novels and am so glad I
"found" you today!
(Connie Fischer 8:20am November 5, 2012)

Sounds like a cozy little book and one I would want to give as a Christmas gift to my mystery-loving sister-in-law... Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
(Sonja Warmath 9:12am November 5, 2012)

i love Christmas books--so glad you have decided to give us one!!
(Janet Martin 9:34am November 5, 2012)

I love this series. Thanks for the chance to win the newest
(Sandy Giden 12:13pm November 5, 2012)

The book sounds interesting and I love Christmas books to curl up with and a hot cup of coco
(Diane Castiglione 1:44pm November 5, 2012)

Mysteries with food as an addition appeal to my senses and tastes. I like the way you get away with killing people off in your stories.
(Alyson Widen 3:34pm November 5, 2012)

How fun it must be to kill off people who have annoyed you in your stories! Your book sounds wonderful, thanks for the giveaway!
(Christine Mead 7:54pm November 5, 2012)

I have not read any of your books yet, but, love a good mystery and love Christmas.
(Ann Quin 4:17am November 6, 2012)

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