“Christmas in Absaroka County” by Craig Johnson. (Walt Longmire #08.1)

*Read between 11th and 12th September 2018

“Christmas in Absaroka County” is a collection of four short stories each, as the name suggests, with a festive theme. These tales give us glimpses into the man behind the badge that our Sheriff wears. And, if, after the first eight books, we didn’t already like Longmire enough, what see in these tales only further endears him to us.

08.5 Christmas 01

Two of these stories fall nicely into the Longmire timeline between “As The Crow Flies” and “A Serpent’s Tooth”, the eight and ninth books. The first in the collection, “Ministerial Aid”, takes place just a few months after the death of Longmire’s wife, Martha. “Slick-Tongued Devil”, possibly my favourite of these pieces, occurs six years after Martha’s death.

I believe that most of these stories were sent as emailed treats to subscribers to the Longmire newsletter. Full of the author’s dry humour, charm and keenly observed character observations, I can only imagine the delight that readers felt on opening their inboxes in early December 2012. These brief tales subtly add to the marvellous body of work that Craig Johnson has crafted. They enhance and enrich our experience and enjoyment of Absaroka, the fictional county in Wyoming, in which Longmire exists.

The festive season is a time for hope and joy, for celebration and family. It can often be a period of sadness and regret too. Walt Longmire shows these emotions in this collection of stories and we grow to understand him a little more as a result.

These tales are not the mysteries or adventures as revealed in the full-length books. Instead, they are brief glimpses into Longmire’s non-Sheriff roles as a man and a husband and as a father. As such, they are funny and quirky and tender and a welcome addition to the Longmire series.

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