BOOK: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories
AUTHOR: P. D. James
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2016
I’m not at all sure just why there are so many murder mysteries with Christmas themes, but there are, and some of them are quite good, too. If you liked Envious Casca (recently retitled as A Christmas Party) or An English Murder, you just might want to pick up P.D. James’ The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories. Ms. James was influenced by, and was a great admirer of, the Golden Age of Detective Fiction authors, but her stories are considerably less cozy. No matter! The Victorians told ghost stories at Christmas…and in these fractious times, when the ongoing debate about whether Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie or not is one of the less painful holiday arguments we usually encounter, what’s the harm in some murderous entertainment?
This volume, published posthumously, encompasses four stories. Two feature James’ detective Adam Dagliesh, and I found it a welcome treat to encounter him again. The other two stories were equally satisfying. They’re all a bit twisted, with atmospheric country houses, secrets kept, secrets uncovered (at least for the reader, if not for all the characters), and extremely dysfunctional families. Sip some eggnog (make sure it isn’t poisoned!) and enjoy, from the comfort and peace (we hope!) of your home library. (It may be best if you’ve first made sure that all the doors are properly locked!)
RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 3 Whistles
HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon
Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead-In Book Cover Image Courtesy of Vintage Books and Penguin Random House
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