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Book Review: The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P.D.James

The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P.D. James

Goodreads Summary: “Four previously uncollected stories from one of the great mystery writers of our time–swift, cunning murder mysteries (two of which feature the young Adam Dalgliesh) that together, to borrow the author’s own word, add up to a delightful “entertainment.” 

The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is “pure Agatha Christie.” . . . A “pedantic, respectable, censorious” clerk’s secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder . . . A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier . . . Dalgliesh’s godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather’s mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author’s sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex–not to say the most damning–aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James’s legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.”

I have to say I was looking forward to this release of short stories by P.D.James, but I found them a bit lackluster. The most fascinating part of the book was the foreword by James herself describing the art of writing a short story. The first short gives us insight into this famous author and perhaps what was the catalyst for her works. The second story was creepy, but the twist seemed almost too sudden and underdeveloped to me…I was left wanting. The third story recognizes the “carnivorous world” that faces are children and had some good characterization. The last story was my favorite and reminded me of a Miss Marple type deduction. This one was a perfect read for holidays.

Overall, I was underwhelmed after anticipating these stories. 3 stars for me.

Happy Reading!

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