The Mistletoe Murder and other stories by P.D. James – Book review

I don’t read a lot of short stories, but The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories makes me wonder why I don’t. I truly enjoyed these murder-themed tales by one of the queens of crime fiction, P.D. James. These bite-size stories were perfect for devouring over a few evenings – despite leaning more towards murder than cosy Christmas vibes.

Christmas stories from a crime legend

This book has four short-stories: The Mistletoe Murder, A Very Commonplace Murder, The Boxdale Inheritance and The Twelve Clues of Christmas. And this is probably the point I should admit that I’ve never any books by P.D. James before – but now I’m adding her to my 2022 TBR!

I loved her tone here and am a huge crime fiction fan, very much love the work of her contemporary Agatha Christie, so am really looking forward to getting my teeth into P.D. James’ back catalogue.

And so to the fatal Christmas Day.

So, onto these stories – I can say I truly enjoyed all four. My favourite would probably be The Twelve Clues of Christmas for its playful take on the genre – I had a smile on my face while reading, even at the most gruesome bits of the story.

Christmas features in varying amounts through each story (murder a lot, obviously!) and the first three all feature narrators telling us about events in retrospect. The final two stories feature P.D. James’ signature detective, Adam Dalgliesh. A new character for me, I’ll be reading some of his longer-form stories soon. Any recommendations on the best ones would be gratefully received! All cleverly crafted, all so easy to read – loved them!

There were overt references to Agatha Christie and the stories had a definite charm to them. A great addition to my Christmas reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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