Posthumous book of short stories is a treat for P.D. James fans


PENGUIN Random House is publishing a treat for fans of the late P.D. James, arguably one of the greatest mystery writers of the age.

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories is a collection of four stories, two of which feature a young Adam Dalgliesh, and which together, to borrow the author’s own word, add up to a delightful “entertainment.”

In the collection, James shares the tale of a newly appointed Sgt Dalgliesh, who is drawn into a case that is “pure Agatha Christie”, while the second story sees Dalgliesh’s godfather implore him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease his mind about an inheritance.

In the remaining two stories, 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 and a best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier.

Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, with the author’s sly humour as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex aspects of human nature.

The Mistletoe Murder is a treat for all James fans and anyone who enjoys a masterfully wrought whodunnit.


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