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.
The four previously uncollected mysteries in this collection show that James (1920 2014) was just as adept at the short form as she was at novel length; they efficiently introduce characters and create atmosphere, while posing fair challenges to readers eager to match wits with her. The title story presents a solution to a very cold case, provided by a mystery author who was in the house where an antiques dealer was bludgeoned to death. The author subtly conceals the signpost to the truth in "A Very Commonplace Murder," the most complex selection, in which an alibi witness dithers over coming forward to clear an innocent man. In "The Twelve Clues of Christmas," Adam Dalgleish, her series lead, comments, "I don't think I'll ever have another case like it. It was pure Agatha Christie." Such a comparison isn't gratuitous the puzzles are sure to please Christie fans, while offering enough psychological depth to satisfy those who want to emotionally invest in the characters, even if they appear for just a few dozen pages.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Mistletoe Murder
P. D. James never disappoints. This series of short stories are as cunning and clever as ever. The writing sparse with the usual intelligence making the stories undertow lethal pull bring to the reader's skin goose bumps.