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Review: The Mistletoe Murder by P.D. James

BY James Walton

6th Sep 2017 Book Reviews

Review: The Mistletoe Murder by P.D. James

Nothing says Christmas like a good murder mystery…right? If you're looking for a Christmassy read to get you through the festive season, James Walton has just the thing from the master of mystery, P.D. James.


The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P. D. James 

This beautifully produced book brings together four stories that the late P.D. James wrote for various newspapers and magazines keen on giving their readers something nice and murderous for Christmas.

All find her on top form, her writing as elegant and unhurried as ever, even when faced with the tricky task of providing fully realised characters, a thoroughly imagined setting and a proper murder plot in around 30 pages.  

 

 

"Her writing is as elegant and unhurried as ever"

 

 

Perhaps because they were written for Christmas, the stories tend to the traditional, with country houses, locked rooms and last-minute twists a speciality. (“I don’t think I’ll have another case like it,” reflects James’s regular detective Adam Dalgliesh at the end of one tale. “It was pure Agatha Christie.”) 

Nonetheless, this touching respect for the conventions of the genre doesn’t prevent James from supplying a psychological and social depth not generally found in those earlier writers she so clearly admires.

She also adds touches of genuine creepiness, especially in “A Very Commonplace Murder”, where events take a far darker turn than anything in Christie. 

 

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