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What I’m Reading Now: The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories

I have a thing for short detective stories. The Golden Era of detective fiction is rife with shorts stories. Greats like Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, Arsene Lupin, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple … I love them all. Detective fiction these days are full-length novels, and I enjoy them, but at the end of the day, I long for the old shorts. So I was delighted to find detective short stories from a more contemporary author.

an unexpected good find

P.D. James has Canon Doyles’ mastery of short story and vivid description. Her uncanny observation of humanity gripped me. The humor was great, too. Here is a paraphrase from The Twelve Clues of Christmas, starring Adam Dalgleish:

“You would think people regularly commit suicides over holidays.”

“East Anglians are a robust stock. They come close, but they resist somehow.”

The sly meta comments induced chuckles. For example: “The library, that most fatal room in popular British fiction.” Anyone who read Agatha Christie will enjoy that.

The mysteries themselves are simple, but not obvious — like all good mysteries should be. Seasoned mystery readers might find the length too short. The whole book is snack size, but it is delightful entertainment.

I’ve checked out two books by P.D. James since finishing The Mistletoe Murders because I wanted to read more Adam Dalgleish. I’m reading The Lighthouse at the moment. I approve the first chapter. The ones that follow are decent. I’m at the point where the victim is found dead — hanging on the titular lighthouse. So far, so good. I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

3 Comments

  1. I had to read a novel of hers, CHILDREN OF MEN, for class once. I didn’t really like it, even though I could see why it was award winning. I will have to try another of her mysteries, though, since I really liked DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY when I read it. Have you heard of/seen it before?

    • booksofchange
      booksofchange

      2017-05-29 at 8:36 pm

      I’ve only just encountered P.D. James, but I’ve checked her works. DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY is her Pride and Prejudice inspired detective work, wasn’t it? I’m limited to what my library has available, so it’s just THE LIGHTHOUSE. I’m really enjoying it!

      • Oh, that’s too bad that you can’t access it, but I’m glad you are enjoying the book. I will have to check my libraries for the collection. Have you tried any of the Lord Peter Whimsey short stories? I picked it up and really enjoyed the character; he reminds me of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

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