Throughout her illustrious career as the Queen of Crime, P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Now, for the first time, four of the best are collected here. In “The Twelve Clues of Christmas,” James’s iconic Scotland Yard detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is drawn into a case that is pure Agatha Christie. In “A Very Commonplace Murder,” a respectable clerk’s secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a terrible crime. “The Boxdale Inheritance” finds Dalgliesh reinvestigating a notorious murder at the insistence of his godfather—only to uncover the darkest of family secrets. And in the title story, a bestselling crime novelist describes the crime in which she herself was involved some fifty years ago.
Playful and ingenious, shot through with narrative elegance and sly humor, The Mistletoe Murder is a treat for P. D. James’s legions of fans—and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.
About the Author
P. D. James was the author of twenty-one books, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She was the recipient of many prizes and honors, including the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature. In 1991 she was created Baroness James of Holland Park. She died in 2014 at the age of ninety-four.
“Mystery lovers are in for a very merry time. . . . All four tales will entertain and delight.” —USA Today
“Deft. . . . Entertaining. . . . A welcome belated present from P.D. James.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A great mystery writer. . . . Among the many pleasures of reading James is her evocative style.” —The Washington Post
“Delectable. . . . Will keep you guessing, and entertained, until the last page.” —People
“A Christmas present to be treasured. . . . Rekindles the pleasure of experiencing [James’s] imagination, her intellect and her integrity.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“These hitherto unpublished stories grant us the boon of fresh material from a modern master. . . . Her intelligence and erudition shine forth on every page.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Criminally good. . . . [A] stocking-sized beauty of a book. . . . Short, sweet, wry, smart and darkly funny.” —The Post and Courier
“Ingenious plotting, sly humor, pitch perfect settings, and plenty of atmosphere.” —The American Spectator
“There are overtones of Agatha Christie, albeit with a more modern sensibility; the perfect prose you have come to anticipate and admire; and red herrings and twists galore. . . . And the focal point of the book . . . is a classic variation on the locked-room mystery with a slick last-possible-moment twist that surprised and tickled even this jaded reader..” —Bruce Tierney, BookPage
“A marvelous holiday present for anyone who loves to read and enjoys a twist at the end of a story." —The New York Journal of Books
“Evokes mystery’s Golden Age. . . . These short tales feature James’s clever plotting and witty narration with gratifying conclusions. A perfect stocking stuffer for James’s many readers.” —Library Journal
“Precisely, exquisitely done.” —BookReporter
“The four previously uncollected mysteries in this collection show that James 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.” —Publishers Weekly