The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories
Nothing says the holidays quite like a very merry tale of murder, and that’s precisely what you get with P.D. James’s The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories.
The title story is by far the strongest and most engaging of the collection, offering a tale of unfamiliar relatives, a locked-door mystery, and some excellent foreshadowing. It then meanders a bit with a story about some wintry voyeurism, one that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth by the end. The collection concludes with a pair of stories that feel a bit too similar (if not in execution, given the different narrators and investigators, then in resolution, where the final reveal proved underwhelming), and both would have benefited from some breathing room from each other.
All in all, this collection is all about the title story. Perhaps the other stories would have held up better in a larger collection with greater variety, but after the excellent title tale, nothing else came close in terms of characterization, quality, or reader engagement.
Perhaps a P.D. James devotee will get more out of this than I did. But for the casual reader, I suspect not.
P. D. James