A nice festive read with a few gentle murders. A kind of reading version of Cluedo.
This book has four self-contained stories with a Christmas theme. The lead story in the book paints a picture of a mostly bygone age with the landed gentry, a stately home and staff. A big house in the country in a winter snow scene. Truly delightful.
The second story, A Very Commonplace Murder, reminds me of books by Ruth Rendell in her tales of strange lonely, voyeuristic men. A good psychological thriller short story.
The other two stories feature a young detective called Adam Dalgliesh who goes on to have his own books, and indeed, a television series: The Boxdale Inheritance and The Twelve Clues of Christmas.
Each of the four stories features a murder and a clever mystery whodunit factor. There is no gratuitous gore nor sensationalism, just lucid descriptions of the settings and characters.
James is a lovely, traditional writer and this book (and particularly the first two stories) were just the ticket for light Christmas reading. Highly recommended.
Faber & Faber; Main edition 4 October 2016.