Being a bit of a fan of crime novels but also one who never has a lot of time at a stretch to read, I was pleased to have been given this book of 4 short stories. I must admit though, at first, I was sceptical at how well these stories would fill my thirst for crime.
I will start by saying that it is the very first I have read by this author, despite her being renowned in the crime genre. My two favourites are John Grisham and Harlen Coben, of whom I have read every novel they produced, including, unfortunately, the non-fiction.
Two of these short stories are directly based on a Christmas theme, while the other two aren’t, though you can imagine some of the events occurring at an awkward family gathering when long lost relatives meet for a one off luncheon. They relate to a Christmas party, an affair, an inheritance and an apparent suicide. They are simple stories, and like the best crime writers, just as you think you have everything worked out as to what has happened and who is involved, the ending takes you on a ride elsewhere, with a totally imaginative and unexpected conclusion. The storytelling is well developed and characters and plot are surprisingly detailed for their short length. They are well paced and keep you wanting more from the start.
Out of the four short stories, my favourites are the first, The Mistletoe Murder and the last, The Twelve Clues of Christmas, which both had me intrigued to the end. Avery commonplace murder, I felt was more commonplace itself- my mind wandered somewhat and I didn’t feel that it completely developed the characters like the others, even though the plot was clearly defined.
For those of you who like crime novels but like me, don’t always have a huge amount of time and don’t want to lose the plot between reading, these are a wonderful addition to your reading to do lists. I shall certainly be seeking out others.