cover image The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories

The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories

P.D. James, read by Jenny Agutter and Daniel Weyman. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs., $25 ISBN 978-1-5247-0806-1

Two of this quartet of posthumously collected short stories feature James’s New Scotland Yard sleuth, Supt. Adam Dalgliesh, narrated crisply and with touches of wry humor by reader Weyman, the voice of the poet-detective in previous audiobooks. In “The Boxdale Inheritance,” Dalgliesh investigates an infamous 67-year-old murder case, while “The Twelve Clues of Christmas” presents a younger, newly minted Sergeant Dalgliesh who, on his way to his aunt’s Christmas Eve dinner, is interrupted by a frantic man who has just discovered his uncle’s apparent suicide. James brightens all four tales with metafictional touches—from unapologetic references to her use of mystery tropes to allusions to Agatha Christie’s works. Weyman’s narration dryly takes note of these, as does Agutter’s in the other two stories. Her reading of “A Very Commonplace Murder,” a study of a smarmy, porn-addicted clerk who could alter a murder trial but doesn’t, is hard-edged and at times venomous. Her tone softens for the title piece, matching its narrator, an elderly popular crime novelist who recalls a Christmas half a century before when she wound up involved in a vicious murder. Agutter also provides a rather aloof rendition of a brief but informative essay by James on short crime fiction. A Knopf hardcover. (Oct.)