These stories feature a young woman who is quite sure she's solved a murder during the height of World War II, but unsure if she should get involved; a rather sleazy law clerk who witnessed a murder from his office window, but who can't report the death without being discovered for his minor crimes; and the impeccable Dalgliesh--in one story doing a favor for his godfather, and in another waylaid en route to a Christmas dinner.
With James's trademark wit and skill, these tales quickly draw the reader in, and, in spite of their brevity, offer a surprise or two. The art of the mystery short story is a tricky one--providing enough information to keep the reader interested, but not so much that the conclusion is immediately obvious. James's pitch-perfect balancing act is sure to leave readers bereft at her loss all over again, even as they enjoy the gift of these last few holiday stories. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm