"As the acknowledged "Queen of Crime," P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best have been collected together for the first time in one volume. P. D. James's understanding of human nature illuminates each of these stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. Each treats the reader to her masterfully atmospheric storytelling, a mystery to be solved, and enjoyable puzzles to keep the reader guessing. With wry humour, she pays tribute to her English crime-writing forebears, delighting in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at enforced family gatherings and in old country houses--from the title story about a strained family reunion on Christmas Eve, to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, and two cases that introduce James's poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh as a young detective sergeant."-- Provided by publisher.