Thorne at Christmas is billed as a collection of two short stories featuring Mark Billingham’s Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. In Underneath the Mistletoe Last night, Thorne, who has volunteered to work on Christmas Day, has to deal with the body of ‘Father Christmas’ who has been found dead under a Christmas tree by a young boy. In Stepping Up, a retired boxer, who was once a minder for underworld criminals, is persuaded to attend an exercise class by his daughter. When he sees a female face from the past getting into trouble with another member of the class, he knows he has to intervene, regardless of any consequences.
This book should come with a disclaimer, as only the first story features Thorne – he’s not even mentioned in the second one! As a result, I felt a bit conned as I was looking forward to reading two stories about what cases the inspector was involved in at Christmas. A third part of the book was also a preview of a novel I had already read so, needless to say, this was not the best 99p I’ve ever spent!
Despite this, I did enjoy the first story (the one about Thorne) although the second one ended in a quite confusing manner. I think I’ll stick to the novels in future!