Sleep No More
By P.D. James
Published by Faber & Faber (3 October 2017)
As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution.
The punishments inflicted on the guilty are fittingly severe, but here they are meted out by the unseen forces of natural justice rather than the institutions of the law. Once again, P. D. James shows her expert control of the short-story form, conjuring motives and scenarios with complete conviction, and each with a satisfying twist in the tail.
Sleep No More contains six short stories filled with murder and intrigue. All are very twisty tales, featuring varied voices, settings and characters, proving P.D. James' versatility as a writer. This book offers a masterclass in the planning, plotting and execution of short stories that not only entertain and thrill but also explore the dark nature of humanity.
P.D. James has given 'Golden Age of Crime'-style stories an emotional and psychological feel, fitting in well with current trends of psychological thrillers and domestic noir. These are all tales of revenge and justice, filled with dark humour and highly atmospheric writing.
Which was my favourite? I'm torn between three of the stories: The Yo-Yo (very disturbing school boy memories), The Victim (very much in the vein of today's psychological thrillers) and Mr Millcroft's Birthday (which made me laugh).
Sleep No More packs a powerful punch. This is a perfect Christmas stocking filler for a crime fiction addict.
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