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Sleep No More

P. D. James

The acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’, P. D. James, was a past master of the short story, weaving together motifs of the Golden Age of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories contained four of these perfectly formed stories, and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time.

Format
Hardback
ISBN
9780571339877
Date Published
05.10.2017
Delivery
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Summary

The acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’, P. D. James, was a past master of the short story, weaving together motifs of the Golden Age of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories contained four of these perfectly formed stories, and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time.

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.

Critic Reviews

The few improbabilities are effectively disguised by the sublime quality of James’s writing. She never puts a word wrong...she is the unrivalled portrayer of the sort of bad character who keeps up a convincing performance until the mask is torn off to reveal evil intent. With endings sometimes shocking and never less than surprising, she leaves her readers gasping

Barry Turner, Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

It is difficult to imagine a more pleasing afternoon than one beside a fire or radiator, with a pot of tea to hand and autumn rain against the window, while settling in for a series of delightful shocks: “I found the yo-yo the day before Christmas Eve …”

Sarah Perry, Guardian
Critic Reviews

When PD James died in 2014, readers lost a distinctive voice in crime writing. Her nostalgic style harks back to the golden age of the 1920s and 1930s, of Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham; James called on similar motifs from that era, but developed them further with psychological insight and gleeful darkness…The standout tale is The Murder of Santa Claus’, featuring the classic closed circle set-up

Fred Melnyczuk, Financial Times
Critic Reviews

As the nights draw in you’re unlikely to find a book more ingeniously pleasing than the late, great PD James’s Sleep No More, six flawless new stories in which period settings nod slyly to detective fiction’s golden age...Always a shrewd closing twist lies in wait.

Hephzibah Anderson, Observer
Critic Reviews

Extraordinarily clever, immensely entertaining and with a wintry theme that makes them perfect for the long dark nights ahead, these murderous tales are a dead cert for all crime lovers.

Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
Critic Reviews

As soon as I started on the first story I was caught up in her world once again [...] the tales she tells seem timeless...She was one of the best at what she did, her work lives on and Sleep No More only enhances my appreciation of her skills

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P. D.James

P. D. James (1920-2014) was born in Oxford and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience was used in her novels. She was a Fellow of the Royal…

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P. D.James
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