Monday 9 October 2017

Sleep No More : Six Murderous Tales by P D James #BlogTour @FaberBooks

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.

Sleep No More : Six Murderous Tales by P D James was published on 5 October 2017 by Faber. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Recently I've become more of a fan of short stories and this little collection is one of the best that I've read in a long time which is only to be expected from such a great author. P D James was one of the very best crime authors and these six tales are a wonderfully entertaining read.

This author excelled at setting the scene and creating characters who are both loathesome and loveable equally. Once started, it's really very hard to put this book down and I easily read it in one evening.

The theme of revenge features heavily, along with murder and mystery and fabulously crafted characters. This author really knew how to create suspense and tension and her clever twists never fail to surprise her readers.

My personal favourites were the first story; The Yo-Yo, and the fourth; The Girl Who Loved Graveyards; two very different tales, but both expertly executed.

The small hardback is beautifully presented, with a gorgeous cover and would make the perfect present for any crime fiction fan.

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 Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts and served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She was an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and The National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors, stepping down from the post in August 2013.

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