Review: PD James – Sleep No More

Last year we were treated to The Mistletoe Murders by PD James, a collection of of four short stories that had previously appeared in various publications. It was a joy to read over Christmas and a reminder of James’s talent. This yearSleep No More gives us six new stories which will delight fans of the author and again draws us into a world where nothing is as it appears.

The most festive of the stories, ‘The Murder of Santa Claus’ narrates the story of a murder seen through the eyes of a small boy. Like with the first story, ‘The Yo-Yo Murder’ James reminds us that childhood is a curious mix of innocence and kept secrets and that children are adept at making decisions to protect adults.

Like her contemporary, James excels at depicting the disfunctionality within families and the continuing tensions of married life. ‘The Victim’ and ‘A Very Desirable Residence’ are prime examples of this and the author cleverly misdirects the reader throughout.

My favourite of the collection is ‘The Girl Who Loved Graveyards.’ Again with a child protagonist, the story is unusual, poignant and slightly downbeat and I think it’s one of the best I’ve read from the author.

I’m sure fans of PD James will already have this book on their list. It made me return to one of her novels, An Unsuitable Job For a Woman, as I wanted to remain in the unique world she created. James was a remarkable author who influenced a generation of crime writers and I’m sure will continue to do so.