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Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales Hardcover – November 14, 2017
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Praise for Sleep No More
“A sophisticated collection of ‘six murderous tales,’ all stylishly told and worthy of being read aloud by the fire.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Sleep No More offers six previously uncollected, quite wonderful ‘murderous tales’ that will delight her longtime fans and can be a fine introduction to her work for others. . . . The stories collected here are variously surprising, sardonic and darkly humorous, and they are always intelligent and beautifully written. As much as any crime writer I know, James transcends genre and should be viewed simply as a writer of exceptional literary skill. . . . Most [short stories] are forgettable, but some become favorites to be returned to, such as J.D. Salinger’s ‘For Esmé—With Love and Squalor’ and Flannery O’Connor’s ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find.’ One or two of the stories in Sleep No More are candidates for that list.”
—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“Delicious and smart . . . [a] fun collection.”
—Ginny Greene, The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Sleep No More . . . is anything but a snooze. . . . The collection mostly turns the classic murder mystery on its ear by not being so much a ‘whodunit’ as a when, where and how’d they get away with it? . . . James’s skill at complicating the genre are never more apparent than here, where every victim is not always worthy of our sympathy and not every murderer deserves our scorn. . . . An unexpected delight . . . this small collection is indeed a gift.”
—Mary Cadden, USA Today
“Nothing quite matches the pleasure of the traditionally cozy English mystery on a winter evening.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“[P.D. James’s] 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 a gleeful darkness.”
—Fred Melnyczuk, Financial Times
“These stories . . . are, at least on the surface, of the ‘cosy’ school of crime fiction, though as any seasoned James reader will anticipate, that cosines is something of an angora mitten on a clenched fist. . . . A worthy addition to their much-missed author’s bodies of work. 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.”
—Sarah Perry, The Guardian
About the Author
P. D. JAMES was the author of twenty-one books, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She was the recipient of many honors, including the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature. In 1991 she was created Baroness James of Holland Park. She died in 2014 at the age of ninety-four.
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My criticism is that there seems to be no real justice in any of the stories. I don't want bloody retribution, but one reason I enjoy police procedurals/murder mysteries is because in general the perpetrator is caught. The perpetrator is usually punished. Even if the law doesn't catch up with the criminal, the result of the crime (suicide, the perpetrator has some sort of accident, etc.) happens quickly. There is no swift justice in these stories.
A person can read these stories and conclude that in some cases the aftereffects of the crime on the perpetrator are just as bad as or perhaps worse than the punishment that the law would have imposed. Maybe that' what Ms. James was trying to illustrate, that crime doesn't pay even if the police never catch the criminal. This was just not very satisfying for me.