#BookReview Sleep No More #SixMurderousTales by #Legend P.D. James @FaberBooks #ShortStoryCollection

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

Sleep No More, Six Murderous Tales by 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.

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.

My review:

Six murderous tales from the queen of crime P.D. James

1 – The Yoyo: The short story summarises an elderly lady recalling the fateful night of 23rd December 1936 and the crime that marked her teens. 4*

2- The Victim: The Victim, details the story of class hierarchy, love and the pain of divorce. With a central character of, the elusive Princess Llsa Bowman….. 4*

3- The Murder Of Santa Claus: Charles Mickledore retells the murderous Christmas of 1939, where everyone is a suspect and no one is caught…. 4*

4- The Girl Who Loved Graveyards: A young girl is left orphaned and dumped with distant relatives. She spends her days in the graveyard and becomes obsessed with seeing her father’s grave. Only what awaits her there, is not what it seems……. 5*

5- A Very Desirable Residence: This details the trial of Henry Vinson, for the attempted murder of his socialite wife Emily. A detailed tale of treachery and scheming. 5*

6- Mr Millcrofts Birthday: An elderly man makes a confession of murder, to his adult children. But is it true or merely a senile delusion? A tale of intelligence and manipulation, but whom is the manipulator 5*

I thoroughly enjoyed this mixture of short stories. Some of the stories have a Christmas feel to them, making this the ideal gift for loyal P.D. James fans. My favourites were The Girl who Loved Graveyards and Mr Millcrofts Birthday. Highly recommended 4.5*
*Sleep No More is released today, 3rd October 2017*

P.D. James

#BookReview Little Green by #Legend Walter Mosley #EasyRawlins 4.5*

Little Green by Walter Mosley
Easy Rawlins #12

We thought we’d seen the last of Easy Rawlins at the end of BLONDE FAITH. But it takes more than an oncoming car to stop LA’s finest PI.

As Easy wakes from his coma, the last thing he needs is an investigation. But a friend’s son is in trouble and old habits die hard. So Easy wades into the squats, clubs and LSD dens of Sunset Boulevard, trying to find the missing boy, Evander. What he discovers will take him on a journey into the dark underbelly of 1960s culture, where Evander’s disappearance is only one piece of a far larger puzzle…

My review:

I am a huge fan of this authors work and in particular his Easy Rawlins series. It is iconic, edgy and unique. You really get the sense that the author writes from the heart! If you are new to the series, then I would recommend to start at the beginning. As each novel had layer upon layer of depth and it fully reveals itself when you follow the series. This is a series not to be missed!

Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins in back, with a whole new case, that bring a heap of trouble! The novel opens with Easy having awoken from a coma, having survived a possibly failed suicide attempt. He awakens to discover the loss of some friends via death. Albeit jealous women, alcohol poisoning or suicide, Easy has lost some people he holds dear.

“I was distracted by the mountain of evil I had lived through”

“Death. I had followed him through all the years of my life”

Easy is still suffering the effects of a bad concussion and exposure to the element. Easy is not firing on all cylinders! He discovers long-time friend Raymond ‘Mouse’ Alexander, has paid for his care and ensured he is well looked after whilst in the coma. But now Mouse has a case, he needs Easy to investigate. A case that will test even Easy’s detective skills.

“But I need that Easy magic, that readin faces like a child’s primer” Mouse

The case is that of Evander ‘Little Green’ Noon, whom is missing. His mother Timbale is known to Mouse and Mouse feels obliged to help her out. Evander was last seen at Sunset Boulevard, heading to a party with an unknown white girl! This novel is set in 1967 Los Angeles, racial mixing still being a heated topic and one that can bring extreme violence. What has Evander got himself into? Evander is described as a bookish boy, that rarely leaves the house. Which made me question why he is missing?
Easy agrees to take the case, something he may later come to regret……..

Easy, himself is a complex man, having survived fighting in ww2 only to come home and face racial hatred and bigotry. Easy’s family is complex and diverse. It is much better explained in the earlier novels, than I could do it justice. He has a daughter Feather, whom speaks three languages and is a sensitive soul. Also a son Jesus/Juice who is also academically bright but knows his own mind. He has a yellow dog named Frenchie that hates him and this is detailed in an earlier novel. Mouse is his best friend but Mouse can be an unpredictable, dangerous and volatile individual!

“Mouse is only for if the house is burning down and the fire department is on strike”

The 1960’s era is shown throughout the novel due to the music, Otis Redding and the care Mouse drives El Dorado. The author is fantastic at setting the scene. Every page is written brilliantly and I wish I had this authors gift for writing.

Easy meets Timbale, seeking information on Evander’s whereabouts. But Timbale has a complex relationship with Mouse, making her suspicious of Easy. Easy does his best to convince her of his talents as a private investigator.
“But you know a black man has to be twice as good if he claims to be equal with a white” Easy

The case will take Easy to brothels, LSD drug dens and rubbing shoulders with some of LA’s most dangerous criminal underworld. When Easy returns to his home, of which he takes great pride. He discovers a squatter named Jeff. Mouse quickly dispatches the man and in a manner accustomed only to Mouse’s habits. The novel depicts the attitudes of a post Watts riots LA. One of changing attitudes and racial tension.

“I was a black man in a white world where black men were hated – and worse, feared”

Walter Mosley is clearly a very intelligent man and he cleverly weaves the racial aspects of the era into the story. I simply cannot get over the sheer talent of the author and the issues he writes about with such beauty in his words.

“Words are the finest invention that human beings have ever made”

Whilst investigating the case, Easy meets young hippy Ruby. She unknowingly leads him to Evander, where he is being held captive! What follows are scenes of brutality and violence towards Evander. But what has Evander gotten into that has caused such a reaction? Why is Evander tied to a tree and appears out of his mind?

Easy has a tough case and one of multi-layers. Every time you feel you get to grips with the plot, the author adds a further twist in the tale. When Easy’s squatter returns he is made to face up to some cold and harsh realisations……..

“Even a black man could protect his home from intruders – if those intruders were also black”

The relationship between Easy, Evader and Mouse is further explored. With Evander and Easy suspicious that Mouse is Evander’s father. The characters old/new are expertly written and their detail is well thought out. Evander is struggling to recollect him memories due to the LSD he was duped into taking. Easy attempts to help but again, it throws up more twists than clues.

“Blood and money, torture and imprisonment stalked that boy – and he wasn’t half way home yet”

The novel has many theme, ones of police corruption and racial tension. But also of fairness and equality. Easy just wants a simple life, as does Evander. But life is rarely simple in Easy’s 1960s LA. The novel also features the only cop Easy trusts detective Melvin Suggs, as he attempts to clean up the streets of LA. Whilst also trying to battle corruption within the force.

“The devil spelled backwards is lived”

The relationship between Easy and Mouse is constantly evolving throughout the series. They are very different men morally, socially and with their intentions. Yet they make for the perfect duo. Mouse actually appears calmer in this case (for Mouse anyway!) and Easy seems the one frustrated and angry at the world around him!

“Humiliation is a cultural stigma for most African American men. Their pride is magnificent, and also an Achilles heel”

When Evander begins to remember the circumstances of his situation, the novel truly heats up. This is a novel with layers upon layers of great writing. I could quote it so many times, the author is amazing at putting in these sentences that stop you in your tracks. The make you question the motives of the characters and the era they are experiencing. This is an epic series and one I can wholeheartedly recommend!

“IF I was a white man the answer to the riddle would have been simple. If I was a white man there wouldn’t have been a riddle at all”


Walter Mosley
Authors links:
Website: http://www.waltermosley.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20850.Walter_Mosley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WalterMosleyAuthor/