“I found the yo-yo the day before Christmas Eve, in the way one does come across these long-forgotten relics of the past, while I was tidying up some of the unexamined papers which clutter my elderly life.”
A late collection of stories by PD James in terms of publication, but a mélange of stories covering wide sections of her bibliography. I have read a handful of PD James novels, and I generally enjoy them. Her stories are also good, but I did find myself thinking more broadly about the book than any one of the stories themselves. The stories are often about memory; for example, the first story is about an old man looking back at a childhood scene of violence from a memory triggered by finding an old yo-yo in a box.
The title of course comes from Macbeth, where Macbeth is beginning to realize that the guilt he feels from murder first Duncan and then Banquo will live with him forever. That play also has Lady Macbeth sleepwalking and still tormenting herself with the guilt of killing Duncan, who reminded her of her father, and Macbeth’s slaughtering of the inhabitants of MacDuff’s castle at Fife. This brings to mind that way that guilt and rationalization of one’s action so often plays into mystery stories.