‘The Yo-Yo’ by P.D. James

The Yo-Yo by P.D. James, 2006

The magic trick:

Making the story a one-on-one reveal between the narrator and the reader alone of a 60-year-old secret

Strange Christmas story today. It’s a haunting tale of a Christmas holiday that goes very wrong.

The story puts the reader in an enticing position. Essentially, we are the recipients of a secret the narrator has kept for 60 years. Here, today, he has decided to tell the tale. Not to the police. Not to his children. Just to us.

And that’s quite a trick on James’s part.

The selection:

My hand closed round the smooth wood. The yo-yo precisely fitted my palm. It felt cold to the touch, even to my hand which is now seldom warm. And with the touch the memories came flooding back. The verb is trite but accurate; they came like a full tide, sweeping me back to the same day sixty years ago, December 23rd 1936, the day of the murder.

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