As I read this short story, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of P.D. James, at least there was one mystery cleared up of my own! Years ago, I remembered reading a brilliant short and was convinced it was by P.D. James. After the two collections were released after her death, I was seriously doubting myself and thought maybe I had got the wrong author! Thankfully, I am not going mad, but that James' publisher, Faber had tucked this short away for a rainy day (or in this case, special occasion) and I was again able to relish this delightful amuse bouche which has the most cunning twist in the tale. It really is a wonderfully, cunning and devilishly clever story. You think you know everything from the first page of this confession to killing Manston-Green and the why… but the how… oh, James keeps that smart little ace firmly up her sleeve just before the final curtain descends. Now I know why this short story stayed in my mind all these years, and in my opinion, this is the best of James' short stories by far and one to race through, then re-read and savour. In only twenty pages you understand why James is so revered within the crime genre.
'The Part-Time Job' is backed up by 'Murder Most Foul', an article that first appeared in 1982 about the crime genre and how, to James, a sense of place and characters are as important to plot.