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review 2017-11-20 21:02
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 2 - Bon Om Touk: Murder on a Secret Island
The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh, #13) - P.D. James
The Lighthouse - P.D. James,Michael Jayston

P.D. James's penultimate Dalgliesh novel, revisited courtesy of the splendid unabridged reading by Michael Jayston (known to fans of John le Carré as Peter Guillam from the adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley).


I am, bit by bit, working my way through the Dalgliesh series, though not in chronological order but in the order I can get hold of the Michel Jayston CDs.  This book is one of my favorite entries in the series, not least because Kate Miskin finally gets to show her mettle when Dalgliesh is temporarily out of commission.


The story takes Dalgliesh and his team to Combe Island on the Cornish coast, a secret retreat for small select groups of government officials and VIPs, to investigate the murder of a an author who is (well, was) as arrogant and egotistical as he was brilliant as a writer -- in other words, your textbook classic mystery murder victim.


As I revisit this series, I am becoming downright nostalgic -- they just don't make 'em like P.D. James and Adam Dalgliesh anymore.  Probably Baroness James was wise to bring the series to an end when she did, going out on a high note with The Private Patient (2008), but man ...this is so head and shoulders above the vast majority of mystery writing published these days, it's not even funny.


Since this book fits the theme for Bon Om Touk -- read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover -- I decided to apply my audio excursion down memory lane to that square.


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review 2017-06-02 21:27
DNF at 25 percent; Too Bored to Continue
Original Sin - P.D. James

Since I liked the collection of short stories by PD James the other day, I thought I pick up a big starring Adam Dalgliesh. Big mistake. Huge.


I don't know if I should have read this in order (this is the 9th book in the series) but I just could not get past the 25 percent mark.


I was so bored reading about the murder and what was going on. Life is too short to keep reading a book that is boring you to tears. I don't see this character becoming a favorite with me like Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. 

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review 2015-09-03 00:00
A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10) - P.D. James A defence lawyer is murdered, and Dalgliesh & co have to try and find out who did it.
This is the first P.D. James book I've read, and after the suspects start to pile up with various reasons why it could be them, the rest of the book fizzles out.

The ending was a disappointment.
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review 2015-06-24 00:00
The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)
The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14) - P.D. James It was a pretty average book to be honest, nothing outstanding. The descriptions became rather tedious and I had to force myself to keep reading the book. When I finally got to the end I felt disappointed, maybe I was expecting too much?
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review 2015-04-04 11:43
Cover Her Face (Inspector Dalgliesh)
Cover Her Face - P.D. James

At a country house, the family is tired of waiting for their ailing husband and father to die. Each have their own dissatisfactions and secrets. Meanwhile, a new maid with a fatherless child and a penchant for causing trouble is not making it any easier for any of them. The situation culminates into murder, and Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is called in to investigate.


I found this work difficult to rate. On the plus side, it abides with those often quoted rules of writing detective fiction - showing, not telling (most of the time); setting up a puzzle and giving the reader all the clues to solve the mystery, while not making it too easy; and not mucking up the narrative with too much romance. It even has some of features I have particular preference for, such as not splitting the characters up into heroes and villains, but allowing them dimensions. Stephen is heartless but often well-meaning, Hearne is a war hero sick with the memory his past deeds, Mrs Riscoe is snobbish and affects detachment, but cares about other people more than she wants to. And so on. I can't deny that it's a quality piece of classic form detective fiction.


But I was not entertained. I couldn't like any of the characters, though I felt sympathy for desperate, unloved Catherine and the cruel, ambitious Sally. Furthermore, I had narrowed the possible suspects down to two by the novel's midpoint, and guessed the culprit soon after. 


I can't tell if you'll like this novel. Though I recognized the craftmanship behind it, I did not.

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