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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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review 2013-11-05 02:30
One of the best of classic British mysteries
Shroud for a Nightingale - P.D. James

I just returned from our book discussion group at our local public library where the book under discussion was Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James. Granted, this is a general reading group so not everyone there is a hard-core mystery fanatic like me but I was surprised to find that I was the only one that liked the book and the writing style of P.D. James. 

 

Shroud for a Nightingale is set in a nursing school attached to a hospital outside of London somewhere.  The school itself is housed in an old Victorian mansion on the grounds of the hospital which is acknowledged from the beginning to be a very poor building for the school.  But for us as readers, it adds wonderful atmosphere.  And when it comes to books, I'm all about the atmosphere.

 

During a teaching demonstration of how to insert a feeding tube, a student nurse is somehow fed poison instead of the milk she is supposed to be given and dies on the table.  She is not a student that anyone will miss.  When another student dies two weeks later, Inspector Dalgleish of Scotland Yard is called in. 

 

The course of this investigation uncovers many, many secrets that the inhabitants of Nightingale House did not want coming to light but which of them was someone willing to kill for?  This story has suspects, red herrings and motives galore.  How Dalgleish sorts them out to find the killer is a top-notch detective story. 

 

One of the themes of the book is how much people like power and what they will do to get and hold on to it.  It's a fascinating study in how even small amounts of power over others can go to a person's head. 

 

Compared to Agatha Christie, a P.D. James novel is a much denser, heavier read.  Her books remind me of the turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner while Christie would be the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  I can pick up Christie and enjoy her books anytime at all.  I have to decide to read a P.D. James.  But her books, and this one in particular, are worth the time and effort.

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