I had read the author s dystopian novel, Children of Men, a long time back But, This was my first Adam Dalgliesh novel I had heard a great deal about the author s mystery novels and started the book with very high expectations.The book starts with the discovery of two bodies in the vestry of a church One of the victims was a homeless drunk, but the other was Sir Paul Berowne, a wealthy aristocrat as well as a conservative MP.Thus begins the investigation by Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team, Massingham and Kate I liked the character of Dalgliesh he is a good cop, a good human being and also a poet The best thing about the book is the characterization The narrative is peopled by individuals from all walks of life, and each one has a distinct personality Oh Did I mention that the author has done a commendable job of portraying human relationships and how they change over time.The characters of Kate and Massingham were also quite interesting, especially Kate There was a silent tension for the lack of a better word them, but there was also mutual respect I liked the fact that the cops were not cardboard cutouts but humans of flesh and blood, with their strengths and frailties Not only the cops but most of the characters in the novel were quite well fleshed out.Dalgliesh is not a one man army He would need the unique strengths and perspectives of his team members.Dalgliesh had known and respected Sir Berowne before the murder, and had sympathies for him Sir Berowne was a tragic character himself In his own wordsMost of the things I expected to value in life have come to me through deathHe was a decent man but death used to surround him and his family life was not a very happy one He had some religious revelation and was seeking a different turn in his life, but his brutal murder put an end to all his dreams.As the investigation would progress, a lot of unsavory secrets around Sir Berowne s family and acquaintances would be revealed There would be multiple potential suspects with strong motives.Honestly speaking, the book was extremely slow in the beginning There were multiple digressions and too much of detailed descriptions of places At times reading it was a task The book demands your patience and it is not a quick read However, if you can manage to hold on, you will find the story would slowly become and engrossing I certainly enjoyed the book and do not regret investing time in it Then why did I give it a 3 star rating Actually I believe it deserves a score of 3.5, but I didn t want to round it off to 4.By the way, this book features in the list of Top 100 Crime Novels published by the Crime Writers Association UK in 1990. We know within half a dozen words that persons have been done to death In a style worlds away from the twitterverse, P.D James continues for eight pages before dishing up satisfaction for any who live by plot alone In the meantime she takes whatever time she needs to set the scene of the crime a sortof worse for wear All Saints Margaret Street, translated to a seedy neighborhood around Paddington Basin, near Paddington Station and to introduce an incongruous pair a spinster church lady, whose preoccupation with church vestries and high church ritual have not diverted her from Matthew 19 14, and her forsaken, independent eight year old protector Only after we ve come to care a bit about this odd couple and been kept in suspense, through a dark tunnel and past weedy thickets, does James open a door to reveal the bloody scene It s classic P.D James Some people have time for it others don t.After that, the spinster and the eight year old will largely vanish until the denouement, after which to her credit James sorts them out in a way realistic than heart warmingly satisfying In the intervening several hundred pages Adam Dalgliesh must confront both a mounting pile of corpses and the largely if not wholly unlikable members of a titled British family variously to blame A female Inspector Miskin assists the Superintendant and occasionally eclipses him, which happily enriches the interaction of personalities and points of view I m guessing hoping the author continued to play them off against one another as Dalgliesh continued his unending fight against crime in later books Restive readers longing for a little less talk and a lot action should welcome the plot s later twisty turns and gunfire, though they should be forewarned that James will also take the time to pick up some of the pieces afterward. The year of P.D James rolls on.As usual this is a well written mystery that grips you to the end And of course seeing the teleplay years ago, it played through my head as I was reading the story.There is one line from the book that did stick with me though about a woman s feeling towards a man I won t spoil the story by noting it down.I hope Number 8 in this series is just as good. This had twists than the average P.D James novel The action really picked up in the last hundred pages James pays a lot of attention here to providing complete arcs for minor characters, which is a nice touch The book doesn t just end when the detectives figure out who the murderer is The characters continue to make choices, trying to make the best of their circumstances, and we get to explore the effects of all these actions It s even poignant Good stuff. When The Quiet Little Vestry Of St Matthew S Church Becomes The Blood Soaked Scene Of A Double Murder, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh Faces An Intriguing Conundrum How Did An Upper Crust Minister Come To Lie, Slit Throat To Slit Throat, Next To A Neighborhood Derelict Of The Lowest Order Challenged With The Investigation Of A Crime That Appears To Have Endless Motives, Dalgliesh Explores The Sinister Web Spun Around A Half Burnt Diary And A Violet Eyed Widow Who Is Pregnant And Full Of Malice All The While Hoping To Fill The Gap Of Logic That Joined These Two Disparate Men In Bright Red Death P.D James is considered as a worthy successor to Agatha Christie and is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated crime novelists of our generation But, in spite of all that I have never enjoyed reading her books I mostly found them boring and bland.Now, the book The edition I was reading was a TV tie up, with faces of two actors who played character parts in the dramatization of the novel and it was 552 pages long.Paul Berowne who is an MP and a former cabinet minister is found dead in a church, with his throat slit with his own razor, along with fellow victim, Harry Mack, a homeless tramp This incident brings Commander Adam Dalgleish, poet and detective into the scenario to find out who was responsible for the dirty deed He, with his team sets about his task and in the process involves Berowne s mother, his wife and her lover, daughter, his mistress and others The plot and the motive was very simple It all came down to money and jealousy So, my problem with this book was that 552 pages were too much for this book According to me the whole matter could and should have been condensed to a maximum of 350 pages.I like my mystery novels with a liberal dose of clues and twists I do like the psychological part, but an abundance of it turns the whole novel boring In this case, there was serious lack of clues and twists, with an abundance of psychology Every character was thinking, even the police was thinking, and amidst all these thought process, I could hardly find any useful bit related to the murder or the investigation And there were conversations, long long boring conversations The whole thing seemed that everyone was chatting, instead of providing clues or pointing out suspects they were all busy chatting The ending when it came, almost seemed a blessing Literally it dropped out of the sky All those pages, full of room descriptions and insightful chats and detailed characterisations etc etc were just there to fill up the pages I felt cheated 552 pages and I get this And, there was my nemesis to deal with, super long paragraphs Perhaps classic murder mysteries are just not my genre I found this book PAINFUL to read For me it was predictable, boring and totally unsuspenseful I never came to care about the characters There were endless paragraphs of physical description, mostly about furniture Ugh The emotional breakdowns at the end were beyond unrealistic I m not sure how people like this stuff, but obviously they do, so what do I know Another Dalgleish novel by P.D James, which means a clever plot, a couple of murders, and some character development of Dalgleish and his team This one surprised at the end, with the murderer going on a vengeful spree that threatens one of Dalgleish s team I like this series, and this is a solid addition. A just retired, blue blooded government minister and a tramp have their throats cut in a church in James s well plotted, nicely paced mystery I m a big fan of James, and of her lovely Dalgliesh in particular She allows Dalgliesh and his subordinate, Constable Kate Miskin, to be thoughtful, well rounded characters, deserving of our admiration Nearly everyone else in the book along with nearly everyone else in every P.D James book comes in for very harsh treatment James is a deeply misanthropic writer I m not a fan of the misanthropy The upper classes are chilly and condescending the lower classes, especially the women, are sour, or bitter, or have given up on happiness The proles, and the elderly, are always cruelly sketched She was, he guessed, in her late thirties, and was uncompromisingly plain in a way it struck him few women nowadays were A small sharp nose was imbedded between pudgy cheeks on which the threads of broken veins were emphasized rather than disguised by a thin crust of make up She had a primly censorious mouth above a slightly receding chin already showing the first slackness of a dewlap Her hair, which looked as if it had been inexpertly permed, was pulled back at the sides but frizzed over the high forehead rather in the poodle like fashion of an Edwardian. Evelyn Matlock, p 93 Her skin was cleft with deep lines running from the jaw to the high jutting cheekbones It was as if two palms had been placed against the frail skin and forced it upwards, so that he saw with a shock of premonitory recognition the shine of the skull beneath the skin The scrolls of the ears flat against the sides of the skull were so large that they looked like abnormal excrescences. Ursula Berowne, p 96 The flesh seemed to have slipped from the bones so that the beaked nose cleft the skin sharp as a knife edge while the jowls hung in slack, mottled pouches like the flesh of a plucked fowl The flaming Massingham hair was bleached and faded now to the colour and texture of straw He thought He looks as archaic as a Rowlandson drawing Old age makes caricatures of us all No wonder we dread it. Lord Dungannon, p 168 A mouth is never merely a mouth, but a moist focus of emotion A character she doesn t like just can t win His tone was almost studiously polite, but neither sardonic nor provocatively obsequious Really You re going to hold that against him In the weirdest, most misogynistic category, this would probably be the winner She had the drained look which Sarah had seen on the face of a friend who had recently given birth, bright eyed, but bloated and somehow diminished, as if virtue had gone out of her. Evelyn Matlock, p 393 This was my first P.D James mystery, and it was a fine book James detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is apparently a poet we are told this again and again but we never see him writing or read any of his verse Maybe these are present in other Dalgliesh books.James is a fine writer, but she used one narrative tool in this book of which I m not a huge fan The reader doesn t have complete access to the thoughts of each character, but we do have access to some of their longings, musings, and wonderings It seems these are present just to advance the whodunit aspect of the book So, we will read about one of the detectives putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together, thinking that the murderer must be X That s a fine tool to use, but it appears overused here It got to be a bit much.This was a fine book, but I m not sure I ll read of P.D James There are lots of other excellent books in the world to read.
P D James, byname of Phyllis Dorothy James White, Baroness James of Holland Park, born August 3, 1920, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England died November 27, 2014, Oxford , British mystery novelist best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.The daughter of a middle grade civil servant, James grew up in the university town of Cambridge Her formal education, however, ended at
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