The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh Mystery) Book

Given the astonishing length of the writing career of PD James (her first novel was published in 1962), it is perhaps not surprising that her work often consciously refers back to an earlier era of British crime writing -- but it's none-the worse for that. In fact, James' clever and affectionate reinventions of the devices and conventions of that era afford a particular pleasure -- as is the case with her latest, The Private Patient. Uncompromising investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn has booked herself into the Chandler Powell private clinic in Dorset. She has decided to remove a disfiguring facial scar, and is looking forward to what she hopes will be a new life after the surgery. But Rhoda will not leave the clinical alive – she is killed. After her murder, Commander Adam Dalgliesh is summoned to investigate. As he begins to examine suspects, scene and motives, a second death occurs, and Dalgliesh finds himself faced with one of the most complex and challenging mysteries of his career.In many ways, The Private Patient has the structure of a novel from the golden age of crime fiction, and James is well aware of the very best writing from that era (including Cyril Hare, who James succeeded as premier crime writer for her publisher, Faber). Needless to say, she freights in a very modern level of psychological investigation, more penetrating than that of her great predecessors. If the novel seems less initially engaging than other recent work by the author, there is perhaps a subtle agenda here: James is avoiding the more obvious reader-grabbing tactics to present a low-key investigation of character than she has chosen to deal with in recent books. If a little more patience is required than usual, the result of this understated approach pays dividends. And admirers of James (and her doughty detective Dalgliesh) will be prepared to be flexible for the pleasures of the cogently handled narrative here. --Barry ForshawRead More

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    When the notorious investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn booked into Mr Chandler-Powell's private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar she had every prospect of a successful operation by a distinguished surgeon a week's peaceful convalescence in one of Dorset's most beautiful manor houses and the beginning of a new life. She was never to leave Cheverell Manor alive. Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder and later a second death which are to raise even more complicated problems than the question of innocence or guilt.A new detective novel by P. D. James is always keenly awaited and "The Private Patient" will undoubtedly equal the success of her worldwide bestseller "The Lighthouse". It displays the qualities which P. D. James' readers have come to expect: a masterly psychological and emotional richness of characterisation a vivid evocation of place and a credible and exciting mystery. "The Private Patient" is a powerful work of contemporary fiction.

  • 0571242448
  • 9780571242443
  • P.D. James
  • 28 August 2008
  • Faber and Faber
  • Hardcover (Book)
  • 416

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