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Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh Series #11)

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    Gret Great murder mystery!

    I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in an intellectually stimulating book that builds and layers onto a complex plot while keeping the reader interested. PD James never fails to create exciting mysteries, and this one is exceptional!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2002

    Mystery at its BEST !!

    Brilliantly written, well thought out, captivating, HIGHLY RECOMMENDABLE !!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2002

    She has come through again, at 80 yet!!!

    I am an avid fan of Ms. James and her mysteries. 'Death In Holy Orders' is up there at the same level as all her other books. An insightful, engrossing read. I hope Ms. James writes at least thirty more. If she doesn't I'll have little to read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent police procedural

    The coroner¿s jury concluded that St. Anselm¿s Theological College student Ronald Treeves died accidentally. However, his adoptive father has doubts about his son¿s death. He uses his political influence as a major businessman with government ties to persuade senior officials of New Scotland Yard to investigate what really happened to Ronald. His superior Harkness sends Commander Adam Dalgeish to the school located in East Anglia. <P>Though he expects to find it was nothing but an accident, Adam enjoys the idea of visiting St. Anselm¿s, a place he once attended. However, Adam quickly revises his idea of a working vacation when someone beats to death an unpopular Archdeacon. Now Adam believes that Treeves is right when he insists his son was murdered and the law enforcement official knows he has his work cut out to catch a clever but vicious killer. <P>As expected in a P.D. James¿ who-done-it, everyone has a motive, a means, and an opportunity though in DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS some of the suspect¿s motives seem a bit stretched. Faced with a plethora of potential culprits, Dalgeish shows why his investigations are fun to observe. The story line is well written and the villain is a good opponent for Dalgeish. The Grand Dame of the British police procedural, Ms. James continues to provide her fans with a fresh mystery that will send new readers seeking previous Dalgeish novels (see A CERTAIN JUSTICE). <P>Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2005

    Big James Fan!

    I am a huge P.D. James fan simply because of her beautifully flowing prose and characterization. That said, I must stress how the mystery is almost secondary. However, the mystery here is nothing short of superb. Very atmospheric story rich in texture and plot. If you want to delve into peoples inner psyches on an atmospheric cliff and atmospheric mere and feel as though you are at this theological college yourself solving the mystery with the legendary Dalgliesh, well then dive right in!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2004

    Excellent

    Great book. Perfect for those who like literature AND detective mysteries.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2001

    The best James in a long time

    I am amazed at the superlatives P.D. James often garners for work that I often feel plainly is not up to snuff. 'Devices and Desires' played much better on TV than in James' novel (although it was still one of the best examples of 'blood simple' murder I'd ever read), while 'Original Sin' and 'A Certain Justice' simply lacked any verve or bite. Quite frankly, I'd given up on Baroness James...until I read 'Death in Holy Orders.' This book should instantly be recognized as one of the most atmospheric mysteries since 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' or Simenon's 'Maigret at the Crossroads.' The East Anglian coast...a venerable but decaying Anglican seminary, housing both treasures and dark secrets...and, most of all, a slowly-aging Adam Dalgliesh, who when used poorly is little more than P.D. James' ideal man (much like Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey), but who when used to his strengths is one of the most fascinating literary detectives ever. Stressing police procedural less than character interplay in this novel, P.D. James goes back even further than 'Devices' to deliver a quality novel on the same level as 'A Mind to Murder' or 'Unnatural Causes.' A most joyful addition to the Dalgliesh canon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    The Best

    This was the absolute best book ever. I loved every minute of it. Once you start reading it you will not be able to put it down. It took me two weeks to finish it, but thats only because i go to school. I strongly recomend this book to any and everyone who likes to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2002

    Her Best

    Her books are so literate that other practioners of the craft should blush at least. This one is internally consistent and well-constructed with a wry humor. It is her best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2001

    Awesome

    I truly respect this author. James' keeps providing super entertainment. It made a nice read and I hope she continues, even at 80, to write a few more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    The best P.D. James yet

    I picked this book up in a bookstore in England in March, a month before its U.S. release. I've been singing its praises ever since. I've also read every other mystery by James, and this is the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2001

    James' latest is possibly her best!

    It may be debateable if she¿s the reigning ¿Queen of Crime¿ or not (and she probably doesn¿t care!), but P.D. James is unbeatable with the police procedural. And her latest, ¿Death in Holy Orders¿ is, once again, James par excellence. What scope, what depth, what sheer writing talent when it comes to a gripping, mesmerizing, no-holds-barred whodunit! James brushes aside her critics and continues writing in the way she knows best, unassuming and literate, psychological and breath-taking! And her main man, Adam Dalgleish is back, along with his trusted assistants, Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant, as the superintendent enters ecclesiastical waters in this episode. A theological student has been found dead on the East Anglian shore, a tragedy ruled ¿accidental.¿ However, pressed by the student¿s father, Dalgleish re-examines the ruling and James is off to the races in typical (read that ¿exciting¿) style. Known as the ¿dark poet of Scotland Yard,¿ Dalgleish finds himself, once again, in familiar territory, as he recalls having visited the College of St. Anselm in his youth; however, momentary nostalgia aside, he finds more than he could possibly have anticipated. Of course, there is soon another death and Dalgleish¿s own ¿little gray cells¿ begin working overtime! Indeed, this may be the more horrifying case he¿s encountered, as James explores evil as she¿s never done before. Once again, James takes some time to present Dalgleish, the man, as well. Each of the books in his series provides more and more insight into this incredibly complex policeman. Dalgleish fans will welcome this, of course. ¿Death in Holy Orders¿ is yet another of those books that find themselves almost impossible to put down. James and Dalgleish--what a combination, what a read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Rich in Characters, Place, History, Social Mores and Plot

    Death in Holy Orders is a gem, and will delight long-time P.D. James fans as well as those for whom this is an introduction to her work. Well-known for her deep development of characters, this mystery is equally strong in giving you the locale (a small theological college perched on the sand cliffs near the North Sea in East Anglia), history (a twining of religion and family), social mores (actions have consequences), and a nicely detailed plot (four deaths, Church of England politics, and new connections for Adam Dalgliesh). Rarely is a book rich in all of these elements. Be warned. It's hard to put this book down! I finished reading at 1:22 a.m. despite needing to get up early this morning. Mystery purists will complain that the book reveals the villain too early. Actually, there's a benefit, because it allows the book to take on the dramatic qualitites of a fine novel, as well as a mystery. I delayed reading this book because the title didn't really grab me. I don't know much about the Church of England, and felt that I would soon be lost. Actually, although I probably didn't grasp all of the details, the religious context did not cause me to lose the thread either. Although set at a theological college, the story deals more broadly with issues throughout society. The book opens with a fascinating literary device. A college staff member, Margaret Munroe, has found the body of a young student (ordinand) at the college buried under a pile of sand from a collapsed cliff. To ease her distress, she has been asked to write an account of the experience. Her exposition develops her character as well as the background of the book's story. This section serves like one of a pair of bookends to be matched at the end by a letter from the villain explaining the events described in the book. From these two examples, you can see the care with which Baroness James has developed her characters and story. You will feel that you know and understand quite a lot about over a dozen characters, and most of them you will find interesting and attractive to know more about. In most cases, some of the story will develop through their thoughts so that you can get inside of their reality. The book has much more action than the typical P.D. James mystery, and thus makes it more modern in that sense. On the other hand, she pays close attention to the classic elements of mysery by making it clear that the events are tied to someone in residence. You will be reminded of And Then There Were None in many ways, although I found this novel much better done than that Dame Agatha Christie classic. Adam Dalgliesh had visited the college, St. Anselm's, when he was young, and has a reunion with the former head of the college, Father Martin. That connection brings Adam Dalgliesh inside the story more than usual, which is all to the good. He is involved in an unlikely way. The dead ordinand, Ronald Treeves, was the adopted son of Sir Alred Treeves, a wealthy munitions industrialist. Sir Alred wants to know more about the circumstances, and asks Scotland Yard to send Dalgliesh, the Yard's most famous commander, to check it out. Dalgliesh has planned to take some personal time to visit the area and agrees. Through a series of unusual circumstances, the later investigations become his officially as well. The plot is delightful in that Baroness James continually gives the reader hints before the investigation turns them up. Yet, the plot remains obscure enough that although we know about more crimes and complications than Scotland Yard does, we still don't know who did what until she chooses to raise the curtain for us. It's a nifty bit of slight of hand, while making the reader feel welcome. Dalgliesh's connection to poetry is nicely placed into the story in a way that will delight long-term fans of this element of his character. After you finish reading this story, you should think about how actions you have taken or could take in the futu

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2001

    A Great Place To Begin

    In talking about my writing a mystery novel with a co-worker based on some real-life experiences in regard to the lead characters, she insisted that I simply must read P.D. James, and having never read anything by her prior to 'Death in Holy Orders,' I didn't know anything about her writing style, or Adam Dalgliesh, for that matter. This book was entrancing, suspenseful, and also fairly easy to read for a novice mystery reader as myself, and I was able to draw a lot of similarities between my 'detective' and Dalgliesh, which was very helpful. By far not the last P.D. James I will read (actually I've put several others on reserve when they are returned at the East Brunswick (NJ) public library. Definitely worth the read...and definitely worth buying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2001

    GREAT MYSTERY

    One of James' absolute best. Great setting, great story, fun to read. Keep up the good work.

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