Customer Reviews for

The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh Series #14)

Average Rating 3.5
( 104 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

A highly recommended read!

Beyond the well developed characters and the interesting plot line of this book, P.D. James is a truly talented writer and a joy to read. The book was mentally comfortable from page one to completion and I, personally, intend to begin a collection of her writings. I'm...
Beyond the well developed characters and the interesting plot line of this book, P.D. James is a truly talented writer and a joy to read. The book was mentally comfortable from page one to completion and I, personally, intend to begin a collection of her writings. I'm sorry it's taken so long for us to become acquainted. The "Private Patient" had its delightful share of twists and turns, but none so outrageous that the story didn't have a natural flow that allowed me to personally assist Commander Adam Dalgliesh throughout his investigation. Once begun...I found it difficult to put this down...and found myself rushing to complete my daily chores so I could rejoin the investigation.

posted by Nutmeg-Anne on March 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not the best of P.D. James

I love P.D James. I love the way she transforms mystery into a literary experience, but having said that, this latest book is not her best. It is still a wonderful read, but the plot is not as compelling as her other books. I found that I quickly forgot the book after r...
I love P.D James. I love the way she transforms mystery into a literary experience, but having said that, this latest book is not her best. It is still a wonderful read, but the plot is not as compelling as her other books. I found that I quickly forgot the book after reading it.

posted by 1025131 on February 23, 2009

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A highly recommended read!

    Beyond the well developed characters and the interesting plot line of this book, P.D. James is a truly talented writer and a joy to read. The book was mentally comfortable from page one to completion and I, personally, intend to begin a collection of her writings. I'm sorry it's taken so long for us to become acquainted. The "Private Patient" had its delightful share of twists and turns, but none so outrageous that the story didn't have a natural flow that allowed me to personally assist Commander Adam Dalgliesh throughout his investigation. Once begun...I found it difficult to put this down...and found myself rushing to complete my daily chores so I could rejoin the investigation.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    P.D. James always writes beautifully.

    The characters are not fully developed as individuals rather than types, but the plot holds interest. The story is original within the genre but still within the Agatha Christie "closed House and limited suspects" where all the characters might have a motive. I always enjoy reading about Adam Dalgliesh and would like more details about him.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    AD's final case?

    If The Private Patient is truly PDJ's final Dalgliesh novel, she's taking him out in style! AD has always been the most human, humane, and cultured of the detective genre, and at long last, he's gained some well deserved happiness. Although most of his cases have been firmly closed at the end of each story, in this one, James has left some wiggle room. This is a fine police procedural/human interest story, as beautifully written and atmospheric as we've come to expect from her. Five stars for yet another thoroughly enjoyed little masterpiece.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    Good read

    I enjoyed reading this book. Although I have liked all of the previous Dalgliesh books, I've always felt that AD and his associates could stand a few doses of Prozac. While the regular cast was introspective, they didn't seem to be suffering from depression this time.

    The story was compelling and held my attention. As an American, it was an interesting insight into medical practice in the UK.

    Good ending either as a series finale or to take advantage of that wiggle room James left for a future novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Not the best of P.D. James

    I love P.D James. I love the way she transforms mystery into a literary experience, but having said that, this latest book is not her best. It is still a wonderful read, but the plot is not as compelling as her other books. I found that I quickly forgot the book after reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    Decent mystery sidetracked by love story

    What can be a better setting for a murder mystery than a secluded old house and a limited number of characters with motive and access to the victim? Unfortunately, setting isn't everything. PD James characters are usually well crafted and the plots intricate. However, this story was sidelined, as have been several of her recent books, by references to the Dalgliesh-Emma romance. Enough already. The romance seems contrived and superficial and slows down the pace of the plot.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fabulous ┬┐locked room┬┐ mystery

    In Dorset, forty-seven years old investigative reporter Rhoda Gradwyn arrives at Cheverell Manor, a facility converted into a plastic surgery clinic by renowned surgeon Dr. George Chandler Powell. Rhoda is there for personal reasons to have an ugly facial scar removed. Two days later, Rhoda is dead.<BR/><BR/>Police Commander Adam Dalgliesh heads the investigation into the homicide of the journalist. He and his unit quickly find suspects at clinic, whose motives seem weird especially if any of them killed a virtual stranger. Confused by what they are learning, Adam also reaches out to the wider more likely fruitful focus of looking at those involved with Gradwyn¿s work as she was notorious for figuratively torturing the truth from reluctant individuals and then selling it to the highest bidder. One of the seemingly zillion including the staff at the clinic is a killer, but who took advantage of the opportunity remains far from being resolved even as the inquiry spins further out of control towards a three century plus old execution and a second apparently unrelated murder occurs at the clinic.<BR/><BR/>As always in the excellent Dalgliesh police procedurals, this great entry (perhaps the best of the long running saga) P.D. James interweaves her take on social issues into a terrific whodunit; nobody does it better than she does. The case is complex as suspects surface more than rabbits multiply while Dalgliesh learns either the clinic staff or the late reporter were interested in the graying of Great Britain, the failing restricted higher education system that exclude late blooming geniuses and immigrants, and the inconvenient truth of humans goring the planet; all cleverly interwoven into the plot. However, make no mistake the superb police investigation is the focus of the storyline as THE PRIVATE PATIENT is a fabulous ¿locked room¿ mystery with an endless sea of suspects.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Not her best

    Fan of james for many years but i found the read to be a very slow go

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    MY PATIENCE WAS TESTED

    This is only my second PDJ novel and my first of the Dalgliesh series. But having read a lot of English mysteries, I understand the catch-up work required when stepping in at the 14th volume of a series. So I didn't expect to understand all the nuances of the recurring characters. Despite this, it was apparent that James is becoming fatigued with Dalgliesh books. Who can blame her after fourteen volumes? The main character is a writer - a sure sign that an author has run out of occupations for her protagonist. Stephen King is guilty of this tired ploy. (How many of King's main characters are writers?) It takes a lot more effort to write a character whose profession you are unfamiliar with, a scuba diver or a neurosurgeon. Easier to just write about yourself. More evidence of enui is the sudden avalanche of "revelations" right at the end. Having spent hundreds of pages meandering around scattering clues James seems to realize she needs to resolve them before she hits her deadline. The antagonist suddenly(!) makes a lengthy confession at the end tying up every loose end. Then to make it even easier, the bad guy off's himself so there's no need to bother writing a complicated chase scene. Ta Da! Along the way, James dazzles with her beautiful prose. She is a terrific writer, despite her fondness for describing in minute detail every tea service on the British Isles. (I am an American, but lived in England for a year, so I know that real Britons don't care nearly this much about their milk jugs. Just saying.) Her ability to build three dimensional characters is really stunning. It makes me want to go back and read the early Dalgliesh novels, when James was still fresh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    This was the most boring and poorly written book I have ever read. I absolutely had to force myself to read it. No plot-no story line-the characters were boring and it just overall was a waste of money. I was extremely disappointed in this purchase.

    Don't buy it-its not worth the paper its printed on.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    A great mystery!

    It kept my interest from the beginning and led me to a conclusion unexpected. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story, not just mystery lovers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    P D James is always a winner

    I have been reading her novels for 30 years. This one is just as wonderful as all the others. She's a great writer. I recommend this book highly. And I recommend readers start a the beginning of her body of work and read through it in entirety. She's nearing the end of her career. She will be missed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    The title is appropriate & the cover picture is exactly how I pictured the "scene of the crime".

    I re-discovered PD James with this novel. Had read 1 of her novels years ago & remembered I had enjoyed it. All characters are well developed & the "mystery" involved always holds your attention. Her central character, Detective Adam Dalgliesh, is superb. Went out & bought 2 more books from this series. Also feel her use of language is part of the overall appeal of her books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    P.D. James in Top Form

    I was sorry that some reviewers had trouble with the wordiness of the book, but this is characteristic of the author. If you're looking for a cozy village mystery to be finished in an afternoon, her books are not for you! This novel, like her others, unfolds slowly, with plenty of character development and setting detail. I gave this four stars instead of five only because I found the resolution of the mystery a bit murky. But the journey through the book was still worth the read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    One of the better PD James stories

    Typical PD James style and substance. Similar to The Lighthouse in feel and overall a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    The Private Patient

    PD James remains in fine form in this murder mystery. As usual, in her books the interior life is every bit as important as the exterior one and while I did not find the "who done it" too much of a challenge, I appreciated the leisurely pace of the book. (I only wish she had turned more of an eye to countryside descriptions of the beautiful Dorset area)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A PRECISE, MODULATED READING

    London born actress Rosalyn Landor is the perfect choice to read a P. D. James mystery. The daughter of an actor/broadcaster Landor grew up with reading aloud, story telling, and that love for the spoken word is reflected in her voice performances. Her readings are well modulated, precise as she carries listeners along to what is in this case a surprising denouement.<BR/><BR/> What lover of mysteries has not read or at least heard of P.D. James? The author of 19 books she spent some 30 years in the British Civil Service and recently celebrated her 88th birthday. One of her many gifts to readers is the creation of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, a consummate investigator who is often given to Holmesian discussions as he presents his thoughts to various characters and suspects.<BR/><BR/> With The Private Patient we visit an impressive old house, Cheverell Manor in Dorset. Once a family home it was sold of necessity to an eminent plastic surgeon, George H. Chandler-Powell, who now operates it as a clinic for the privileged. Rhoda Gradwyn comes to him for the removal of a disfiguring facial scar. She's an investigative journalist (her work is similar to that of a reporter for a supermarket tabloid in the USA). She's with us only briefly as she's soon dead of strangulation, a murder committed by an unknown person wearing latex gloves.<BR/><BR/> While the crime most definitely has affected Rhoda, it also affects the good doctor as who would want to come to a clinic where a murder has just occurred? Commander Dalgliesh is summoned to investigate. He has a great deal to look into considering the clinic staff, the departed's boyfriend, and others who were a part of her life for good or ill.<BR/><BR/> Once again James treats us to her vivid descriptions of setting and extensive vocabulary - the perfect word for every thought and situation. A pleasure to read - do so slowly and savor this author's unique style.<BR/><BR/> - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    This is one of the shorter novels and my favorite

    Because it is also has the most humor! For p j james that is. Very few mystery writers can add humor into a mystery unless it is with a standard secondary cast member. Crispen can be very funny and often the humor is from an animal

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Awesome writer

    P.d. james is my new agatha christie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    book is slow

    really boring and slow

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