"Brilliant. . . . A jewel in [James's] crown." —Pittsburg-Post Gazette
"No one is better than James at maintaining this tension between the cozy and the frightful." —The Washington Post
"[James is] a master. . . . Nothing is as it first appears." —The Boston Globe
"[I]intricately plotted and suspenseful.... James' clear-eyed, often sardonic prose describes rooms and people exactly as she sees them." —Providence Journal
"Elegant . . . compelling. . . . Continues the James tradition. . . . She comfortably tackles timeless concerns." —Chicago Tribune
"The ghost of literature past haunts P.D. James' newest novel. . . . The novel's pointed descriptions, its gothic settings, and its theme exploring the insidious legacies of family and class violence suggest Charles Dickens may have rested a hand on James' shoulder while she wrote this terrific literary mystery." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"James is a wonderful writer." —Chicago Sun-Times
"James is in excellent form. . . . [She] offers her readers intelligence, wisdom, dry humor, knowledge both deep and wide-ranging, humanity, compassion, understanding and a wonderful way with words. . . . James is one of Britain's greatest living writers." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The traditional comforts of the British country house mysterypuzzling plot, attractive setting, brainy detective, interesting charactersspill from P. D. James's latest novel, The Private Patient, like harvest bounty from a cornucopia.
The New York Times
The latest (and perhaps final) mystery featuring Cmdr. Adam Dalgliesh of the Metropolitan Police Service finds him preparing to confront crucial turning points in his life and career. Meanwhile, he must solve the murder of a ruthlessly inquisitive investigative journalist who was killed in a private Dorset clinic just hours after a pre-eminent plastic surgeon removed her disfiguring facial scar. Dalgliesh and his team unearth a plethora of motives (and an ugly secret or three) as they investigate the inhabitants of the secluded manor that houses the clinic. Rosalyn Landor's lovely, well-bred tones add warmth, color and precision to this fully rounded, compassionately told mystery. She gives every character his or her own voice, clearly delineating gender, age and social class. Her voice combines with James's text to lend sympathy to each character, regardless of what sins he or she may have committed. In every way, this is a perfect auditory experience. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 22). (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A new P.D. James novel feels as if a complex and lovely gift has been bestowed upon the reader. With this 14th novel featuring Adam Dalgliesh, there is a definite sense of closure. Investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrives at the beautiful Cheverell Manor in Dorset, owned by famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, to undergo a relatively routine surgical procedure to remove a facial scar and enjoy a private week of recovery. The next day, after a successful surgery, Rhoda is murdered in her room. Commander Dalgliesh and his usual team, Det. Inspector Kate Miskin and Sgt. Francis Benton-Smith, are summoned. As with any James novel, the manor's inhabitants are an insular, odd group requiring Dalgliesh to unravel a tangled mix of motivations in order to flush out the murderer. The end result is satisfying, if not bittersweet, for both Dalgliesh and the reader. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/08.]
Andrea Y. Griffith
Lg. Prt.: 978-0-7393-2820-0
James's 18th novel revisits familiar ground—an insular social setting disrupted by a shocking murder—with consummate artistry.
For 34 years Rhoda Gradwyn has carried the legacy of her father's abuse in the form of a disfiguring facial scar. Now a distinguished investigative journalist, she decides to have it removed because, as she tells Harley Street plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, "I no longer have need of it." The operation, performed in the surgeon's private clinic in Cheverell Manor, is successful, but it still proves fatal for Rhoda, who's strangled the following night. The murder scene, as usual in James (The Lighthouse, 2005, etc.), is thick with likely suspects and motives. Rhoda's friend Robin Boyton, who recommended the clinic, is convinced that his cousins, assistant surgeon Marcus Westhall and his sister Candace, cheated Robin out of his rightful inheritance. Helena Haverland, the clinic's general administrator, is still smarting over her family's loss of Cheverell Manor to Chandler-Powell. Head nurse Flavia Holland is maddened by spurned love. Kitchen helper Robin Bateman is hiding a dire secret. Nor does anyone seem to mourn a woman who made her living by exposing unsavory secrets. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called away from a meeting with his prospective father-in-law, and his colleagues uncover a series of red herrings as ritualistically as Hercule Poirot, but with a great deal more psychological nuance, before the killer, who could be practically anyone, is finally unmasked.
Middling work for the peerless James, a whodunit as deeply shadowed by mortality as all Dalgliesh's cases ever since Shroudfor a Nightingale (1971).
First printing of 300,000. Book-of-the-Month Club and Mystery Guild main selections