P. D. James, The Private Patient: Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Reviews

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“The Private Patient ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 16/11/2008

The Private Patient
P.D. James
Knopf, Nov 19 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 0307270777

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.

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.

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.

Harriet Klausner

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“P.D. James has done it again, she's written another...”


written by GERBAM on 08/11/2008

P.D. James has done it again, she's written another mystery that is gripping and pulls readers in with the first sentence. She sets the scene for a murder but it doesn't happen right away. The build-up creates tension and suspense especially since readers don't know when or how the crime will occur. But not to worry, James's series' characters Adam Dalgleish, Kate Mishkin and Benson-Smith are sent from London to Dorset to discover whodunit. This action is unusual in that local police usually tough it out on their own turf. But someone pulled strings which motivated the 'big guys' to call in the best ... Commander Dalgleish. He has years of experience and the trust of Scotland Yard. The read is one that is totally enjoyable for fans and readers new to P.D. James.
Reviewer Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum

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