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Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries, No. 1) Paperback – May 8, 2001
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“One of the finest, most absorbing craftsmen of the profession.” (The Washington Post)
“One of the most chilling crime writers around.” (Observer)
"The greatest contemporary writer of classic crime." (The Sunday Times (London))
“A classic story of English rural murder.” (The Times (UK))
About the Author
P.D. James is the author of twenty previous books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great Britain's Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991 and was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008. She lives in London and Oxford.
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Top Customer Reviews
are one-dimensional, starting with the sleuth himself!
I just don't get it. The P.D. James' aura, I mean. Having read all of Christie's works I was ready and eager to be in awe of another mystery writer.
Instead, I found a predictable plot hiding behind pompous language. Christie's 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' was never that wobbly.
Despite this, I'll try her next book... If that one fails too, I'll just wait a couple of years so I can forget enough to re-read Christie's books.
The events of this tale unfold at Martingale, the country home of the Maxies, surrounded by various friends, household staff and other characters from neighboring towns such as Chadfleet New Town and convenient for visits to London proper. All is not harmony in this hamlet: Simon Maxie is on the verge of dying due to old age or associated illnesses; Eleanor Maxie is ever watchful and attentive to her husband's remaining needs; their adult children, Deborah and Stephen, are entangled in unfulfilling or unrequited relationships; several others are at an opening dinner where the entire group "had dined together too often to expect either novelty or stimulation from each other's company."
But hold on a minute! In their midst is a new staff member, Sally Jupp, with her out-of-wedlock newborn son, Johnny. A mischief-maker if ever there was one, Sally has possible designs, it would seem, on just about everybody. At the major Martingale mid-summer charity event Sally appears unexpectedly in a dress very much like the one Deborah is wearing and, as she ascends the staircase to her bedroom that evening, announces to everyone's surprise Stephen and she are engaged...
By next morning Sally has moved beyond these earthly confines, though quite obviously not according to her plan, and left little Johnny Jupp to jump for himself. And so enters Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh to sort through the various stories and figure out what's going on.
Along the way, P.D. James provides some real gems of sardonic send ups: for example, Dalgliesh who "merely craved simple English food properly cooked," is served by a Mrs. Piggot at the local Moonraker's Arms tavern among other delicacies a soup "thick enough to support the spoon unaided,...as startling to the palate as to the eye." For the main course among the legumes are "tinned peas larger and shinier than any peas which had ever seen pod." And dessert is tartly presented as an apple and black current pie "in which neither of the fruits had met each other nor pastry until they had been arranged on the plate by Mrs. Piggot's careful hand and liberally blanketed with synthetic custard."
Possibly skewering her own industry in another section, James characterizes a book group as "Select Books catered for that class of reader which likes a good story without caring much who writes it, prefers to be spared the tedium of personal choice, and believes that a bookcase of volumes equal in size and bound in exactly the same color gives tone to any room." The wit of this observation calls to mind the libraries of Jane Austin's early nineteenth century England in which James has set her latest work, "Murder Comes to Pemberley" (which I have reviewed in its Amazon location).
It is entertainment neatly packaged, delightful to curl up with a cup of something warm while traveling even if it's no further than to and from your favorite armchair.
Great writing and twists.