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The Private Patient Paperback – International Edition, March 31, 2009
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“Although she tackles contemporary social issues with relish, James will still use old-fashioned narrative devices dating back to the golden age of crime fiction. That’s because they still work.” –Calgary Herald
“Her skill and vitality are not diminished . . . The Private Patient is classic James.” –Scotsman
“This is a book about the way we live now . . . James brings a stinging clarity to the complicated goings-on in the Dorset countryside” –The Sunday Times
“Elegantly phrased, plot-driven, multi-layered and laced with menace.” –Observer
“P. D. James — in the eyes of many admirers the world’s finest living crime novelist.” –The Windsor Star
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
P. D. James is the author of 18 books, most of which have been filmed for television. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honours, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she celebrated her 80th birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
From the Hardcover edition.
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I'll be ready to reread the novels, this time in order, in a matter of another few months. I can't say that about many of the best mystery writers -- certainly not Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie, or even some of Dorothy Sayers' novels. Incidentally, I do include the brilliant spy novels of Alan Furst -- whose books I'm about to start all over again, having just finished his latest. James and Furst understand that, even in plot-driven novels, the interior lives of the characters are what make their books memorable.
However, what is indeed outstanding is the character development of most of the players. Ms. James' narrative and descriptive powers are par excellence, and thoroughly enjoyable. Some scenes sound as if you are there yourself. She has also kept up with the changes in the society and the technology, which is quite creditable.
She also does a fine job of describing the passage of the English country life into history and it's rebirth into something more sustainable. This is happening in India as well, where old Havelis and palaces are being converted to heritage hotels - the heirs simply do not have the surplus to maintain these garangutan places.
All in all, quite enjoyable. I had a good time.