P.D. James is not simply a "whodunit?" type of writer, she adds so much cynicism and insight that her books have so much depth as a result. Adam Dalgleish is visiting his late aunt's windmill and cottage and is drawn into a murder spree revolving around the East Anglian seaside. The nuclear power plant dominates the scene, and casts a gloomy shadow over the setting of the novel. James is as incisive as ever, studying the motivations of all the suspects involved, but also peering disturbingly into their personal lives and all the inner demons which haunt many of them. Certainly there are many red herrings in this book, it adds to the enjoyment, and the ending was unexpected (which is something I always expect from P.D. James!) James is unsentimental in her portrayals; the misguided Hilary Robarts, the secret between the Mair siblings, Meg's escaping from the political correctness of her previous life, Blaney's wretched existence with four children, the somewhat pathetic anti-nuclear pamphleteer, and so on. The minor characters, from some of the early victims of the Whistler, to the Sgt. Oliphant of the local police who would be a scary fellow to be interrogated by, come to life in these pages and again add much depth to this novel. If one is starting out with P.D. James, this book is a great place to start. It's where I did, and I've read them all since I was captivated this first time.
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