fredag den 13. november 2009

P.D. James, Death of an Expert Witness (1977)


[Dansk titel: Mord på laboratoriet, 1979]

This crime novel is the sixth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. Even though this story begins with a body in a clunch field, the main setting is Hoggatt´s, the Forensic Science Laboratory in the fen, the staff and all the people who are connected to this old institution one way or the other.

We meet the newly-appointed director, Maxim Howarth, self-confident and single but living together with his strong, independent sister (not unlike Alix and Alice Mair in Devices and Desires). Important staff members are laid-back, well-meaning Dr Middlemass and Dr Lorrimer, hated and despised by most of his colleagues, except young Brenda Pridmore, the enthusiastic receptionist. Dr Howarth´s secretary, Angela Foley and her friend, Stella Mawson also play important parts in this intricate mystery.

So this rather closed setting around the forensic lab is one of the really strong points of this novel. Well-drawn characters that I remember, not necessarily because they are likeable, but because they are so human, and as usual P.D. James has constructed a complex plot, worthy of Dalgliesh´s experience, which is not solved until the very last pages.

9 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Thanks, Dorte, for reminding us of this one : ). I've always liked those "closed environments," because they allow the author to really develop the characters and focus the reader on their relationships. It also allows for some real intellectual challenges.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

I *have* read this one. :) I just didn't remember the details. Which means I get to read it again as if it were the first time! Yay!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot and Elizabeth: just a brief thank you. Thought I would have time for a proper blog round tonight, but my children wanted to watch "Lewis" on TV so I have been distracted .. ;D

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Gee! I'm proud. Thanks Dorte. By the way Devices and desires is my favourite.

Dorte H sagde ...

Jose: You are welcome.
I am glad you like P.D. James, and I agree that Devices and Desires is one of her really good novels.

Martin Edwards sagde ...

A very good book, I thought. I'm currently reading her new study, Talking About Detective Fiction, in which she reiterates how important setting is for her as a writer and reader.

Dorte H sagde ...

Martin: I am glad you also like P.D. James. She was among the first handful of British writers that really impressed me.

Perhaps I should add her new book to my Christmas wish list.

Julia Smith sagde ...

A very simple but creepy cover. I haven't read any P.D. James but I'm rather certain I'd love the series adaptation.

Dorte H sagde ...

Julia: thank you. Yes, I think you would!