fredag den 6. august 2010

P.D. James, The Private Patient (2008)

This police procedural is the forteenth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I bought the book myself.

My bait quotation has given you some kind of insight in the bleak childhood of Rhoda Gradwyn, the victim of the novel. The incident leaves her with an ugly, facial scar, and perhaps it has also left a lasting stamp on her personality: “Probing into other people´s secrets became a lifelong obsession, the substratum and direction of her whole career.”

Rhoda Gradwyn is excellent at probing and has a splendid career as a journalist, but one suspects the quotation is more sinister than that. When the plot begins, she has finally decided to have her scar removed with the following explanation to the surgeon “because I no longer have need of it.” A very private person who no longer feels she needs a disfigurement to keep people at a distance?

She chooses one of England´s best plastic surgeons, giving her an opportunity to stay at his private Dorset clinic, Cheverell Manor. The operation is a success, but before she has a chance to recover and enjoy her new face, Rhoda is murdered, and everybody connected with the small private clinic in Dorset turns into a suspect. Deftly, P.D. James portrays the staff from the successful surgeon Chandler-Powell to the smallest kitchen maid, plus the Manor and the prehistoric stone circle in the vicinity. They all have secrets which must be revealed, some insignificant, others solid motives for murder, and as usual the police work is in the capable hands of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, DI Kate Miskin and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith.

This novel is not a fast-paced thriller but a solid, British mystery written by an expert who takes her time to let the characters and the environment unfold, very successfully on the whole, though there is stil a thing or two I would have liked to know. And the language is – as always - an exquisite treat.

6 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this fine review. You are right that P.D. James' use of language is extraordinary. It doesn't matter that a book such as this isn't fast-paced; one of the real delights is in the characters and their interactions.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: this is not a book you can rush through, but again that is because her vocabulary is so large I actually have to *think* once in a while :D

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Thanks for remind me of this fine book. Dorte. Can only but agree with you about her language. A delighful reading.

R/T sagde ...

I shall have to return to P. D. James, an author I abandoned--for no particular reason--ten or twelve years ago. Perhaps I'm missing something worthwhile.

Kelly sagde ...

I knew that quote was familiar!! I've read this!

Yes, it was certainly a good one. (I'm still marveling at the fact I've read one of your "bait" choices!)
: )

Dorte H sagde ...

Jose: do you read her books in English or Spanish?

R.T: as a teacher, I really think you´d appreciate her nuanced and delicious language.

Kelly: congratulations! One point to Kelly :D