Wednesday, April 29, 2009
44. The Private Patient
Rated 4.5 Stars
I almost gave up on this book after just a few pages because Ms. James is one of those authors who describe everything in minute detail when setting a scene. I usually find that tiresome. But in the interest of giving the book a fair try I decided to hang in there until page 50 at least and was very glad that I did. It turned out to be a gripping page turner and I highly recommend it to fans of good mystery stories.
LIBRARY SUMMARY: Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recuperating. Two days later she was dead, the victim of murder. To Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who with his team is called in to investigate the case, the mystery at first seems absolute. Few things about it make sense. Yet as the detectives begin probing the lives and backgrounds of those connected with the dead woman—the surgeon, members of the manor staff, close acquaintances—suspects multiply all too rapidly. New confusions arise, including strange historical overtones of madness and a lynching 350 years in the past. Then there is a second murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself confronted by issues even more challenging than innocence or guilt. P. D. James has gained an enviable reputation for creating detective stories of uncommon depth and intricacy, combined with the sort of humanity and perceptiveness found only in the finest novelists.The Private Patientranks among her very best.