Synopses & Reviews
From the award-winning master of literary crime fiction, a classic work rich in tense drama and psychological insight.
On the East Anglian seacoast, a small theological college hangs precariously on an eroding shoreline and an equally precarious future. When the body of a student is found buried in the sand, the boys influential father demands that Scotland Yard investigate. Enter Adam Dalgliesh, a detective who loves poetry, a man who has known loss and discovery. The son of a parson, and having spent many happy boyhood summers at the school, Dalgliesh is the perfect candidate to look for the truth in this remote, rarified community of the faithful-and the frightened. And when one death leads to another, Dalgliesh finds himself steeped in a world of good and evil, of stifled passions and hidden pasts, where someone has cause not just to commit one crime but to begin an unholy order of murder. . . .
“Gracefully sculpted prose and [a] superbly executed mystery . . . Death in Holy Orders is among [Jamess] most remarkable and accomplished Dalgliesh novels.”
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
“An elegant work about hope, death, and the alternately redemptive and destructive nature of love.”
-The Miami Herald
“Absorbing . . . [Jamess] plotting and characterization [are] impeccable.”
“P. D. James is in top form.”
-The Boston Globe
Open the exclusive dossier at the back of this book, featuring P. D. James essay on penning the perfect detective novel.
The setting itself is elemental P. D. James: the bleak coast of East Anglia, where atop a sweep of low cliffs stands the small theological college of St. Anselm's. On the shore not far away, smothered beneath a fall of sand, lies the body of one of the school's young ordinands. He is the son of Sir Alred Treves, a hugely successful and flamboyant businessman who is accustomed to getting what he wants--and in this case what he wants is Commander Adam Dalgliesh to investigate his son's death. Although there seems to be little to investigate, Dalgliesh agrees, largely out of nostal-gia for several happy summers he spent at St. Anselm's as a boy. No sooner does he arrive, however, than the college is torn apart by a sacrilegious and horrifying murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself ineluctably drawn into the labyrinth of an intricate and violent mystery.
Here P. D. James once more demonstrates her unrivalled skill in building a classic detective story into a fully realized novel, gripping as much for its psychological and emotional richness as for the originality and complexity of its plotting--and, of course, for the horror and suspense at its heart. Filled with unforgettable characters, brilliant in its evocation of the East Anglian scene and the religious background against which the action takes place, Death in Holy Orders again offers proof, if proof were needed, that P. D. James is not only the reigning master of the crime novel but also, simply, one of the finest novelists writing today.
"From the Hardcover edition."
The untimely death of a young priest in training draws Commander Adam Dalgliesh back to East Anglia to investigate at the request of the young man's father, as Dalgliesh finds himself drawn into a complex and violent mystery. Reissue. 15,000 first printing.
About the Author
P.D. James is the author of sixteen previous 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 eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest
From the Paperback edition.