An Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Set in her beloved East Anglia, Death in Holy Orders is the 14th novel in P. D. James' Adam Dalgliesh series and a thrilling work of crime fiction filled with intrigue and suspense.
Death in Holy Orders is set in an Anglican theological college on a desolate stretch of the East Anglian coast, a location which she has made particularly her own.
When the body of one of the students is found on the shore smothered by a fall of sand, his wealthy father demands that Scotland Yard reexamines the verdict of accidental death. Dalgliesh has visited St. Anselm's in his boyhood and, as he is due for a holiday, agrees to pay a visit, expecting no more than a nostalgic return to old haunts and a straightforward examination of the evidence given at the inquest. Instead he finds himself embroiled in one of the most horrific and puzzling cases of his career. Other visitors come to the college on the weekend of his arrival, not all of them with benign intent. One will never leave it alive.
Death in Holy Orders, a masterly exploration of an isolated and beleaguered community coping with the evil and disruption of murder, has all the qualities which distinguish P. D. James as a novelist: the sensitive evocation of place, a complex and credible mystery, respect for forensic detail, and the tension of a plot that never flags.
P. D. James was a best-selling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray and their long, successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).
James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy, and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983, and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected president of the Society of Authors and stood down from this role in 2013.
©2001 P.D. James (P)2015 Faber Audio
"At the height of her powers...thoroughly gripping." (Guardian)
"A grand gothic novel of gut-wrenching suspense, satisfying at all levels.... Nobody can put the reader in the eye of a storm quite like P. D. James" (Sunday Express)
"Death in Holy Orders is pure pleasure." (Spectator)
"It is a long time since I submerged myself in a book with such blissful enjoyment." (Country Life)
Author of Bonfire of the Past a market town murder mystery. Who killed Cristobel Sabine and why?
I read Death in Holy Orders when first published in hardback. It was a pleasure to revisit such a powerful work in narrated form; James excels at creating a closed environment where characters are at odds with each other. The ecclesiastical background is novel and fascinating; high Anglican church rituals and modes of thought are unlike everyday life yet characters still exhibit human flaws. James is famous for the vivid way she includes the east coast landscape into her books, and rightly so.
Adam Dalgleish though it is difficult to imagine he is actually a policeman; perhaps he should have followed in his father's footsteps and become a vicar. There are times when he seems to good to be a real human being but perhaps this is what readers want, a high ranking officer, whose values will not be compromised and whose sensitivity is displayed by his love of literature.
Daniel Weyman is by far and away the best narrator I have listened to so far in my experience of listening to the audible.co catalogue. He has a range of different 'voices' which suit each character so well. I enjoyed his 'voicing' of Dalgleish who might be made to sound pompous in dialogue alone but Weyman brought a human touch to his speech, making him a more sympathetic character.
Not one moment in particular; but James's pace is swift, her description vivid and her plotting as detailed as a hand woven tapestry.
This murder mystery is perfect to be listened to on a chilly evening under the duvet with the wind howling outside.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. PDJames' novels work well as audio books. Clearly articulated here. I look forward to the next one. Not all readers are as easy to listen to.
Decent Adam Dalglish romp spoiled by the narrator's apparent lack of basic ecclesiastical knowledge which manifests itself in the constant mispronunciation of standard ecclesiastical terms, particularly Compline which rhymes with bin NOT dine. As the term is used frequently in this story it is really irritating and spoils the performance.
A superb plot with a wonderfully evocative setting and atmosphere. My only criticism is that so many authors feel it necessary to include blasphemy in an attempt to reflect our culture today. Thankfully, in this work, it is used more sparingly than elsewhere. The reader has done an excellent job.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.