Death in Holy Orders. P. D. James, author (2001). We can call this “finding hidden treasure.” The ebook was on sale, so I decided I wanted the ebook version. (I did the same with Heinlein’s Podkayne recently.) I took a look and became pleasantly surprised when I realized that this was one book in the Adam Dalgliesh series (#11) that I missed. I read so many books that they become fuzzy if cherished memories in my mind, especially in a series where you have a strong main character like Commander Dalgliesh.
The book is in James’s verbose and very English style (that was a turnoff for me in the much shorter sci-fi story Children of Men). It’s filled with excess narrative (like Christie, she hides the clues among the verbose weeds), but I’m always a sucker for British mystery, the DS, DCI, and, in this case, Commander-ranked agents and detectives in London’s Metropolitan Police AKA Scotland Yard. Christie’s detectives Miss Marple v. Poirot were different; they were both private citizens, one a meddling spinster and the other a PI. The crime is still murder, though—in the case of this novel, multiple ones. We peer back a little bit into Dalgliesh’s past and into the pasts of many of the suspects’, as well as the victims’, dark pasts in some cases.
The setting is a struggling divinity school. For a while I couldn’t figure out whether it was Roman Catholic or Anglican, but no matter (I still don’t know, but it seems like it’s Anglican in the RC tradition, whatever that means). The characters are complex and interesting and woven with skill into the complex plot and seaside scenes of the story. James has Dalgliesh performing his usual methodical sleuthing. It’s an interesting read albeit a bit too long and verbose.
This novel generated a bit of nostalgia. I was reminded how P. D. James and other English mystery writers, Christie included, influenced my own writing in the upcoming Rembrandt’s Angel, which can be partly considered an homage to these great English writers who have entertained me. Of course, I minimized the verbiage a wee bit, following my minimalist writing tendencies, but Esther Brookstone, a Scotland Yard inspector, and Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, stubbornly plow into a case like Miss Marple and Poirot…or Dalgliesh. I hope you have as much fun reading about their adventures as I did (and you will) reading this one.
Coming soon! Gaia and the Goliaths has environmental issues as a theme, but Chen and Castilblanco still have to solve a crime. #7 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series” starts out with the murder of an environmental activist on a street in Manhattan. As the detectives pursue the investigation, they discover that the activist’s boyfriend is also a target. His activity overseas leads to the conclusion that there is a conspiracy involving an American energy company, a Putin surrogate, and an old nemesis. This new novel will be available in all ebook formats.
In libris libertas!