When two men are discovered, with their throats cut, in the vestry of St Matthew’s Church, the police are faced with an intriguing challenge for one of the victims was ex-Government minister Sir Paul Berowne, the other, Harry Mack, a local tramp and alcoholic.
For Commander Adam Dalgliesh, now heading a Scotland Yard unit set up to investigate politically sensitive crimes, the case is particularly affecting – he had known Berowne, and the minister had asked for his help regarding an anonymous letter shortly before his resignation.
Could the letter, implicating Berowne in the deaths of two women, be linked to the bodies in the vestry? How are Berowne’s wife and family involved – and what is the relationship between Berowne and the tramp?
Aided by Inspector Kate Miskin and Chief Inspector John Massingham, Dalgliesh must answer these questions to uncover the truth...
©1991 P.D. James (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
trying to see the world with my ears
I rated this as four stars after my first listen, but the novel not only stood up to a second listen, but improved. I had at first thought the novel would have been better off shorter (i.e. without its last section), but on second listen, it's length is integral to the novel and to later stories of A.D. and his team. I deliberately write "novel" rather than mystery because, as many of James' later works are described, this is a novel that just happens to be a mystery.
Jayston's narration style really suits James' writing, and there appears to be inside jokes for regular James readers as an added bonus. Also, rather than sounding dated, this comes across as a good portrait of early Thatcher Britain. James doesn't give her opinion on the time in a hamfisted manner; rather she lets the characters speak and act from their own social positions - so we get James' usual sharp psychological insight with social dynamics well-woven in the tale.
This is the best book James has written. Don't worry about the length, it never drags. What an in depth study in the aftermath of death. Mostly as it affects women.
It is not polished up and given a Hollywood ending. Best credit I have spent.
P.D.James develops her characters very well and sustains the suspense throughout the story.Michael Jayston is becomming one of my favourite narrators.He captures the characters nuances and verbal idiosycracies perfectly.I always know which character is speaking and can visualise the whole scene from his tone and accents.I found the ending a little disappointing but on the whole a very entertaining story.
Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.
She is the master and somehow her skill seems to reveal itself more in the audio format.
I read this book years ago but this recording still held me to the end. PD James has a special talent for telling you everything you need to know about a character in few words, and her characters are always three dimensional - the murder and mayhem always seem secondary to the intriguing relationships between her characters. Highly recommended
Retired "Okie" librarian & happy to have found Audible for good stories & staying in touch with new authors & books.
I enjoy listening to books more now than I do reading them. Maybe it's my age/eyesight or my lifestyle but I can listen and do other things. A Taste for Death and other PD James's books that I have listened to are intriguing enough and complex enough that I am interested enough to listen.
This book was published in 1991, times have changed in England; the class distinctions, security systems, communications, etc. but people's motivations, life cycles & responsibilities continue to be the same. For my listening taste there is nothing gruesome, trashy, and nasty to have to listen to or fast forward through. I save authors like PD James, Louise Penny, Ruth Rendell, & Simon Brett for times I want good writing, good stories and clean listening. The narration is spot on especially for the character Adam Dalgliesh.
The personal connection between Commander Dagleish and Sir Paul (victim) adds an interesting psychological layer to this case. Though the two men met on only a few occasions, they had an almost brotherly connection, which causes Dagleish to consider recusing himself from the case. Among their shared interests are poetry, art, and architecture, all of which feature prominently in the book. James' descriptions of the interiors of English houses and cathedrals would make A Taste for Death entertaining reading, even if there were no murders to solve. But there are - and the body count rises as the plot moves forward! Beautifully read by Michael Jayston.
Dependably intelligent. Who cares who did it, it's the descriptions of places and characters that make listening so entertaining.
Slow but riveting. I like her pacing of stories but my guess it is an acquired taste. The characters are interesting, plot is fresh. As always PD James resists cliches. Recommend it to anyone who is a fan of hers.,
The writing is great, the narration perfect, but the story is overwhelmed by the profound nihilism of the author. There is not one single likeable character. No one ever acts for decent reasons; everything is always a cold calculation. I found it very hard to care about the characters.
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