©1980 P.D. James; (P)1990 BBC Audiobooks Limited
P.D. James is a masterful author. She writes with a sense of character deeper than most of the "mystery" genre authors. In Innocent Blood, an early work of hers, she paints a picture of people so real you think you know them. There is no real mystery here, no detective and the only murder occurred years earlier. Still, it is with a sense of anticipation one listens as the story concludes. If you like character development and the suspense genre, you can't do better than most P.D. James novels, and this is one of the best.
Although an amateur of P:D.James, I cannot really recommend this book. The plot is fairly thin and very many descriptions of street scenes etc. are inserted. I got the impression this was done just to get the book to the required number of pages. A pity. Next time better.
As always, Michael Jayston is superb. The book, though, is disappointing. The plot creaks, and developments and background often seem rather implausible. There is also a pervasive tone of creepiness I don't associate with PD James; it reminded me of Ruth Rendell's Judgment in Stone, amazingly creepy but far more successfully so (made into a terrific French movie called La Ceremonie).
"Not the best.."
Having read and enjoyed many of P.D. James works I was somewhat disappointed with the pace of 'Innocent Blood'. The story was promising and character development as thorough as ever but the overall impression was one of much promised but not delivered. The build to the conclusion of the novel seemed overly slow and I suspect many listeners will be able to guess the ending. My recommendation would be to try one of the shorter offerings by this author - many of which are outstanding.
"Something different but still brilliant"
If nothing else this novel proves that P.D. James can write mysteries that don't feature Adam Dalgliesh and still thrill her readers. Not her usual style but enjoyable all the same, though if you are a die-hard detective fan then perhaps this strange but nevertheless suspenseful story isn't for you.
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