Two days later she was dead, the victim of murder. To Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who with his team is called in to investigate the case, the mystery at first seems absolute. Few things about it make sense. Yet as the detectives begin probing the lives and backgrounds of those connected with the dead woman the surgeon, members of the manor staff, close acquaintances suspects multiply all too rapidly. New confusions arise, including strange historical overtones of madness and a lynching 350 years in the past. Then there is a second murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself confronted by issues even more challenging than innocence or guilt.
P. D. James has gained an enviable reputation for creating detective stories of uncommon depth and intricacy, combined with the sort of humanity and perceptiveness found only in the finest novelists. The Private Patient ranks among her very best.
©2008 P.D. James; (P)2008 Random House Audio
She's good with the female voices, but the male voices tend to sound similar, very precise and even stuffy (including Dalgleish). Wish Charles Keating was still reading James; I thought he did an excellent job with The Lighthouse.
Agree with other reviewers that the narrator does not do justice to the male characters, especially. Inspector Dalgliesh sounds much more pompous than I have to believe the author intended. It can also be hard to differentiate between characters. Plot started well but didn't hold too much suspense after 2/3 complete, then it is just winding the story down. Having read all the Dalgliesh books, this was a disappointment
As an avid reader (or rather listener) of PD James novels I feel compelled to write this negative review. The plot is well developed and holds your interest but there is so much padding and rambling about foodstuffs and other irrelevant topics, you feel like asking the author to get on with the story. Worst of all is the narrator and the dreadful snobbish and in my experience false English accents we have to endure.
After getting past the narrator's inability to capture what I feel AD should sound like, this is another of the wonderful books by PD James that I enjoy listening to. The audio version allows me to listen to the symphony PD James composes with her words. Listening to the side descriptions that set up the plot is a joy. For some reason I miss this when I read the same material. Not many writers can capture me like this.
I have been waiting for the latest P.D. James for quite a while. James is one of the authors whose books I download automatically with no need to sample.
"The Private Patient" is the ultimate P.D. James. First, she brings on her customary detail in setting the scene and creating sense of place. Then the characters appear, with their individual quirks, eccentricities and baggage, including motive, means, and opportunity. P.D. James writes a novel that just happens to be a mystery, not the other way around, and her narrative is full of emotional nuance and relatable situational backstories.
I have only one suggestion that would enhance the reader's experience: give us a "Cast of Characters" and a one-liner about the history of each one.
On the whole, Bravo!
I love P.D. James despite some irritating things that persist book after book. I don't really need to bear witness to every single shower her characters take -- I'd be happy to stipulate to their probable adequate personal hygiene. And she always must bounce in at least one character I'd be willing to kill myself.
Of course, I'll go on reading (or listening) as the good far outweighs the bad.At least "The Private Patient"'s annoying characters aren't as bad as that awful cleaning woman and her thuggy sidekick who nearly ruined the wonderful "Murder Room" whining about her cottage, or the truly creepy incestuous pair that almost spoilt the excellent "Death in Holy Orders".
I liked her voice, and she didn't ham it up. As for Dalgleish, I think she read him right -- pretentious, just a bit arrogant and dare I say boring.
I record audiobooks for Librivox.
P. D. James is one of those authors that describes things so well you could listen to her describe a flower pot. This book has some terrifying moments and I detected a slight gothic feeling much like the "Black Tower." Some things were not explained at the end and the murderer was revealed quite a while from the end. Partly this was due to James's wish to not be confused with Agatha Christie. Her books never have the fantastic endings of a Christie novel and are in fact not her strongest point. It is the journey not the destination that is key.
Humanitarian Aid Worker living in Central Asia.
I am not sure if this is Adam Dalgliesh's last appearance, I sure hope not. I will miss P.D. James' mysteries. This was not the best of her books but a satisfying listen with good narration and an interesting story with lots of characters that were easy to keep straight.
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