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The Private Patient | [P. D. James]

The Private Patient

Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recuperating. Two days later she was dead, the victim of murder.
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Publisher's Summary

Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recuperating.

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

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4.0 (289 )
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  •  
    R. Sentman Savannah, GA 12-12-08
    R. Sentman Savannah, GA 12-12-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Problem with narrator."

    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.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Greenwich, CT, USA 01-15-10
    Julia Greenwich, CT, USA 01-15-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Narrator is a problem"

    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

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Coral Gables, FL, USA 04-10-09
    James Coral Gables, FL, USA 04-10-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a disappointing PD James novel"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. W. Norman Morrison, Co United States 12-18-08
    T. W. Norman Morrison, Co United States 12-18-08 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The music of her words"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel vienna, ME, USA 01-04-09
    Daniel vienna, ME, USA 01-04-09

    like historical fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "need Jenny Sterlin"

    The reader ruins the book, unfortunately. Jenny Sterlin would be a good choice for future James.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 12-09-08
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 12-09-08 Member Since 2003

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "James does not disappoint"

    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!


    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Therese Calgary, AB, Canada 09-24-12
    Therese Calgary, AB, Canada 09-24-12 Member Since 2008
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    "grim stuff..."

    starts to pick up once Dalgleish shows up, but an unfortunately flat, clinical atmosphere (not unlike the cover image)....

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth BURBANK, CA, United States 06-08-12
    Elizabeth BURBANK, CA, United States 06-08-12 Member Since 2010

    I record audiobooks for Librivox.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This P. D James's most frightening tale"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon West Monroe, LA, United States 05-23-13
    Sharon West Monroe, LA, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2009

    Humanitarian Aid Worker living in Central Asia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Adam Dalgliesh!"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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