The Private Patient by P.D. James pleasantly surprised me. I had never read one of her books before and wasn’t completely sure I was going to like this one when I first started as the first few chapters are a bit slower. However it wasn’t long before the author had dragged me right into the heart of this British mystery and I was hooked.
This is an Adam Dalgliesh mystery and not the first one either-apparently it is the fourteenth one. Sheesh, where have I been? I plan on making time to fit a few more of them into my reading. Ideally I’d like to start from the first one and work my way through. They aren’t a fast-paced thriller by no means yet you can’t seem to keep yourself from reading more and wanting to find out what comes next.
This story starts out following Rhoda Gradwyn as she plans on having plastic surgery to remove a scar. She sees a top plastic surgeon, Dr. Chandler-Powell, and makes plans to have her surgery done at the Cheverell Manor. Her surgery goes off without a hitch but unfortunately she never gets to leave the Manor alive. Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate and while trying to figure out one murder, yet another occurs at the Manor.
I think what I found most interesting about this novel was the solving of the mystery itself. You, as the reader, are taken through all the procedures required to solve a crime not to mention insights into the psychological side of the suspect’s natures. Another thing I really enjoyed was that it is a British mystery and I love their use of language and their sayings; I always have. In addition the descriptions of the Dorset countryside leave you wanting to be able to see it and experience it all for yourself.
I can’t really say I had a favorite character as this is much more of a plot driven book than character driven although the author does a wonderful job of fully developing all her characters. That being said, with this only being my first Adam Dalgliesh mystery, I must say that I’m already partial to him.
The writing in the novel is great. P.D. James attention to details-even the smallest ones is just amazing. From the beginning I kept going back and forth on who might be the killer. Even at the end when I was pretty sure I knew who it was, I was still debating with myself. That’s what I call a good old-fashioned mystery that’s to be savoured page by page.
The Private Patient by P.D. James was released by Random House in hardcover on September 16, 2008, and will be released in paperback on March 31, 2009. I would absolutely recommend this Adam Dalgliesh mystery!
We tried a P.D. James book (The Lighthouse) for my book club once. We don’t usually read mystery so we gave it a shot. The Lighthouse was very dry and had a ridiculous ending.. (in my opinion) but I enjoyed the characters and would consider reading another one just for that reason.
I think a lot of people may find the British mysteries dry in the way they’re written. I found some sections like that but for the majority I really enjoyed the story and it could be I just enjoy that type of writing-not everyone does. I do like her characters though too Ti, especially Adam as I said. I look forward to trying another but I’ll shy away from the one you didn’t like.
Carrie K. says
I have enjoyed all of PD James’s books that I’ve read so far. You might try An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, which is the first in her Cordelia Grey mysteries.
I have a few PD James books in my TBR pile…I should get to them quicker rather than later. 🙂 Thanks for the review!
Literary Feline says
I’ve read the first two books in this series and really liked them. I hope to eventually get to the rest of the series. It sounds like she continues to get better and better. Great review!
Beth F says
I’ve read and enjoyed the first, um, 10 books in the series plus the Cordelia Grey series. I really like her books. I haven’t gotten to this one yet.
That’s great to see that you enjoyed this! I have the first in this series on my TBR shelves. I’m hoping I’ll get to it this year.
DeSeRt RoSe says
WOW you got me interested, I will check the first book in this series.. 🙂
I haven’t read any P. D. James in a while, but I always found her books to have slow starts – I always thought it was because there are so many characters in them – and satisfying endings. Great review.
I will have to check this author out on fantastic fiction so I can start at the beginning. This sounds like a good series..great review!
S. Krishna says
I’ve never read any PD James either but this sounds good – thanks for the review!
Wow, I love the cover of this book. Wouldn’t it be cool to walk around in that field (provided no one would bonk me over the head with a blunt object)? lol
Mysteries aren’t really my cup of tea but I wouldn’t mind getting lost in the Dorset countryside for awhile. I know what you mean about “English speak”, torch instead of flashlight, runners instead of sneakers. I love coming upon these little differences in language.
I know there are a lot of people who have a favorite detective series and read all of them. I usually pick and choose based on the premise. And I’m always fascinated with the ones that involve plastic surgery for some reason!
I havent read this author before, but this does sound very good! Its always nice when a book can really grab your attention and not let go.
Great review 😉
Wow. Dar … I haven’t read any P.D. James. I think I am now interested. Thanks for the great review.
Teddy Rose says
I added your link to the ARC Challenge post.
Sounds like an interesting way to write a mystery! Glad you enjoyed it, I’ve heard a bit about her recently so I might try one of her earlier books someday soon.
wow, I haven't read P.D. James for years, don't even remember why I stopped. got caught up in other things, I guess. Your review is teriffic, maybe I should put this on the tbr list. I think this is the book they are talking about in the mystery discussion group at B&N. Do you ever go there? Becke is a great moderator and I think she has read close to every mystery on the planet, lol, or so it seems.
I haven’t ever read any PD James books. It sounds like fun though, and I love British expressions too!
Scrap girl says
I have never read any PD James,but thats probably because over here, we grew up watching Adam Dalgleish on television. These mysteries were on weekly. Your review really took me back.
I started the Adam Dalgleish series with a random one as well. Now I really want to start reading them in order!
Linda Jacobs says
I’ve never read P.D. James but your review has really piqued my interest.
I have to admit that I never liked Brittish books but, after visiting England a couple years ago, I totally changed my mind.
I’m thinking our library should have this one and will look for it the next time I’m there.
Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books says
Don’t you love a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end … and then offers a satisfying (believable) ending!?
Carrie K, thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a look at that one.
Wendy & Beth, it's nice to hear from others who have read her books and liked them. Thanks.
Joy, I'm curious to see what you'd think of one of her books. Hopefully you get to them this year.
Desert Rose, Swapna, Sam, Naida, Toni —thanks 🙂
Kathy, yes that's why I think I found the beginning slow. So many characters were being introduced but once you get a handle on them, the story flows.
Wanda, I really loved the cover of this book as well. It was what first attracted me.
Lenore, I like thrillers revolving around plastic surgery too. I don't know why though.
Kaye, no I've never checked out the mystery discussion at B&N but I could certainly see this novel being a good one for discussion.
Alyce, the British expressions were half the charm for me.
Scrap Girl, that's cool that you got to watch these mysteries on tv. I imagine they were based on the books.
Eva, yes I would have preferred to read them in order so you get to know the characters better but I guess it's better to be introduced to what you think is a good book at any time in the series and just go back to the beginning from there.
Linda, the library may not yet have the newest one or it may have holds but I bet they have the older ones.
Dawn, that's another thing I would have to say about this story-it was beievalbe and I do find that more satisfying.
J. Kaye says
I had to laugh at your discovery of how many books this author has put out. I was aware, but haven’t read one as of yet. I doubt I will have time this year.
I need to start reading PD James. I know so many who love this author. This book looks good. Thanks for the great review.
Isn’t it great when a book you are not sure of turns out to be so great?! That’s one of the things I love about reviewing – finding new authors and books that I may not have taken the time with previously! Great review!
J.Kaye, I was shocked. How come I never heard of her before? Not knowing but I will read more. Probably not this year but I will.
April, I agree. I’ve found so many great new authors through blogging and it’s just great. I would never have known they existed without the wonderful world of blogging. My tbr pile would be a whole lot smaller though. lol.
I’ve never read this author, but after your review, I hope to get a chance to do so. Thanks for making me aware of this series.
Diary of an Eccentric
I should give P.D. James another try! I have found her old-fashioned in the past, but I suspect I was also reading books that she’d written decades ago.
Anna, your welcome. I’d never heard of the series before. I’m glad I read it.
Avis, you know her stories are old-fashioned even now I think. For me though, that was part of the charm.
everyone has been raving about P.D. James and I have not read one of her books. This one looks good.
Diane, now that I’ve discovered her books I’m certainly hearing more about them too. They aren’t face paced or anything but still good. I like that once in a while.