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.