The Resource Death in holy orders, P.D. James

Death in holy orders, P.D. James

Label
Death in holy orders
Title
Death in holy orders
Statement of responsibility
P.D. James
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
The untimely death of a young priest in training draws Commander Adam Dalgliesh back to East Anglia to investigate at the request of the young man's father, as Dalgliesh finds himself drawn into a complex and violent mystery
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • With her fascination for murder within tightly knit communities, it seems surprising that James waited until her fifteenth novel to look for trouble within the clergy. You won’t find a more tightly knit community than a Church of England theological college, especially one like the fictional St. Anselm’s, located on the wild East Anglian coast, and you certainly won’t find a cast of characters with more repressed passions and seething emotions than a group of aging priests and young ordinands. When one of those ordinands turns up dead on the beach--ruled an accident but looking more like suicide--the young man’s industrialist father senses a cover-up and asks for an investigation. Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh has ties to East Anglia, and even to St. Anselm’s, where he spent summers as a boy, so he volunteers to look into the matter informally. On the heels of Dalgliesh’s arrival, however, a visiting priest (who supports shutting down the college) is murdered in the chapel, necessitating a full-scale investigation. James makes the most of her setting, giving us fascinating backstory on the priests, their students, and various visitors to the college--most of whom have sufficient motives for murder. Longtime fans of the series will be especially pleased to find that Dalgliesh emerges from the ordeal with the possibility of a serious romance on the horizon. This isn’t the best James novel--there is perhaps a bit too much reliance on formula here and slightly less on the nuances of character--but that said, the chance to spend another few hours with the ever-shrewd, melancholy Dalgliesh remains something to savor. (Reviewed March 15, 2001) -- Bill Ott
  • Baroness James may have turned 80, but neither she nor her dogged Scotland Yard detective Commander Adam Dalgliesh (last seen in 1997's A Certain Justice) shows any sign of flagging in this superb whodunit, with its extraordinarily complex and nuanced plot and large cast of credible characters. When the body of a young ordinand, Ronald Treeves, turns up buried in a sandy bank on the Suffolk coast near isolated St. Anselm's, a High Anglican theological college, it's unclear whether his death was an accident, suicide or murder. The mystery deepens a few days later when someone suffocates Margaret Munroe, a retired nurse with a bad heart, because she remembers an event 12 years earlier that could have some bearing on whatever's amiss at St. Anselm's. Enter Dalgliesh at the behest of Ronald's father, Sir Alred, who's received an anonymous note suggesting foul play in his son's death. It isn't long before another death occurs, and this time it's clearly murder: late one night in the chapel, somebody bashes in the head of Archdeacon Crampton, a hard-nosed outsider who wanted to close St. Anselm's. Dalgliesh and his investigative team examine the complicated motives of a host of suspects resident at the college, mostly ordinands and priests, slowly unveiling the connections among the various deaths. Illegitimacy, incest, a secret marriage, a missing cloak and a valuable altar triptych are just some of the ingredients in a case as contrived as any Golden Age classic but presented with such masterful ease and conviction that even the most skeptical readers will suspend disbelief. This is a natural for PBS Mystery adaptation. (Apr. 19) Forecast: With a 300,000-copy first printing, this BOMC main selection is sure to race up the bestseller lists. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
  • A Victorian mansion situated on a lonely cliff along the English coast. Guests, welcome and unwelcome, gathered for a long weekend. A dark and stormy night. A shocking murder in a locked room. James combines all the elements of the classic English detective story in her first Adam Dalgliesh mystery since A Certain Justice (LJ 11/1/97). Asked by a wealthy businessman to investigate the "accidental" death of his adopted son Ronald, a student at a small theological college in East Anglia, Dalgliesh willingly returns to St. Anselm's, where he had spent happy summers as a teenager. But what was a casual investigation turns into official police business when the archdeacon, another weekend visitor, is found brutally murdered in the locked church. Is his killing related to Ronald's death or to the recent fatal "heart attack" of the housekeeper who discovered Ronald's body? Or was the archdeacon murdered because he threatened to close the college down? In their usual methodical and careful manner, Dagliesh and his team, Detective Inspectors Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant, seek answers and a murderer. Despite the too-obvious red herrings and plot contrivances, this is still an enjoyable read to be savored on chilly evenings with a cup of hot tea. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/00.] Wilda Williams, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
  • /* Starred Review */ Unconvinced that his son Ronald, an ecclesiastical student at St. Anselm's College, died by accident, arms manufacturer Sir Alred Treeves leans on Commander Adam Dalgliesh of the Metropolitan Police to return to the Sussex haven where he spent several summers as a boy to investigate. By the time he's arrived, there's been a second death, though one that passes as heart failure. The following morning, however, Sir Alred's suspicions are obligingly confirmed by the spectacular murder of Archdeacon Matthew Crampton, found prostrate in a pool of blood before one of the church's treasures, a painting of the Last Judgment someone has just vandalized. Since the Archdeacon was pressing to shut St. Anselm's down, had dug up evidence years ago that sent one of the resident priests to jail for child molesting, and was still being hounded as the murderer of his first wife by a visiting police inspector, there's no shortage of suspects. And James takes the time to cast suspicion on everyone from the senior student to the handyman's helper to a researcher on the domestic lives of the Tractarians. But except for an uncharacteristically dewy-eyed portrait of a Cambridge don, each suspect and subplot is handled with all the penetration you'd expect in an apotheosis of the triple-decker whodunit.As in Original Sin (1995) and A Certain Justice (1997), James's achievement is not to pin down individual guilt, but to show the place of crime and guilt and sin in a whole culture. (Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2001)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
036060
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
James, P. D
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6060.A467
LC item number
D35 2001b
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Adam Dalgliesh
Series volume
11
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Dalgliesh, Adam
  • Dalgliesh, Adam
  • Police
  • Theological seminaries
  • East Anglia (England)
  • Police
  • Theological seminaries
  • England
Label
Death in holy orders, P.D. James
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm45876066
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
415 pages
Isbn
9780375412554
Lccn
2001088108
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)45876066
Label
Death in holy orders, P.D. James
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm45876066
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
415 pages
Isbn
9780375412554
Lccn
2001088108
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)45876066

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