13 March, 2010


Unnatural Causes

PD James

     Curious that, with such an arresting opening as this book has (a handless corpse floating off the Suffolk coast), i should find it so difficult to get involved with. I think, more than anything, i found it a little tough to tell some of the characters apart at first. Once past that point, however, this became, like just about every other James, the best one she’s written. One grows to enjoy the little community she has created, the petty spites and jealousies, the sniping back and forth between these largely unsuccessful (at least in terms of importance) writers, at the death of one of them. Even Dalgliesh, in Suffolk on holiday, so the death is not his case, has trouble in his relationship with the local Inspector in charge of the case, they are overtly polite, but there is tension between them; he cannot hold himself back from doing some investigation on his own, however, and is able to show that murder has been committed, though not prevent another. The actual revelation of method and motive are interesting and unusual, in that James makes use of the murderer’s confession to show how it was done. Another classic James and Dalgliesh.