Saturday Savings

P.D. James’s The Private Patient is on sale

private patientDescription: Cheverell Manor is a beautiful old house in Dorset, which its owner, the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, uses as a private clinic.  When the investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, arrives to have a disfiguring facial scar removed, she has every expectation of a successful operation and a peaceful week recuperating.  But the clinic houses an implacable enemy and within hours of the operation Rhoda is murdered.   Commander Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate a case complicated by old crimes and the dark secrets of the past.  Before Rhoda’s murder is solved, a second horrific death adds to the complexities of one of Dalgliesh’s most perplexing and fascinating cases.

The late P.D. James wrote intricate detective stories with such polished prose that they deserve to be called literature rather than genre fiction, and the Kindle edition of The Private Patient, a bestseller originally published in 2008, is discounted today to $1.99 — a bargain to my mind as I cheerfully ordered the hardbound edition at a list price of $25.95.

I re-read this one recently, and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time, but it is definitely dark. James explores, and exposes, evil, in a way that disturbs me if I read too many of her novels without taking a break into something lighter, though often less satisfying.  Yet, I have to read them and read them again because the writing itself is so good, the characters so complex, the insights so enlightening. Many critics complained that this isn’t James’s best . . . yet they agreed that it outranked most crime fiction. That should tell you how very good James was, and how much you owe it to yourself to read this one, if you have not already.

P. D. James was the author of more than 20 books, most of which were filmed and PD Jamesbroadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent 30 years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great Britain’s Home Office. She served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991 and was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008.


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