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Original Sin Hardcover – 2 Nov 1994


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st Edition edition (2 Nov. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571172539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571172535
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Product Description

Book Description

Set on the banks of the River Thames in the literary world, P.D. James's Original Sin is the ninth Adam Dalgliesh mystery and a brilliant work of crime fiction from the bestselling author of Death Comes to Pemberley. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

P. D. James was a bestselling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray, and their long and successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).

James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors, and stood down from this role in 2013.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
For Superintendent Adam Dalgleish, there are just too many coincidences, too many "practical" jokes, too many deaths, and too many suspects. In P.D. James' "Original Sin," this quintessential investigator has his hands full. And James, herself, is at top form in this London thriller, all asea with several subplots at once. Intriguing they are, too. Someone is bumping off the partners of Peverell Press, a venerable publishing company now on shaky financial legs that rests on the banks of the Thames in a real ediface complex called Innocent House, an opulent Venetian-type of building that is at once a landmark as well as a nest of intrigue, murder, and mayhem, going back a couple of generations to its founder.
As one after another body is found, the pieces begin to come together, although not easily nor fast. Dalgleish and his two assistants, Kate Mishkin and Aaron Daniel, have their own personal concerns to sort out as well. James has created a host of
excellently developed characters, as she usually does, and the reader is caught up in the problems and affairs of them all. Finally to solve the case, Dalgleish and company have to look back for their answers, all the way back to World War II France. The climax comes powerfully in "Original Sin" and as usual James leaves her readers, not necessarily on a joyous note, but one that is pensive, sometimes even remorseful. But what a read. In literature, and especially with P.D. James,
there is justice after all!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am just re-listening to this story, and find it much better the second time around. PD James is excellent at setting the scenes of her stories; if anything, I find a little less descriptive passages would benefit her stories - but perhaps that's just nit-picking on my part. There's a lot going on here with side stories to the plot, which is set in an independent long established publishing house. The plot harks back to incidents in the second world war bringing links to the present day. Very well researched as are all James's books that I have experienced so far. You need a bit of patience to stick with the story, but well worth the effort.
As previously stated, I feel you need to re-listen to James's books to fully appreciate the stories.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 July 2001
Format: Paperback
I do feel that three stars might be a little harsh when it comes to this book as I enjoyed most of it. The plot and the characters are intriguing and the author's sense of place is as good as ever. The problem however, is the ending (which I am not going to ruin for you.) All the carefull structuring comes crashing down as a number of the characters (and one in particular) start acting in a way that defies belief. I get the impression that P D James had no idea how to finish the novel and the cheap ending we are left with comes close to ruining the whole book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
P.D.James doesn't mess about she writes and plots her stories to perfection and this one is no exception. It is long but you still can't put it down no matter the time, I lose hours of sleep when I am reading her book but it's worth it
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Hogan on 1 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
A practical joker is afoot at Innocent House, a Venetian-style palazzo on the Thames that houses England's oldest independent book publisher, Peverell Press. This engrossing crime drama effectively plays out against the self-contained setting of Innocent House. Poison pen letters are circulating, rare illustrations are being lost, important proofs are being tampered with, and minor mischiefs abound; added to the mix is the disconcerting fact that two of Peverell Press' authors and one editor have died in less than twelve months. Then, another death occurs, this one with bizarre overtones. Is it natural death, suicide, accident or murder? Is it the work of the malicious prankster, or perhaps one or more of the various people associated with Innocent House who harbor animus against the victim? Enter Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his Special Squad.
P.D. James has written that, for her, "... one of the fascinations of detective fiction is the exploration of character under the revealing trauma of a murder enquiry." In 'Original Sin,' James deftly explores a diversity of complex characters (the directors and those among the staff at Innocent House who are central to the plot, as well as several sharply delineated secondary characters) as they undergo the sagacious questioning of Dalgliesh and his team.
Besides the splendid palazzo, James treats the reader to another strikingly effective mood-setter: the River Thames itself, arcane, enduring and somewhat sinister, the compelling secrets of its dark past forever threatening to surface before our eyes (and in one memorable scene, they do). Architectural descriptions and historical anecdotes weave seamlessly throughout the narrative, as another bonus.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rich on 6 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Overwritten but has something which does make you keep reading. A couple of effective set-pieces especially the discovery of the second body. The location is suitably Gothic and imposing. There is a problem with visualising the characters, one or two are difficult to fix an age upon. E.g. I pictured Frances as a middle-aged woman. It turns out she's actually late twenties. The solution is fair though perhaps the tragedy is not as tangible as intended. James does play fair by the reader, there are one or two effective false leads but the clues are well placed.
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