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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James gets into the true spirit!
Whether she’s the reigning “Queen of Crime” or not (and she probably doesn’t care!),P.D. James is unbeatable with the police procedural. And her latest, “Death in Holy Orders” is, once again, James par excellence. What scope, what depth, what sheer writing talent when it comes to a gripping, mesmerizing, no-holds-barred whodunit...
Published on 31 Dec 2003 by Billy J. Hobbs

versus
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent atmospherics and plot setup, only to let it all go
I will try not to write anything of a spoilery nature, but I have to say that I was left at the end of the book with a sense of disappointment. I enjoyed two thirds of the book as a well-written, tense, densely plotted thriller with some great characterisation. However, the point of reading a densely plotted book is to marvel at how cleverly the writer interweaves the...
Published on 8 Nov 2002 by Silas


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James gets into the true spirit!, 31 Dec 2003
By 
Billy J. Hobbs "Bill Hobbs" (Tyler, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
Whether she’s the reigning “Queen of Crime” or not (and she probably doesn’t care!),P.D. James is unbeatable with the police procedural. And her latest, “Death in Holy Orders” is, once again, James par excellence. What scope, what depth, what sheer writing talent when it comes to a gripping, mesmerizing, no-holds-barred whodunit! James brushes aside her critics and continues writing in the way she knows best, unassuming and
literate, psychological and breath-taking!
And her main man, Adam Dalgleish is back, along with his trusted assistants, Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant, as the superintendent enters ecclesiastical waters in this episode. A theological student has been found dead on the East Anglian shore, a tragedy ruled “accidental.” However, pressed by the student’s father, Dalgleish re-examines the ruling and James is off to the races in typical (read that “exciting”) style.
Known as the “dark poet of Scotland Yard,” Dalgleish finds himself, once again, in familiar territory, as he recalls having visited the College of St. Anselm in his youth; however, momentary nostalgia aside, he finds more than he could possibly have anticipated. Of course, there is soon another death and Dalgleish’s own “little gray cells” begin working overtime! Indeed, this may be the more horrifying case he’s encountered, as James explores evil as she’s never done before.
Once again, James takes some time to present Dalgleish, the man, as well. Each of the books in his series provides more and more insight into this incredibly complex policeman. Dalgleish fans will welcome this, of course. “Death in Holy Orders” is yet another of those books that find themselves almost impossible to put down. James and Dalgleish--what a combination, what a read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment and suspense!, 27 Mar 2001
By 
K. Hicks "CD lover" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Hardcover)
This is one of the most entertaining books I have read in ages. Not being an avid reader of the genre I picked it up expecting to be mildly lulled into sleep but found myself losing sleep as I was unable to put it down at night! P D James skill is to keep the reader part of the investigating team of this suspicious series of deaths. The first death in the book is the last to be resolved and keeps the reader held until the very end. Those with a knowledge of Anglican theological colleges (especially of an Anglo Catholic bent)will I am sure recognise both priests and ordinands they have met there!
Buy it and enjoy it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death in Holy Orders, 22 Aug 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
This was the first P.D.James I read, and remains one of the best in my opinion, along with Devices & Desires. There is simply something about the way P.D.James writes takes you into another world. Unlike many books in this genre it is does not dwell on the crime itself, but on building a convincing, interesting and intriging story around the main plot. An excelent read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant plot, great setting, absolutely worth having.....!, 7 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
I haven't been a fan for a long time, but ever since I started reading P.D. James two years ago I find her the best...
She shows her excellence again in her latest novel starring my favourite detective, Commander Dalgliesh.
P.D. James really masters the art of writing about the characters behind the situation. I hope she continues to do so for a very long time......
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're the top!, 10 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Hardcover)
With this her 17th book, P.D. James once again executes an admirable balancing act by combining, in her definition of a classic detective story, "a credible mystery with believable characters and a setting which both complements and integrates the action." The setting is East Anglia, one used by James in a number of her novels. It is here on the gloomy, windswept Suffolk coast, within yards of the North Sea, that we find St. Anselm's, a small theological college with only four resident priests and a student body which never exceeds twenty. St. Anselm's is described as High Church, probably Prayer Book Catholic, strong on theology, elitist, opposed to practically everything that's happened in Anglicanism in the past 50 years . . . and the food and wine are good. It is the action's locus, of which the reader is well aware long before Detective Inspector Kate Miskin observes, "So, it's going to be one of those self-contained cases with all the suspects under one roof . . ."
In "Death in Holy Orders," James gives us an apparent suicide (Ronald Treeves, ordinand), a certified natural death (Margaret Munroe, employee), and a brutal murder (Archdeacon Crampton, guest and trustee). Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who is brought to St. Anselm's at the request of Ronald Treeves's influential father, is convinced that the three deaths are connected. The Treeves and Munroe deaths occur before his arrival, but the murder of the unpopular Archdeacon takes place during Dalgliesh's stay at the college. Upon viewing the body, he becomes angered and vows to lift the burden of his past failure ("A Certain Justice") by making an arrest in the present murder. Soon after, yet another death (murder or accident?) broadens the challenge. Dalgliesh's presence throughout much of the book will be well-received by his admirers, and James further indulges his fans with what appears to be the promise of a new romance. And she carts out a cast of typically Jamesian characters: diverse, some pleasingly off-center, and all believable. The assemblage of deaths imbues the story with an aura of mystery from start to finish, which is intensified by the superb setting. All things considered, "Death in Holy Orders" is P.D. James at the top of her classic detective story game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's not every day one experiences vicariously the excitement of murder.", 1 May 2007
By 
S. Bailey "will work for books" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
The isolated theological college on the Norfolk coast is a classic Golden Age-style setting for a murder, but it's far from clear that it's murder we're dealing with. Ronald Treeves, one of the students, is found dead on the beach, his head buried under a cliff fall. The verdict is suicide. The subsequent death of Margaret Monroe, the college matron, appears to be an entirely natural case of heart failure. Sir Alred Treeves, Ronald's father, refuses to take his son's death at face value, and insists that Scotland Yard send in their best man. Enter Adam Dalgliesh.

Naturally, the scenario Dalgliesh discovers is not one of innocent sociability. A paedophile priest, an incestuous pigman, a psychotic policeman and an ordinand just too good looking for anyone's well-being seem to offer infinite possibilities for mischief, and that's before the archdeacon arrives to close the college and is found murdered in the chapel.

James unfolds this delicious plot with consummate skill, teasing her readers with half statements, hints and reported thought. Holding off the main murder until the middle of the book is a master-stroke, a gothic horror after the flat, sea-bleached mundanity of the first half. Though it seems that we are not yet to be spared Dalgliesh's singleton-ness, at least this is now balanced by Kate Miskin's career crisis, and there is more than enough detecting for the detectives here to distract them from their private lives. This will definitely please established fans of James' work, and seems likely to win her new acolytes too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James is at her very best in this chilling thriller!, 8 April 2001
By 
Billy J. Hobbs "Bill Hobbs" (Tyler, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Hardcover)
Whether she's the reigning "Queen of Crime" or not (and she probably doesn't care!), P.D. James is unbeatable with the police procedural. And her latest, "Death in Holy Orders" is, once again, James par excellence. What scope, what depth, what sheer writing talent when it comes to a gripping, mesmerizing, no-holds-barred whodunit! James brushes aside her critics and continues writing in the way she knows best, unassuming and literate, psychological and breath-taking! And her main man, Adam Dalgleish is back, along with his trusted assistants, Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant, as the superintendent enters ecclesiastical waters in this episode. A theological student has been found dead on the East Anglian shore, a tragedy ruled "accidental." However, pressed by the student's father, Dalgleish re-examines the ruling and James is off to the races in typical (read that "exciting") style. Known as the "dark poet of Scotland Yard," Dalgleish finds himself, once again, in familiar territory, as he recalls having visited the College of St. Anselm in his youth; however, momentary nostalgia aside, he finds more than he could possibly have anticipated. Of course, there is soon another death and Dalgleish's own "little gray cells" begin working overtime! Indeed, this may be the most horrifying case he's encountered, as James explores evil as she's never done before. Once again, James takes some time to present Dalgleish, the man, as well. Each of the books in his series provides more and more insight into this incredibly complex policeman. Dalgleish fans will welcome this, of course. "Death in Holy Orders" is yet another of those books that find themselves almost impossible to put down. James and Dalgleish--what a combination, what a read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterly closed community mystery, 16 Dec 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
P.D.James, it has to be said, is a writer of rare skill and quality. She doesn't just write murder mysteries, she writes literature, demonstrating a command of language, characterisation, and plot which few contemporaries can emulate. The mysteries are, on the surface, of the 'cosy' variety - respectable, not likely to frighten either the horses or the servants. Beneath the surface, she writes with a surgical ability to dissect human emotion, cognition and purpose and create a darker, more insightful unravelling of mystery. That cosy, embroidered silk cushion can become a brutal murder weapon.
"Death in Holy Orders" is a very English mystery. Set against a bleak, atmospheric East Anglian seascape and skyscape, this is a cerebral investigation into deaths within an enclosed, isolated, religious community. James's investigator - Dalgleish - faces a very claustrophobic task, but it's a claustrophobia the author uses and manipulates to heighten tension and keep the reader guessing.
And this is not simply a book you can enjoy because of the mystery - it's a book to enjoy because of the language, the slow pace, the intellectual pleasure of being guided through a maze. No glitz, no glamour, no outrageous special effects, no sensation, no gratuitous sex or violence or visceral exposition to hold your attention - the writing does that on its own. You know this is quality, that it is a beautifully crafted story; it's a mystery in which the pleasure is in the journey, not just the arrival.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James, 21 Oct 2002
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Paperback)
P.D.James is back to her usual form in this book. It kept me guessing throughout my summer holiday. Dagliesh was comfortably at home in the East Anglian theological college setting, with Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant to keep his feet on the ground. Plot and characters were very convincincing. Extremely satisfying and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to her usual standards, 8 Jan 2002
This review is from: Death in Holy Orders (Hardcover)
I have read all off dalgleash's exploits. I have enjoyed everyone, and have bought the new releases as soon as they come out. I love Norfolk so that gives added pleasure. It's nice to have a book that doesn't want to be put down and this is no exception. I hope P D James has many more inside her before retiring him.
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Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James (Paperback - 5 Sep 2002)
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