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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sin is hardly Original, but the Book is!
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...
Published on 10 Nov 2000

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read ruined by an implausable ending
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...
Published on 22 July 2001


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sin is hardly Original, but the Book is!, 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Original Sin (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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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read ruined by an implausable ending, 22 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Original Sin (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing & Exciting, 2 May 2013
By 
Elizabeth-Anne (Mid Glamorgan S. Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Original Sin (Audio CD)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars You won't need coffee to keep awake, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Original Sin (Kindle Edition)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Revenge or Justice?, 1 Sep 2000
By 
P. A. Hogan (Providence RI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Original Sin (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.
Further, there is an interesting look at a small London publishing house as it evolves from the "preserve of gentlemen" (Henry Peverell and Jean-Philippe Etienne) to the present-day leadership of a 21st Century Machiavellian (Gerard Etienne).
P.D. James has expressed the view that rather than feel sympathy for the murderer, the reader should feel empathy and understanding. Here in 'Original Sin' she has provided such a murderer. It is the reader's ability to empathize that makes this murderer's motivations credible.
At its heart, 'Original Sin' is about redress. In this instance, we learn that revenge (which the killer calls "justice") is not sweet, that it sometimes requires multiple acts of murder, and that it may necessitate sacrificing the innocent. The lucky reader, however, gains this harsh lesson by way of the impeccable prose of this distinguished writer.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original Sin, 6 Dec 2008
This review is from: Original Sin (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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4.0 out of 5 stars It's a good read with twists and turns, 6 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Original Sin (Kindle Edition)
It's a good read with twists and turns. It was only my second P D James book and it didn't disappoint.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Telling Title, 24 Feb 2011
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Original Sin (Paperback)
The narrative of this murder mystery depends heavily on numerous thoughts and inter-relationships of possible killers and victims. There is perhaps more of a clue in the Biblical title `Original Sin' than from any puzzling nature of its plot where insufficient or misleading information prevents identification of `who dunnit'. It is one of a series of Adam Dalgliesh detective novels in which P D James relies on his intelligence and intellect to unravel events, yet Dalgliesh is not the main character in a plot embracing a wide range of extraordinarily complex connections.

Characters are skilfully created and presented, and background is cleverly constructed and developed, and it is a joy to read P D James' elegant and eloquent prose with magnificent descriptions and portrayals of buildings, scenes and people, but this is not enough. The plot is defective with too much detail unknown to the detectives, and late discovery of evidence makes for a deficient denouement. `Original Sin' provides a nicely paced enjoyable read and though it ends leaving readers with lots of scope for speculation it unfortunately fails as a `cliff-hanger'.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 5 Nov 2012
By 
jenny Cee (wimbledon london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Original Sin (Audio CD)
What could be better than a good PD James featuring Adam Dalgleish and read by Michael Jayston?
Am I the only woman in love with Dalgleish AND Michael Jayston?
The Police could do far worse than use Dalgleish as a model for its relationships with the public
I'm not a fan of reading her books but I love the Audios
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Distant Dalgliesh, 22 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Original Sin (Kindle Edition)
Not my favourite by some long way. Dalgliesh largely in the background and no evidence of his influence or thought process in the storyline.
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Original Sin
Original Sin by P. D. James (Paperback - 5 Aug 2010)
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