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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P.D. James' Debut Novel
Sally Jupp is unexpectedly attractive--and an unwed mother in an era when such still carries considerable stigma. After a sterling record at a home for "fallen women," she finds work as a maid for the aristocratic but somewhat impoverished Maxie family, and once installed shows another aspect of her personality: a perverse pleasure in creating unpleasantness for virtually...
Published on 15 Nov 2003 by Gary F. Taylor

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3.0 out of 5 stars Cover Her Face: PD James, Unabridged reading by Roy Marsden - A good start for the modern Queen of Crime
Published in 1962, this is PD James' debut novel, and the first to feature her most famous creation Adam Dalgleish.

The book is set in an almost Christie like atmosphere of a country house in a small community. The first part of the book sets up a series of tensions leading to the death of Sally Jupp, a single mother who works as a maid at the big house. Enter...
Published 8 months ago by Victor


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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P.D. James' Debut Novel, 15 Nov 2003
By 
Gary F. Taylor "GFT" (Biloxi, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cover Her Face (Paperback)
Sally Jupp is unexpectedly attractive--and an unwed mother in an era when such still carries considerable stigma. After a sterling record at a home for "fallen women," she finds work as a maid for the aristocratic but somewhat impoverished Maxie family, and once installed shows another aspect of her personality: a perverse pleasure in creating unpleasantness for virtually every one who crosses her path. The Maxie family is largely impervious to her machinations... but when Sally goes so far as to tantalize a proposal of marriage from the Maxie son, her game of troubling the water turns lethal, and Scotland Yard's Inspector Dalgliesh is on the job.
This 1962 effort was P.D. James' first novel, and at the time it drew enough praise to immediately place among the foremost mystery writers of the day. And indeed there is much to be said for it: the story is well-constructed, the characters well drawn, and the crime is appropriately mysterious; on the whole it is a fast and fun read. But not all P.D. James fans will be impressed. Although there is more than a hint of the distinctive style and convolutions James will bring to her later work, it borrows a great deal in construction from Agatha Christie and not a little from Dorothy Sayers in terms of literary style, and Inspector Dalgliesh is not as well developed here as he will eventually become.
On the whole, I recommend the novel--but I recommend it to established fans of P.D. James, who will be interested to see her working in the "classic English murder mystery" style and enjoy comparing this debut work to the author's later and more impressive work. First timers would do better to select one of the many novels that find James at the peak of her form--with DEATH OF AN EXPERT WITNESS or A TASTE FOR DEATH particularly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cover Her Face: PD James, Unabridged reading by Roy Marsden - A good start for the modern Queen of Crime, 14 Nov 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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Published in 1962, this is PD James' debut novel, and the first to feature her most famous creation Adam Dalgleish.

The book is set in an almost Christie like atmosphere of a country house in a small community. The first part of the book sets up a series of tensions leading to the death of Sally Jupp, a single mother who works as a maid at the big house. Enter Dalgleish, charged with solving the crime. The book winds through a satisfying and intricate set of investigations, many times leading us up the garden path as to the identity of the murderer until the truth is revealed in a Poirot like denoument.

The book is on the whole excellent, though it is not without its faults. It is of it's time, and shows the tensions of the early sisxties between the sexual revolution and more old fashioned morals. James is as much interested in exploring attitudes as the crime. This aspect is interesting, but now feels a touch dated. Also, it leads to the major issue I have with the book - all the central characters are various shades of obnoxious, including the victim. I couldn't really form an attachment with any of the characters apart from Dalgleish. This always makes a book a bit of a slog for me.

Apart from that, this is an excellent book. The intricacies of the investigation and the explorations of human character are nicely done. One aspect I loved was the way in which Dalgleish is introduced. No big slab of exposition giving us his back story, he just appears in the tale and slowly aspects of his character are revealed to us throughout the rest of the book. It's an effective method of letting us slowly get to know the man rather than introducing us to the caractiture.

In all a satisfying tale, but as I said with the problem of feeling a little dated and with a large cast of unlikeable characters. 4 stars for the book.

The unabridged audio reading by Roy Marsden seems to have been recorded in 1986. Marsden's voice is suited for audio books, and he delivers the tale with assurance and gravitas. Indeed, his reading is almost as good as some of Michael Jayston's reading of later tales by James, and that is high praise from me. Again though, there are some issues. There is a feeling of not much care having been made with this re-issue, the sound from these 27 year old recordings is of variable quality with lots of artefacts in the sound and sudden jumps in volume that could have been quite easily dealt with in a decent remastering process. For this lack of care I am knocking off a star.

The book is on 6 discs, in a Prevex spindle case. As is usual with AudioGo there are limited and uninteresting liner notes - they could really do with taking a leaf out of the Naxos book in this department, as it lets down many of their releases as far as I am concerned. The reading clocks in at 6 hours 45, and keeps the attention throughout. 3 stars though due to the poor technical quality of the discs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to complain about here..., 16 Jan 2014
By 
S. Lindgren - See all my reviews
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P.D. James's first crime novel, unabridged, with a straight reading by Roy Marsden. It wasn't likely to be a failure was it? And it isn't. If you don't know the story, I won't give any spoilers, because it's excellent. Not the most convoluted of her work (these things are relative -read that as 'quite a complex story in the great scheme of things'), it drips atmosphere with well-judged characters, and is also downright unpleasant in places. Roy Marsden should need little introduction, though today isn't as well known as he perhaps deserves. An actor's actor. He's highly respected, for very good reason. He also has some history with this particular novel, since he was lead in its 1985 TV adaptation. Here, he's on top form. Simple, to the point, beautifully judged and paced. All in all, well worth acquiring.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tension at Table, 9 Feb 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cover Her Face (Paperback)
The distinguished Adam Dalgliesh stories begin with Cover Her Face. Few will find this their favorite book in the series. I decided to read Cover Her Face again to provide perspective on P.D. James's latest, The Lighthouse. From that retrospective look, I came away even more impressed with The Lighthouse.
But I do recommend that you read Cover Her Face. Although it isn't going to be a favorite of yours, it will be good reading.
The book's main weakness is that the detailed development of the place and characters doesn't quite have rich enough material to work with.
The plot itself has some marvelous twists and turns that build around the character of a most unusual murder victim, Sally Jupp, a marginally acceptable servant in a wealthy home. The other interesting aspect of the story relates to several interesting variations on the locked room mystery subgenre.
In later stories in the series, Baroness James let her imagination run freer . . . with superb results.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tension at Table, 9 Feb 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Cover Her Face (Paperback)
The distinguished Adam Dalgliesh stories begin with Cover Her Face. Few will find this their favorite book in the series. I decided to read Cover Her Face again to provide perspective on P.D. James's latest, The Lighthouse. From that retrospective look, I came away even more impressed with The Lighthouse.
But I do recommend that you read Cover Her Face. Although it isn't going to be a favorite of yours, it will be good reading.
The book's main weakness is that the detailed development of the place and characters doesn't quite have rich enough material to work with.
The plot itself has some marvelous twists and turns that build around the character of a most unusual murder victim, Sally Jupp, a marginally acceptable servant in a wealthy home. The other interesting aspect of the story relates to several interesting variations on the locked room mystery subgenre.
In later stories in the series, Baroness James let her imagination run freer . . . with superb results.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Cover Her Face (Kindle Edition)
Good
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Cover Her Face (Kindle Edition)
Good
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5.0 out of 5 stars gripping read, 8 May 2014
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it was a very gripping story to read and difficult to put away, which makes it a good read to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Cover Her Face (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book, the story line was intriguing and kept me interested until the end of the book
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2.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, 16 Jan 2014
By 
J. Lyne (Forres, Morayshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I am reviewing the audiobook version and found it to be the least satisfying of the many PD James books I have listened to or read.

The story rambles and seems to jump around a lot. Combine this with a very soothing voice reading the story and try as I might I could not prevent the story from becoming background noise. Occasionally the sound levels would jump and there is the odd crack or pop from the poor production - my first Audiogo book to do this. The narrator fails to inject any sort of character or interest into the reading.

I am sure that somewhere here is a good story, but for me I have tried three times now to listen to it but given up before the conclusion.
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Cover Her Face
Cover Her Face by P. D. James (Paperback - 5 Aug 2010)
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