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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Story and Characters but a Tad Slow
Venetia Aldridge is a top notch criminal lawyer. She hardly ever looses a case and is able to find the holes in any argument. Her personal life isn't so rosy, however. She is basically estranged from her daughter and considered a problem by her co-workers. Her life really begins to unravel when her daughter announces her engagement - to a man Venetia has recently...
Published on 4 Feb 2004 by Mark Baker

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings-
PD James can write well. The problem is she writes too much in a quaint Dickensian way which I am sure pleases many of her fans. A simple walk across Fleet Street to an Inn of Court doesn't have to become a travelogue. I don't want to have research rattles shaken at me. Research needs to be worn more lightly. Descriptive writing is her forte but sometimes its...
Published on 19 Oct 2012 by lullaboo


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cetain Justice- a Certain Winner., 1 Aug 2011
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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NOTE THIS REVIEW IS OF THE AUDIO BOOK ONLY.
Amazon link both book and audio reviews together which has caused problems for me in the past so dear reader bear with me.

Slow slow slow is the order of the day here with 11 long chapters full of detail before the murder is committed. We then have to wait another one before our hero Inspector Dalgleish is brought in... Now imagine if that were a Sherlock Holmes story we'd all feel short changed wouldn't we? So this is not your typical whodunit murder mystery is it?
True the details do build up to a very satisfying story but you have been warned that if you are expecting a quick murder in the first few frames you will be disappointed.
Then the story is in the solving isn't it? PD James knows her stuff that much is cerain.
The good news is we don't really feel so sorry for the murder victim do we?
She deserved it so maybe there is a lot of method to P.D. James style and no doubt that is where her readers and listeners will really get satisfaction make no mistake this is a top notch author at her very best!
Now to the reading which is what an audio book review should be about.
Michael Jayston does a really good job and I can recommend you try to dig out some of his other work to reconfirm this. I agree with my co reviewers when they say he is well paced and unlike a lot of readers he avoids that favourite pastime of other readers of using accents not to enhance the book but their ego. Jayston keeps this to a bare minimum and the story rolls along.
At 12 CDs and 15 hours and 35 minutes and in stereo to boot this is not a quickie but a real well read retelling of the story.
Now a suggestion.
It is best listened to at home sat down with a cup of whatever rather than how I listened to it in the car. I found a few times I had to go back to the track because of distractions whilst driving. It does demand a good attention to get the real beauty of the story. So I would advise you listen at home where you can really concentrate fully on the story.
Recommended?
Yes I really enjoyed it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read at an excitable pace, 27 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Certain Justice (Paperback)
Not having read P D James for some considerable time, I had almost forgotten how good her work is. From the first page, I was intrigued by the characters and to the exclusion of all else, found I was reluctant to put this book down and completed it over a two day period. An excellent mystery with believable characters and a plot that was easy to follow. The author's writing is uncomplicated but never simplistic. A lot of "if's and's & but's" culminating in a satisfying ending. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slow burning, 1 Mar 2012
By 
Skeadugenga (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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As with most of PD James' Adam Dalgliesh stories, this is an intelligent and slow burning murder mystery. The main problem I have with audio books is that the narrator has to communicate clearly and do all the voices and therefore the pace of the story is far slower than it would be if you were reading the book. This possibly isn't the best medium for PD James, who takes her time about setting the scene, as it takes too long to get to the main events.

Having said that, the story is well up to her usual standard and demands your attention throughout its twist and turns and blind alleys, I found myself putting it on as a background to intended cooking or cleaning but then sitting down to listen, in the end I reserved it for evenings when I could sit and enjoy it properly.

Michael Jayston does a good job of the reading, but at 15+ hours and 12 CDs its a substantial commitment of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull!, 24 Oct 2012
By 
Lora (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was the first PD James I had read and I'm not really a serious crime novel reader but was reading it for our Book Club. I found the first part leading up to the murder very dull with too much unecessary detail such as where the chairs were placed! I was relieved when a murder took place. From then on the story picked up and was extremely readable but I found Adam Daleish totally uninteresting (the only crime I enjoy is Morse, Kate Atkinsons series and Sherlock Holmes - all flawed characters). By the end of the book I was caught up in events which followed the actual murder but had lost interest in the murder itself and would not have notice immediately if the murderer had not been revealed. I even had to go back and find out who some of the connected characters were. Saying this it did manage to keep me reading for long periods at a time and I'm sure readers who like to work out who dunnit would probably enjoy the story even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needed an injection of adrenaline., 26 July 2012
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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For me personally I didn't enjoy listening to Michael Jayston. This pace of his reading is fine and he speaks clearly, but he falls down when it comes to dialogue. The thoughts and words of all the different characters are delivered in the same dour voice, which I found a bit tiring and confusing.

The plot I did not find was at all believable. The principal characters seem to be people who are tired of their unhappy lives, yet we are expected to accept that they had the heart and desire to exact complex acts of revenge. I also found it impossible to care about any of the characters, they were all too self-interested for my liking.

Other reviewers have described the story as slow paced. I don't think that is true. The real problem is that it is too bitty. We are given he taste of an idea then it isn't developed any further. There is a lot of beginning and an end, but the lengthy middle is just froth.

The worst thing of all was the ending. It would seem that even the inspector was so fed up of the story that he didn't do his job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well above average audio book, 8 Sep 2011
By 
Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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This is a straightforward reading of PD James' novel and as such the listener has to run through an enormous number of CDs - 12 in total. This might be a record for an audio novel and is certainly above the average. In total it takes more than 14 hours to listen to the whole thing. I've been doing this driving into work and back over the last three weeks - it's not a very long journey. The CDs do fairly well in keeping the listeners attention. I think the narration works better than most similar readings. This is clearly a reading so no gimmicky sound effects or extreme accents. That said it does take the book a long time to get started. There is a great deal of detail which might be better ingested by reading the book, and for a novel about murder the listener has to wait for a long time before it occurs.

But fundamentally this is a sound, well constructed novel, that passes well into audio book format. I'd particularly recommend it to PD James fans (I'm not one) and listens interested in the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars professional production, gripping story, 31 Aug 2011
By 
Mr. Stephen Redman (York England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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If you like the TV series 'Silk' you will almost certainbly appreciate this PD James legal themed audio book. As a fan of the Kindle, this product reminds me why audio books are still better than the Kindle 'read to me' feature because this is so well produced you want to carry on listening. The reader has a voice that relaxes you but won't permit you to fall asleep. His voice carries you deeper into the tale and makes you want to listen for an extra hour.
You don't have to like PD James to appreciate this - it is just such a good listening experience that if you listen in the car you will be bringing it in the house with you to carry on - you won't want to wait for the next journey to hear the rest!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Certain Justice: PD James, unabridged audio read by Michael Jayston - Murder mystery with a certain style, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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When eminent London Barrister Venetia Aldridge is found dead in her chambers, Commander Adam Dalgleish is called in to investigate a murder with no shortage of suspects. Could the answer lie in Aldridge's personal life; something to do with the relationship between her daughter and a man she recently successfully defended for murder, or in her professional life; either some argument in chambers or a case she was involved in?

In this rather well constructed mystery, PD James first announces the murder then introduces us, at a leisurely pace, to a whole host of suspects and explores their motives. Then the murder occurs and she leads us through the detailed investigation headed by Dalgleish. The investigation winds along, with much exploration of both suspects and the investigators characters until the conclusion, where all is explained.

The tone of the book is leisurely, and the emphasis is on character as much as on the mystery. Even the most minor characters are well fleshed out and drawn, making them all believable and interesting. The mystery is interesting and the details of the investigation fascinating. As with Henning Mankell's Wallander books, James is not afraid to show Police work for what it really is, often boring days of wading through paperwork and getting nowhere.

James is a natural story teller, and her finely crafted sentences and love of language really make this book a joy. I must confess there was a couple of times when I went scurrying for my dictionary, and listening to this has introduced me to some new and wonderful words!

My one complaint would be the solution of the mystery of who killed Aldridge. After being lead up several blind alleys (I had, at some point or other, thought that every character was the murderer except for the one who it turned out to be) the solution came as a complete surprise. However, the final revelation was rather offhand and I could not really see how Dalgleish got there. It's a minor quibble though, as the rest of the book and the clearing up of all the subsequent mysteries and puzzles is so well done.

Michael Jayston's delivery is masterful. His voice is well modulated and without bothering with lots of funny accents and pitches, he manages to make each of the myriad of characters sound different and separate with the minimum of effort. It is a real joy to listen to as his gravitas laden vice draws you deeper and deeper into the tale.

At 12 discs, and 15 hours, this is quite a lengthy listen, but well worth it. I was enthralled, and couldn't wait for the next opportunity to pick up the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant story let down by ending, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Phillyfan (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Although based around a murder, this story is really about people considering,or reacting to, major changes in their lives: retirement, old age, sickness, a new family, ending an affair, etc. All this produces a large cast of characters whose emotions are running high and who have grudges to settle or secrets to keep. The first 3rd of the story, before the murder takes place, builds up the cast explaining the decision, crisis, or problem they are each facing. It is fascinating as each new character is integrated into the story. I have rarely come across a detective story with so many well written and rounded characters. As it continues, the relationships between the characters and how they interact with each other and with the plot is very well done. Although it is a long story, 14 or 15 hours, it never dragged and I always wanted to return to it to find out what happened next. The reading is very well done, with subtle changes in tone and accent to bring out the large cast.

I have taken off one star because of the devices used to bring the story to an end. I do not feel that the ending is up to the standard of what has gone before. Whether because the plot created is so involved that it would be impossible to tie up all the loose ends or that the story was already so long that the ending had to be a swift one, I was left feeling slightly cheated. It could also have been that the plot to that point was so good I was always going to find any ending disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like murder mystery stories - then it does not get better than this!, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Pepper (Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Certain Justice (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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This is an excellent audio book. The story is very well written, as you'd expect by PD James, and is read very very well. There are 12 CDs in the pack which makes it excellent value. The story twisted and turned and there were so many different motives that I kept listening even when I had parked the car and should be going into the office! If you like murder mystery stories - then I don't think you'd get anything better than this. I am now going to add the rest of the PD James books to my wish list!
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