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Unnatural Causes : PD James - Unnaturally good mystery,
This review is from: Unnatural Causes (Paperback)
First published in 1967, Unnatural Causes was the third in PD James' Adam Dalgleish series. Following a particularly draining case, and with a difficult decision to make, Dalgleish is looking forward to a nice quiet holiday on the remote Suffolk coast with his Aunt. But no sooner has he arrived than a seemingly grotesque murder occurs. Not officially involved in the investigation, Dalgleish nonetheless becomes enmeshed in it and his holiday plans are soon in ruins.
All the PD James trademarks that make her books such a delight are here. The plethora of suspects (at one time or another I suspected almost every character including the investigating policemen as she leads the reader up a variety of garden paths), her beautiful use of language that really sets the scene and the character (and as usual I needed a dictionary close at hand, James' vocabulary is immense) and her interest in character as much as plot. But this book has something extra that makes it a real delight for me. I am a huge fan of the big four crime writers of the last century (Christie, Marsh, Allingham and Sayers) and this book appears to be part homage to and part sly laughing at James' great predecessors. Filled with characters and situations that might have come from one of those ladies books, but made realistic and three dimensional, James tips a few knowing winks while showing us the reality of a murder investigation. As well as this I found it to be an intriguing and well written mystery that held me quite gripped until the last. 5 stars.