PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] 
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All ten cases of PD James' Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles starring Roy Marsden in the title role collected and uncut. Dalgliesh, who holds the high position of Commander in the Metropolitan Police Service at New Scotland Yard in London, is an intensely cerebral and private person. He writes poetry, a fact which his colleagues are fond of reminding him. Several volumes of his poetry have been published. Dalgliesh lives in a flat above the Thames at Queenhithe in the City of London and drives a Jaguar. He's singular and even perhaps quirky in his methodology but seldom does he fail to get his man - a modern day Sherlock Holmes, one might say. The first ten of PD James' thirteen novels about the atypical detective were adapted for TV by Anglia TV with Marsden as Dalgliesh; 'Cover Her Face' (1985), 'A Mind To Murder'(1995), 'Unnatural Causes' (1993), 'Shroud For A Nightingale' (1984), 'The Black Tower' (1985), 'A Certain Justice' (1998), 'Death of an Expert Witness' (1983), 'A Taste For Death' (1988), 'Devices and Desires' (1991), and 'Original Sin' (1997).
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Top customer reviews
It also reminds me that Roy Marsden is one of the finest British character actors and I'm sorry that we didn't see more of him after he left the series. He created an unforgettable character and I'm sure that P.D. James herself was delighted with his portrayal.
I have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this series which was first broadcast in 1984. Shroud for a Nightingale is superb. I have more to watch and know that once I have finished this box set I shall revisit time and time again.
An excellent value for money set for anyone who enjoys nostalgia and a slower pace of policing.
Highly recommend this to others.
My favourite story was the very first, Death of an Expert Witness, on the grounds of the atmosphere it created; that really set the scene for what followed and was always going to be a hard act to follow. However justice was done in the form of the delightfully creepy Shroud for a Nightingale which was probably the best of the lot (not my favourite, but I felt it was actually the best - and there is a difference between the two). Whichever you prefer, both grip the viewer from beginning to end and I be surprised if one or the other doesn't make it to the top of the list for most people who buy this set.
Personally I found that the two subsequent stories, Cover Her Face and The Black Tower, took much too long to get off the ground. However, they are certainly worth persevering as they pick up with pace mid-way through and buy the final episodes build up into very tense finales.
Without giving the game away, A Taste For Death built upon the end of The Black tower in so much as this is where significantly more physical action was infused into the Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles; it was certainly an interesting turning point, if perhaps neither were my favourite examples.
As we move onto Devices and Desires things are back up to standard; other critics have slated this particular dramatisation but I found it recreated some of the earlier atmosphere. It's one to watch out for as although the villain doesn't exactly come as a surprise in the end, the way the conclusion is executed is dramatic and there is a personal side to Dalgliesh that hadn't been seen since Expert Witness.
Moving on, the two standalone episodes, Unnatural Causes and A Mind To Murder, are possibly the lower points. Not bad as such, but both are around 1 hour and 40 minutes and it's not enough time to justice to either storylines or acting; another hour would have made all the difference. However, they demonstrate that times had changed in television production values as from a technical point of view the episodes were very highly polished and had a cinematic feel to them; in the obvious sense this was because there had clearly been a switch from tape to film, but it went much deeper than than that also that direction was very different indeed. One of those things you have to see to appreciate I guess.
I'm pleased to say that this boxed set ends on the high note with which it started and the penultimate Original Sin was well balanced in so many ways (and featured a superb performance by Ian Bannen - possibly in one of his very last roles?). Likewise a Certain Justice, although perhaps not particularly credible (at least as these stories go), was a fine swansong.
There are some short but interesting extras on the discs - the fact that I never tend to bother with such things is possibly worth a mention in it's own right.
The price seems to fluctuate enormously on this boxed set for some reason, but I guarantee that it's worth waiting for the next sale...
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