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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
A Taste for Death (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery)
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on 2 April 2017
Excellent book. Even better on the re-read.
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on 16 August 2017
P.D.James knows how much to challenge Dalgliesh.
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on 23 July 2017
Good price and quick delivery
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on 30 April 2017
Enjoyed from beginning to the end kept me lnterested all the way through one of her best
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on 30 October 2015
Two men found dead in a church: murder and suicide, or double murder? One a politician, the other a tramp. Because this is a PD James novel we know it is murder, but we don’t know why or who by. This novel differs from the preceding six in this series because of its length [656 pages], compared with its predecessor ‘Death of an Expert Witness’ [400 pages]. For this we get extra plot twist and turns, more detail about the potential suspects, more internal monologues, and more of the literary depth which characterizes the later Dalgliesh novels. Some readers will appreciate the extra detail, others may prefer a quicker moving, shorter, crime novel.
The story is book-ended by the meeting and subsequent relationship between Miss Emily Wharton and 10-year old Darren Wilkes. They find the bodies and after that their very human story is lost in the swirl of police procedure and suspicion, accusations and alibis.
Commander Adam Dalgliesh heads up a new squad to solve serious crimes which need sensitive handling. This murder of Sir Paul Berowne, a government minister, is the squad’s first case. On Dalgliesh’s team is John Massingham, familiar from earlier novels, and newcomer Kate Miskin. Miskin’s storyline is a welcome female perspective in a male-dominated job [this book was first published in 1986].
This was the first PD James novel I read, I still have the original paperback. Certainly I have a clear memory of a man called Berowne murdered in a church. It was the beginning of a fondness for Adam Dalgliesh and I have read every one of his series since.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 November 2012
I have read a few of P D James' books, but not many, so was happy to dive into this tale of murder and mystery. The death of a tramp and a recently resigned Minister of the Crown in a London church draw Dalgliesh and his team to uncover a tangled web of lies, deceit, ambition and long-held passions. What they find is surprising. This book is good, but it did go into an awful lot of detailed explanations of every little thing which in the scheme of things were not really particularly relevant to the story - at over 500 pages, I did feel that the book could have benefited from some judicious editing.

A good murder mystery, but not great. Recommended for a restful read when you have plenty of time to devote to it.
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VINE VOICEon 9 June 2009
A few thoughts on why this is tripe.

Verbosity - circa 220 pages to cover first 24 hours of the investigation. Adjective-itis - every noun must have one and preferably two.
Self-indulgence - prolonged insights on church architecture.
Stereotyping - a) half expected Lady Ursula to shout 'a handbag' at any moment, b) token female Police Officer/working class crumpet whose hard exterior conceals a soft centre...
Snobbery - does every Police Officer go to Oxford/Eton with odd visits 'to some Northern University'?
Pretentiousness - if Ms James uses 'propitiate' once more...

Dalgleish is given a huge build-up to the first time reader eg) nationally renowned poet, church afficianado, confidante to the aristos, hurrahs and politicos, Upper Middle Class, loves his Sunday school teacher, tragic loss of child. The big problem is that none of this character is displayed in his speech, thought or deed in solving the case. It could be another person.

The victim's old, aristocratic family and servants lie, perjure and deceive with impunity whilst Dalgleish lets it pass without comment or confrontation. The novel reeks of being written by an elderly, female Establishment figure and it is way too long.
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on 8 November 2005
"A Taste for Death" was written by Peter O'Donnell in 1969 and is the fourth book in the Modesty Blaise series of books. In my opinion it is the best book in the series, and perhaps the best book I've ever read. (And re-read and re-read. I think I've probably read this book at least 10 times in the last 35 years.)
The book starts with two parallel stories, one in Panama and one in England.
In Panama, Willie Garvin (Modesty's loyal side-kick) runs into Gabriel and McWhirter, the two memorable bad guys from the first Modesty Blaise book. They are trying to kidnap Dinah Pilgrim, a blind girl they need because of her having a special talent. Willie saves Dinah and then a major confrontation ensues, with Modesty coming to Willie's aid and both Modesty and Willie surviving traps that should not possibly be survivable.
Meanwhile, in England Modesty Blaise has encountered Simon Delicata, an incredibly nasty villain and perhaps the scariest fictional bad guy I've ever read about. Delicata first kills an archeologist with ties to a research expedition in the Sahara Desert, and later strikes directly at Modesty's cottage in the English countryside.
In a very satisfying plot maneuver the two supposedly separate story lines merge. It turns out that Gabriel and McWhirter are in league with Delicata, and Modesty and Willie must travel to Algeria to face this trio of villains in a fight to the death. A fight that they have almost no chances of surviving against the combined force of Gabriel and Delicata.
The most fascinating thing about the Modesty Blaise books is the personality of the two main characters, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin. They both have an amazing will to survive and to overcome the incredible dangers they are faced with. They have fantastic fighting abilities and can be cold and deadly when necessary. But they are also warm and loving, and intensely loyal to each other and to their friends.
The quotation at the start of this review is what Modesty says to Willie near the end of the book, when they suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves once again face to face with Simon Delicata, the main villain of the story. Modesty is already seriously injured from a previous fight and unable to move, and Delicata, a cold-blooded killer, has previously demonstrated that he can easily beat Willie in an unarmed fight.
This situation, and the ensuing fight between Willie and Simon Delicata, is one of several high points in the book, and one I'll remember for the rest of my days.
Incidentally, Stephen Collier, introduced in "I, Lucifer", is back, and he and Dinah Pilgrim remain recurring figures in the remaining books in the series.
This book is a bit special in the Modesty Blaise series due to there being an interesting love story with an unexpected twist.
I'm rather hard pressed to say anything negative about this book. It's too short, like all of the Modesty books, and there's too much smoking. And, unfortunately, being the best book in the series it marks the start of the slow decline in the rest of the series.
Very, very highly recommended.
Rennie Petersen
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on 20 May 2001
Peter O'Donnell is one of the most underrated writers the english language has probably ever known. There isn't a single writer alive today who couldn't learn a great deal from his characterisations, plotting and sheer story telling brilliance. This book is to my mind the best of the Modesty Blaise novels and the novels themselves are among the best adventure stories you could ever read. Unfortunately the original comic strips and an appalling film adaptation (and I mean really dire) probably put most people off trying the novels. A taste for death is probably not a good place to start with Modesty Blaise. You should at least read the first novel (just called: modesty blaise) as that sets the background this novel returns to in part.
But whatever you do: read peter o'donnell, his books never date, his writing never grows stale and Modesty Blaise (Lara Croft eat your heart out) and Willie Garvin (and he could take Jack Reacher) manage to pull off almost superhuman feats with a casual nonchalance that is utterly convincing.
A taste for Death has my all time favourite fictional villain in Simon Delicata.
Read this book and discover for yourselves just how short changed you've been by the major publishing houses.
Peter O'Donnell was there first and does it so much better it's truly criminal there are no paperback re-prints.
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on 21 May 2014
My 98-year old grandfather has decided that, at his age, he's allowed to find reading somewhat tiring - and so likes to supplement his previously ferocious reading habit with audiobooks. We've tried over the years to teach him to use CDs, but - and even I, at a seemingly sprightly 35 can agree with this - they're an not ideal medium for audiobooks as, unless you press "Pause" and leave the machine whirring indefinitely, you can only jump between chapters and not go back to the place where you stopped listening last time.
"A Taste for Death" is one of his favourite books, and I've searched high and low for a second hand copy of the unabridged version - sporadically checking Amazon. Then this once popped up in mint condition and at an excellent price. It arrived very promptly, snuggly wrapped, and looking as if had come straight from the manufacturer, untouched by human hands. I'm delighted, as is Grandpa - who is now listening to it, headphones on, while keeping an eye on the ships as they enter and leave the port at Harwich.
Great seller, would use again. Thanks. You made an old, old vicar and his grand-daughter very happy.
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