Top positive review
A worthy follow-on to Pride and Prejudice!
on 11 January 2015
I received this book a mere 48 hours ago, and - at the risk of being hopelessly out of sync with other reviewers - found it impossible to put down! I was enthralled from the opening paragraph to the end. PD James, cleverly, imo, uses a prose-style which is broadly 19th century, reminiscent of Trollope, Dickens or indeed Austen herself without aping them slavishly. And let's not forget that whereas Jane Austen could rely on her readers understanding the customs of the day, PD James has to work harder, since over 200 years separate her audience from them. Inevitably, therefore, she needs to use more description, and the dialogue will sometimes appear stilted - verbose, even - to the 21st century reader. I can live with that. Furthermore, she faced two important constraints in attempting to set a murder mystery in 1803; constraints which we the readers must bear in mind: the total absence of the forensic laboratory, on which Adam Dalgleish would rely, or even a professional detective with his training! Instead the crime had to be investigated by the two local magistrates. So it is perhaps fairer to compare this story to, say, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins than to Devices and Desires. And on that basis, this is an excellent read - Highly recommended!!