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A Taste For Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7)
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A Taste For Death (Adam Dalgliesh #7)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  8,022 ratings  ·  277 reviews
When the quiet Little Vestry of St. Matthew's Church becomes the blood-soaked scene of a double murder, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh faces an intriguing conundrum: How did an upper-crust Minister come to lie, slit throat to slit throat, next to a neighborhood derelict of the lowest order? Challenged with the investigation of a crime that appears to have endless m ...more
Kindle Edition, 457 pages
Published (first published 1986)
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This 1986 mystery begins in the dingy vestry of St. Matthew's Church, Paddington with the grisly double murders of Sir Paul Berowne, PM and Harry Mack, an alcoholic tramp. Their throats were slit with Sir Paul's razor. Could it be a murder-suicide? And what was a baronet doing in the room with a vagrant? No suicide note was found, but could Berowne have burned it or blotted it out?

Lately, nothing about Sir Paul's life was making sense. Recently he met with Commander Adam Dalgliesh to show him th
This had more twists than the average P.D. James novel. The action really picked up in the last hundred pages. James pays a lot of attention here to providing complete arcs for minor characters, which is a nice touch. The book doesn't just end when the detectives figure out who the murderer is. The characters continue to make choices, trying to make the best of their circumstances, and we get to explore the effects of all these actions. It's even poignant. Good stuff.
Anirban Das
P.D. James is considered as a worthy successor to Agatha Christie and is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated crime novelists of our generation. But, in spite of all that I have never enjoyed reading her books. I mostly found them boring and bland.

Now, the book. The edition I was reading was a TV tie-up, with faces of two actors who played character parts in the dramatization of the novel and it was 552 pages long.

Paul Berowne who is an MP and a former cabinet minister is found dead in
Dec 07, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: James Zagel
A just-retired, blue-blooded government minister and a tramp have their throats cut in a church in James's well plotted, nicely paced mystery. I'm a big fan of James, and of her lovely Dalgliesh in particular. She allows Dalgliesh and his subordinate, Constable Kate Miskin, to be thoughtful, well-rounded characters, deserving of our admiration. Nearly everyone else in the book (along with nearly everyone else in every P.D. James book) comes in for very harsh treatment. James is a deeply misanthr ...more
The best P.D. James I've read so far. The last line is perfect, and it brings together every theme in the story. This one isn't just about murder and death, folks. It's also about life and how we choose to live it.
This was my first P.D. James mystery, and it was a fine book. James' detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is apparently a poet (we are told this again and again) but we never see him writing or read any of his verse. Maybe these are present in other Dalgliesh books.

James is a fine writer, but she used one narrative tool in this book of which I'm not a huge fan. The reader doesn't have complete access to the thoughts of each character, but we do have access to some of their longings, musings, and wondering
Perhaps classic murder mysteries are just not my genre. I found this book PAINFUL to read. For me it was predictable, boring and totally unsuspenseful. I never came to care about the characters. There were endless paragraphs of physical description, mostly about furniture. Ugh! The emotional breakdowns at the end were beyond unrealistic. I'm not sure how people like this stuff, but obviously they do, so what do I know?
This is #7 of the Adam Dalgliesh cop-poet mysteries series (and I think the first mystery that I have read by the very prolific PD James). While I think having the protagonist be both a cop and published poet is interesting (from a character development perspective), I found the two elements to be grating at times (e.g., when Adam goes off on wordy, literary tangents, or the author gives long descriptions of Victorian architecture, etc). However, I did find the plot itself to be pretty good, wit ...more
This is a superbly clever crime novel. While the who and how around the murder of a former minister and a tramp found in the vestry of a neglected church is interesting and satisfying, what's sets the book apart is the intelligence and subtlety with which the author draws her characters. Usually even well plotted crime novels depend on a coterie of stereotypes who collectively ham it up for the readers in various wince worthy ways. With this novel I came for the thrills of murder most gruesome b ...more
PD James has lingered a lot. She delves so much on each scene, it becomes really boring at times. For instance, at the very beginning, she has gone into so much of detail about the dead bodies and their setting that it has actually become extremely morbid.
It is very generous of her to want to share her vision completely, to the last minute detail, but it negatively affects the mind's ability to hold interest in her work. There should have been some leeway given to the reader to imagine some part
I do pick up new James novels from time to time, but always with the same misgivings. It's a bit like not giving up on visiting your alcoholic brother, though you know he's most likely going to start sober and be drunk and unreliable by the time the visit draws to a close.
I do like P.D. James quite a bit, but I love Agatha Christie. P.D. James is a much better writer; Christie is a much better plotter. With James's mysteries, even the best ones, you never know, and can never trust, where the plo
Couldn't even read this on the plane with no other books on me. I watched soccer on the tv instead. SOCCER was the better option, folks. Frankly finding it hard to understand why this woman is considered such an amazing mystery writer. The fourth time they reentered the church and the light coming through the windows was given four paragraphs I knew this wasn't for me.
As always, PD James crafts her characters with such richness and psychological depth, that the story line almost becomes irrelevant.
This was the second book I'd read in the Adam Dalgleish series. I nearly finished reading it a few months ago and, admittedly, struggled through it so much that I started it all over again. This time, I got through it. However, I found that I kept losing track of all the characters and had to keep referring back in the book to find out how each was related to the other. The primary story involved the finding of two dead people in a church vestry by an older female parishioner and a young boy she ...more
I read P D James after such a long time and I am glad to have read A Taste for Death. The plot is absolutely gripping and tight. I enjoyed the story until the end though certain things like the way characters behave in different situations seemed contradicted to their expected behaviour. However, P D James has portrayed all the characters beautifully but still I found something lacking in character development. For example, the way Sir Paul did not put fight for his life in the end was confusing ...more
A writer's writer, P.D. James has a flair for description that makes me swoon. I felt like all her characters were whole people, with complexities and pasts as yet unplumbed. Her mystery was sufficiently confusing; her villain sufficiently disturbing. One thing I noticed is that James has a quirk of saying "denuded." She doesn't rely on it, but does say it with greater frequency than most authors. I found several other little tics like that, none of which were grating, but most of which would be ...more
Back when my cable company had the wonderful Ovation channel, I watched an hour long show from the 70s about Agatha Christie. Not because I like Christie; I don't but because as an English major, I felt obliged to watch it (does anyone else feel this way?). One of the people interviewed on the show was P.D. James. Her comments about Christie vocalized why I didn't like Christie (I couldn't quite explain why I didn't like her). Because of this, I picked up A Taste for Death at a used book sale.

I don't know how I missed PD James's books in my earlier mystery reading--a preference for amateur detectives, I guess. This is an excellent police procedural, if not perfect. The characters are much more real and well-rounded than Agatha Christie, say, and part of the interest is how their personalities and choices serve the same purpose as red herrings did in earlier mysteries. Still, more real doesn't mean completely real, and she sacrifices some of the reality--particularly of the minor or w ...more
I started this as a break from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, but probably not the best choice. No misogynist terrorists, but still not very uplifting. Perfect James, though, and perfect Dagliesh. She writes novels that happen to have murders in them, but more importantly (to me, anyway), also include incredibly drawn characters who struggle with themselves and the world around them. Her writing is emotionally evocative, and this one seemed to focus ...more
Not my favorite of the Dalgliesh series but wonderful description. Less focus on Adam and more on Kate, who has just been added to the special investigative team. The climatic scene with Kate and her grandmother is highly contrived, yet moving nonetheless. Kate is propping her grandmother (just mugged the day before)on the toilet while held hostage by the novel's murderer when Kate learns for the first time the story of her mother and father.
Convoluted who-dun-it, but James' detailed British descriptions and references were trademark. Occasionally I wished for more brevity, but more often I could appreciate the richness of visual or sensual detail provided by the author and the intellectual complexity of the plot compared to many contemporary mystery novels. I see why P.D. James has the reputation she does and will read more by her.
I am reading through the Dagliesh series by P.D. James and I really loved A Taste for Death. The plot was intricate with multiple emotions running through it. The handling of the religious themes was well done and balanced. The victim had recently had a religious experience and it caused him to make extreme changes in his life leading to his murder.

Dagliesh and his team work tirelessly through interviews with large cast of suspects. Sorting through lies and half-truths, many spun with some empha
Raima Larter
I picked this up in one of those little curb-side lending libraries since I'd been wanting to check this author out. I'd heard about her when she died a couple years ago, but had never read any of her work. This book is in the middle of her series about Detective Adam Dalgliesh, and maybe I need to go back to the earlier books to see if this was done in a previous installment, but there was so little character development in this book that I could put it down and not remember the characters (inc ...more
This was my first P. D. James novel, and I was pleasantly surprised by what was beyond what I had expected from a "genre" fiction. There was a marvelous balance of grave suspense and clear and wonderfully austere writing style. The characters were developed in layers and with depth, and their portrayals were incisive and yet poignant and emotionally affecting. I also loved the relatively slow, drawn-out, and deliberate pace of the book - for a detective novel, it was refreshing that I did not fe ...more
Mark Ellis
Hadn't read PD James in a while. Slightly disappointed with this book which I found overlong and a little slow. It was however beautifully written.
Tricia Douglas
This was a selection that I chose for my GR cozy mystery group. I've had several of James's books on my shelf for quite a while and finally got to read one! A Taste for Death is definitely not a cozy mystery though! This book took a lot of concentration to adapt to her sophisticated style of writing. Because she is British many of the terms were different than I was used to, but once the characters were introduced (in detail!) and the story got rolling, the mystery was a good one that held my in ...more
Elan Durham
I find it sort of fortuitous to be rereading PD James preceding her recent death. And last night, as I finished 'A Taste for Death' I had tears in my eyes feeling the loss of this great master of the crime novel.

There ARE annoying things about her writing in ATFD, published in 1986. Her tag lines often read 'He said:' or 'She said:' followed by a new paragraph... But this is minor. Throughout her prose is mostly amazing and sometimes quite moving, her insights into human nature do not age or da
An excellent mystery described from multiple viewpoints. The three detectives involved all have real depth of character as do a number of the supporting characters. Well worth reading.
Bill Rogers
Adam Dalgliesh has a new squad dedicated to solving sensitive and high-profile crimes-- the better for P. D. James to give him interesting stories in the future, I suppose. But before the squad's official start date, the body of a former Government Minister and Member of Parliament who had just resigned* mysteriously from his office is found in a church. The MP has killed a tramp and them committed suicide, or someone has murdered them both and tried to make it look like a suicide. Since this is ...more
Katherine Clark
Really 3 1/2. I was torn. Almost gave this book a 4. Years and years ago, I would have given it a 4, but this time, man it was a slog to get through. But it is a powerful book. I have so much less respect for Adam Dalgliesh as a detective--don't get why he is regarded so highly, but I did like the way the different characters grappled with faith and their relationships to each other. I also can't stop thinking about P. D. James' class issues which was never a concern of mine before. Anyway, I re ...more
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Indian Bookworms: January 2013, Crime Read - A Taste For Death by P.D. James 29 37 Jan 14, 2013 11:10AM  
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P. D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of twenty books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office. She served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BB
More about P.D. James...

Other Books in the Series

Adam Dalgliesh (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1)
  • A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2)
  • Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3)
  • Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4)
  • The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)
  • Death of an Expert Witness (Adam Dalgliesh, #6)
  • Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh, #8)
  • Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
  • Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)
Death Comes to Pemberley The Children of Men Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1) Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)

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“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.” 36 likes
“But he still lingered, feeling the wind lift his hair and grateful for another minute of peace. He was grateful, too, that Kate Miskin could share it with him without the need to speak and without making him feel that her silence was a conscious discipline. He had chosen her because he needed a woman in his team and she was the best available. The choice had been partly rational, partly instinctive and he was beginning to realize just how well his instinct had served him. It would have been dishonest to say that there was no hint of sexuality between them. In his experience there nearly always was, however repudiated or unacknowledged, between any reasonable attractive heterosexual couple who worked together. He wouldn’t have chosen her if he had found her disturbingly attractive but the attraction was there and he wasn’t immune to it. But despite this pinprick of sexuality, perhaps because of it, he found her surprisingly restful to work with. She had an instinctive knowledge of what he wanted; she knew when to be silent; she wasn’t overly deferential. He suspected that with part of her mind, she saw his vulnerabilities more clearly, and understood him better and was more judgmental than were any of his male colleagues.

{ by Adam Dalgliesh, of his teammate Kate Miskin }”
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