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Innocent Blood

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,375 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
Adopted as a child into a privileged family, Philippa Palfrey fantasizes that she is the daughter of an aristocrat and a parlor maid. The terrifying truth about her parents and a long-ago murder is only the first in a series of shocking betrayals. Philippa quickly learns that those who delve into the secrets of the past must be on guard when long-buried horrors begin to st ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Sep 10, 2011 mark monday rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murdertime
who hasn't imagined that they were actually a child of mysterious fortune or an heir to a legacy of romantic adventure? does anyone imagine the opposite - the legacy instead one of squalid violence and tawdry misadventure, straight from tabloid headlines?

this early revelation is only the first of many disconnects between fantasy and reality that the oddly good-humored protagonist suffers. essentially a slow-burning psychological mystery depicting the uncomfortable dance between a murderess, her
...more
Manny
Mar 21, 2012 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the last year or so, I have met a wide variety of people who like knitting - not least the ferocious and redoubtable knitters of CERN, one of whom was even featured on a recent Swiss TV program. So, although I do not knit myself, I have come to develop some appreciation of the joy and heartbreak it can bring people.

This book is one that I would advise knitters to approach with great caution. Suppose there were a person you had thought about every day for many years, and longed desperately t
...more
Lobstergirl
Aug 26, 2012 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fawns
James is a good writer - she must be considered at the top of the heap of the world's mystery writers. Most others don't come close. But her worldview is so misanthropic, most of her characters so hateful, pathetic, or disgusting (the lovely Dalgliesh is an exception, and it's why you breathe a sigh of relief whenever he appears) that all her novels are tinged and blighted by it. Soaked in it. This is a psychological thriller, not a police procedural; Dalgliesh is not a character. In this book t ...more
Mona
Apr 12, 2015 Mona rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well Crafted, But I Did NOT Enjoy it

I almost gave this a 3, since clearly the story is well crafted and James knows her way around crime fiction.

But---I didn't enjoy reading this; in fact I couldn't WAIT for it to end.

She has a very cynical worldview. All of the major characters are despicable.

It didn't help that Penelope Dellaporta read the audio in a sing-song voice like a bored, upper class, English school girl.

Philippa Palfrey, the adopted daughter of Maurice and Hilda Palfrey, uses the C
...more
Gwen
Sep 17, 2011 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an odd and disturbing book. It's been some years since I read PD James. I was impressed all over again by her skill as a writer and her ability to deal with psychological issues. But I was also reminded how bleak her world view is. Of ccourse the story is not exactly a light one, but I found the lengthy descriptive passages a bit heavy handed, as if she were writing a guidebook to the streets of London for depressives. Even in the passages where she relects joy in her characters she make ...more
Lisa
May 18, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This thriller reveals P D James to (possibly) have some particularly unpleasant victim blaming beliefs - it appearing to be the fault of victims and their parents when rape and murder is committed. At first I thought this was just the view of the particularly unpleasant fictional narrator but by the end, when these views went unchallenged, realised they were very likely the author's opinions too. I wish I had not read this book. I've always had problems with her right wing (Conservative) politic ...more
Kirsty
Nov 15, 2009 Kirsty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first P.D. James and I'll definitely be reading more.

Innocent Blood tells the story of Philippa Palfrey, an 18 year old who was adopted at age 8. She has decided to exercise her right to find out who her birth parents were in an attempt to discover who she really is. It doesn't all go to plan though, when she finds out the truth about her real parents - and it's not the same as the romantic fantasies she's made up in her head.

I loved this book from start to finish. It kept me engro
...more
Lizzie
Reread. Psychological mystery about a young woman, adopted, who traces her parents and finds that they murdered a child. Her mother is about to released from prison and she suggests they rent an apartment together for the months before she goes to Cambridge. There is more going on that she doesn’t know.

This is a great, suspenseful thriller but I have to say that the emotions of many of the characters are really weird and don't make a lot of sense. The ending, emotion-wise, was a mess that strain
...more
Jean
Jun 19, 2016 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary book. It's why I wish everyone wouldn't give every book they read 5 stars, because then there's no room for the truly excellent 5-star books. I found this book in a little Free Library, which adds to the fun of finding it.

P.D. James writes mysteries with a wonderful detective called Adam Dalgleish. But Innocent Blood isn't a typical mystery; it's more of a suspense thriller and a psychological study of several people whose lives intersect in Philippa Palfrey.

Philippa has been ado
...more
KarenC
Jan 18, 2010 KarenC rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: better_than_tv
Wish we could award half stars - liked the writing, but the story dragged in places. James as always did a great job setting the scene, describing locations, and helping the reader to picture the characters. I always learn new vocabulary from her books, at least one new word each title. She writes in what I consider a typically "English" way, evoking a totally different atmosphere from the usual crime novel. While this book did not engage the reader in solving a crime, it did engage me in a comi ...more
Mary
Jun 24, 2016 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is something of a coming-of-age story, although it's not the usual young teenager. The main character is 18 and planning to go to university (it's a British novel, after all!) as this story occurs.

I liked it a great deal; I kept going back to see what was going to happen. It was a bit tough because the characters were either unlikable or pathetic, with the exception of the woman one character consistently calls "the murderess." And I wouldn't recommend it unless you enjoy the tortured
...more
Sheryl Tribble
I am not kidding on the spoiler thing -- I give away the end of the book.

This was not a mystery -- the mystery described on the cover is resolved within a couple of chapters -- in terms of genre, it's a mix between a suspense novel and following someone who is working to commit a crime.

(view spoiler)
...more
Tracie
Ok, I must admit that I just couldn't bring myself to finish this book; thus, the date finished would be more accurately titled "Date I FINALLY Gave Up on this Book". This is not P.D. James' best work. It lacks even remotely likable characters and the plot drags like turtles wading through peanut butter. I used to be one who simply had to finish a book once I started it; but, I have learned that life is too short to read mediocre books, devoid of one small modicum of hope or decency.

So, technica
...more
Bibi Rose
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kavita
Dec 04, 2014 Kavita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lorel
Mar 28, 2009 Lorel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of psychological studies, terrific descriptive powers and suspense, and/or Anglophiles
[Note that I listened to this book on tape. It was read flawlessly by Michael Jayston and came from Chivers Audio Books.:]

A suspenseful tale of murder, rape, revenge and (I believe, above all) personal growth, PD James’ “Innocent Blood” artfully navigates one of my favorite territories: the physical and psychosocial geography of England – from the grottiest of urban dives with shifty-eyed denizens, to the sadly middle-class suburbs, to the self-conscious upper-middle class districts of the well-
...more
Mary Ellis
May 08, 2013 Mary Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, people who like in-depth characterization
Recommended to Mary by: no one
P.D. James is known for deeply-explored motivations and deft characterization. This gives her mystery novels a special plus. Still, I'm not a great fan. The endings are supposed to be thrilling, but are more often mindless, such as: otherwise intelligent girl having heard noises must go down unarmed into dark cellar and be rescued from ultimate horror by savvy police detective. Said detective is usually this poet-cop, Dalgleish, whose angsty ruminations and above-it-all manner I find intrusive a ...more
Elizabeth S
Jan 15, 2015 Elizabeth S rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Endre Barath
Mar 10, 2012 Endre Barath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have been collecting quietly PD James novels, but time and other books took priority. So finally I read my first PD James novel.
I decided Innocent Blood would be my first read. PD James is an amazing writer. This is not just a Murder Mystery that I was accustomed to reading. What I found fascinating and in a strange way it was interesting, that I learned to like characters that I should have despised rather than like.
This is a story of revenge, atonement, forgiveness and at the same time a
...more
Diane
Dec 03, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beginning my Hawaii read-a-thon with a PD James novel on the plane - in honor of a great writer who just died. This is not one of her series books, but a great mystery that has an intricate plot, interesting characters and some surprises along the way. Plan to read a few more of PD James if the library here has them!
Shireen McQuade
Apr 15, 2009 Shireen McQuade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read, but not for the feint-hearted. This is a story of revenge on many levels. It starts off with a young English woman wanting to learn the identity of her natural parents, for whom she has created romantic fantasies to explain their decision to place her up for adoption. The truth is slowly revealed but so are so many questions about the human condition, nature versus nurture, the essence of good character and human frailty. The story asks the question of how f ...more
Heather
Feb 08, 2012 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book because my friend is such a fan of the author, but I had a hard time doing so. I didn't find many of the characters relatable - I just can't relate to a protagonist who doesn't care that her mother strangled the life out of an innocent child; and indeed only gets upset when (SPOILER ALERT) she finds out that her mother abused her too as a child....or to an adoptive family who doesn't have any love for her or each other....or her adoptive father (SPOILER ALERT) wanting ...more
Kristensilvermoore
I really liked this book, until the very end, when there is a disturbing revelation tossed off like it's not a big deal. It was all far too Freudian for me! That said, on the whole I enjoyed the read. Just when I thought I knew all the answers, the author reveals that not all is as it seems. Also, even though I had big issues with the novel's protagonist, I did end up feeling sympathy for her--or really just sad for her. She's one mixed up young woman with serious daddy issues! Overall, I liked ...more
Bill Rogers
Nov 10, 2014 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
P. D. James writes murder mysteries that try to be more literary than the usual whodunit. In Innocent Blood she leaves the stock detective story behind completely. You see the full action as it happens. The question is not who did the crime, but rather who will do it, and to whom?

At a couple of points I was impatient for this book because it was veering into a predictable result. I'm glad I didn't give up on it, because it veered away from the predictable and surprised me each time.

Phillipa Palf
...more
Keith
Jul 25, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say that P.D. James is a genre-defying writer is an understatement. Yes, crime is involved and once again murder is involved but in a fashion that few writers, falling into the genre of “mystery writer”, are capable of attaining. Her talent for detail in describing the setting, as well as in the development of characters, is absorbing and compelling. Here, we meet well-educated and socially advantaged Philippa Palfrey, a clever, confident and coldly intelligent young woman, aware that she was ...more
Beth Rosen
This was a hard book for me to finish, and probably I would like it more if I had put it aside for a few months before trying again. Instead I plowed through it because I wanted to see how it ended even though I had lost interest in the characters. At first, having a hard core misanthropist as a central character is fascinating. She dislikes everybody and assumes that everybody is motivated by the lowest form of self-interest. She doesn't love her adopted parents, and she assumes that they adopt ...more
Gary
Apr 30, 2013 Gary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wonder why this author feels compelled to write interesting, but extremely verbose, stories around characters that are impossible to like or even feel sorry for.

Here, we find a cold, arrogant young woman, who finds love and kindness to be impossible concepts, looking to find out "who she is", by searching for her birth mother. Well, she finds the mother and now we know why the main character is a sociopath. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

A disappointment.
Luis Roman
Jun 12, 2016 Luis Roman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The late P.D. James was dubbed England's "Queen of Crime" thanks to her intricate plotting, complex characters and her frank, unsparing perspective on life and its many complications. "Innocent Blood" is not a mystery, not in so many words. Unlike most of James' other works, the book does not include a murder, not directly at least. Instead, this thrilling story involves the many complications that result from the murder of a twelve year old girl, and the consequences of that heinous act on a ci ...more
Alger
Jun 20, 2015 Alger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One can understand why James wanted to write this book: the premise is excellent, and the characters are on the whole a collective of posturing antiheroes who play their way through life like a chess game. This is also one of her few books without Adam Dalgliesh, and after 15 years of his antics one can see the appeal of a vacation.

This however is a book that should have been written, and then quietly stored in a drawer somewhere. For a lesser writer than James this would have been an excellent
...more
Laura
Dec 24, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://www.goodreads.com/#

This is a book about wounded people. Everyone has suffered a terrible loss or trauma. So, yes, as many have said, it is very dark. There is, in some way, redemption at the end, but don't read this if you are looking for the beauty of human nature. P.D. James is brutally honest about our depravity, weakness, narcissism. The plot involves child sexual abuse and murder. It was written in 1980 and there has been a lot more open discussion in the public arena about these to
...more
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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
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“Time didn't heal, but it anesthetized. The human mind could only feel so much.” 218 likes
“People were excited by violence. What, after all, was the sexual act but a voluntarily endured assault, a momentary death?” 12 likes
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