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Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh #9)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,978 ratings  ·  216 reviews
Adam Dalgliesh takes on a baffling murder in the rarefied world of London book publishing in this masterful mystery from one of our finest novelists.Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venet ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published May 23rd 2012 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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TO THE PARTNERS OF PEVERELL PRESS...GOD ROT YOU ALL! Ominous words to the board members of the posh publishing house on the Thames. London's oldest and finest is going through a transition, one that displeases all of her employees, but especially one who has been there for decades.

After hearing the history of the old Venetian palazzo, Adam Dalgliesh asks, "Do you believe that a building can be infused with evil?" The ORIGINAL SIN of Peverell Press and Innocent House was the murder of the first o
First Second Books
As usual, another excellently-written multifaceted murder mystery by P.D. James.

It’s interesting to imagine James pitching this to her publisher.

‘Dear Publisher, I’d like to write a murder mystery set in a publishing house where the editor did it. Who does the editor kill? Why, the publisher! And then one of the authors! That’s not a problematic scenario for you at all, is it? Also, can I come in and lurk around your office for a few weeks to get a sense of how a publishing house really works?’

In this voluminous thriller i found the first many pages unattractive. Interest picked up only after Gerard's death. A lot is devoted to the characters' wear and even more to the architecture of the structures they inhabited. The old fashioned English and sentence structures may not attract those who read for the thrill of a detective novel; though I enjoyed it thoroughly.Though only one death turned out to be a genuine instance of suicide, the other four deaths were discovered to be cold-bloode ...more
Having read James' The Murder Room before this one, the two novels sadly ran together in my mind, both plot wise, setting-wise and character-wise.

And I really don't think that there are any characters in James' world who aren't depressive, agnostic/atheistic and sexually active. Anyone?? Hello???

Not my favorite P.D. James, but still fairly entertaining.
Katherine Clark
I am giving this book 4 stars primarily because we don't do halves (and maybe it should be 3 1/2) but on the other hand, I have a feeling that I'll be thinking about this book for awhile. I'm not sure where James is going with this; I'm not sure I trust her completely, which makes the murderer and the response of one of the Murder Squad, suspect, even outside of the story. Isn't that interesting? I was surprised to discover that I had not read this one before. I had a beautiful "new" copy of it ...more
I liked other books by P.D. James but this one disappointed me: was it perhaps just a draft? did she run out of time to revise it? The characters aren't developed fully, there are too many loose ends, and the reader doesn't get a chance to solve the puzzle because s/he isn't able to discover the facts on his/her own. Worst of all: there is a not-so-subtle anti-Semitic undercurrent to the novel. Yikes.
This one was so slow, plodding. Alot of character description. The plot, the who done it got pushed off to the end. Nearly all the clues came together near the end. 75% covered all the different characters being clueless as to who, what did the deeds. Suspense was weak.
Kevin Owens
Terrible. Just awful. I thought I liked PD James but this was barley readable. About once every 80 pages there'd be a nice passage but otherwise just boring with too strange an ending that came out of nowhere. Bleh.
This is the James book that I came closest to disliking. It really is okay. The reason why is because the ending does not make sense; it isn't fully believable in the terms of one character, a character that James, for once, did not do a good job on. If you have never read P. D. James before, don't start with this one. Start with The Murder Room or A Certain Justice.
Having read and enjoyed other books by this author, especially children of men, I was disappointed by this one. Although I'd found a similar problem with A Certain Justice, the issue of too many characters really became a problem in Original Sin. When the eventual murderer was revealed I couldn't remember who they were or how they fitted in with the plot. All the excitement or dare I say even relevance came in the last 2 chapters which is disappointing to say the least. It's readable but I don't ...more
I was really disappointed in this book. I was bored the entire time, and never got invested in any of the characters. I remember very little about this book other than constantly checking the number of pages left, and wishing it would be over faster. I rarely ever skim books, but I just couldn't handle much of this one, so I would skim pages at a time.
I tried one other book by P.D. James too, and felt the same way. Ugh.
Innocent House, a somewhat faded Georgian home sitting next to the Thames, houses Peverell Press, a publishing house that has a long history in London but with a reputation, that like the architecture, has become somewhat worn around the edges. After several generations the majority ownership has passed down to the descendents of two families and a power struggle for dominance has begun but then the heir apparent who seems to have won the top spot is found dead. Was it suicide, an unlikely accid ...more
Andrea Hickman Walker
The 9th Adam Dalgliesh, this one is actually set mostly in London, which is fairly rare for the series. The setting is a firm of publishers, who have suffered from natural deaths, a suicide, a number of malicious pranks and, finally, a murder. And things don't stop there, a number of other murders follow on, generally involving attempts at being disguised as either suicides or accidents.

This is an excellent novel, with one major setback. I did not find the motive convincing. The motive is essent
It was entertaining enough, but I kept finding myself going back to find what detail I had just missed. The plot evolved in a way that felt layered in something I was more focused on, and I got stuck there more than once.

This is the first book I've read by P.D. James, and though she came recommended at our library and I know she is well-received, I couldn't help but to imagine that the description of the author-character Esme Carling matched how I guessed P.D. James is for real. That, or Joan C
It's been awhile since I've read an Inspector Dalgleish mystery, probably 4 or 5 years and this book has been on my shelf for awhile. I'm glad I dusted it off. I enjoy P.D. James' writing style very much, very intelligent writing. The story was interesting and well-crafted. The book doesn't focus on any one character and Dalgleish's team of Kate Miskin and Daniel Aaron are as important to the plot as is Dalgliesh. In fact, I felt that often Dalgliesh was in the background and even more so when w ...more
Paula Dembeck
This is the ninth book in the Adam Dalgliesh detective series in which the Commander is called in to investigate a murder at a prestigious publishing house called Peverell Press. The publisher’s offices are housed in an ornate Venetian Palace on the Thames called Innocent House, a building with a one hundred year old history of publishing fine books, but with a history of a murderous past. The firm is owned and run by five partners and there have recently been some changes in top management.
About 10 years ago, I picked up a copy of Original Sin at a used booksale because I liked the cover art. Despite schlepping it through about 10 moves, I never actually cracked the cover. Imagine my surprise, and rueful chagrin, when I discovered I really like P.D. James. Of course, I can no longer find my copy so I had to get one from the library. The moral of the story? Judge your books by their covers.

One of the Boucheron authors at a murder mystery night made a comment of "Well, I am certainl
Bill Rogers
Another Adam Dalgliesh novel, Original Sin is as well written as any of them. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. As a novel on crime and the way it affects people, it does fairly well.

So why did I like it less than the others I've read so far? I can't get into too much detail without spoilers, but I had three general problems with it.

First, the reasons for murder seem especially unjust. Perhaps this is James's point, murder is by definition unjust, so I can forgive this. Still you would like t
I'm no particular fan of mystery writing; it's not my preferred genre. When I do, every few years, pick up a mystery novel, it's usually one written by P.D. James. James' writing is a known quantity. It will be competent and carefully put together, but not particularly gripping. Her measured pacing keeps the story moving steadily, but doesn't encourage me to stay up late because I can't put the book down. Her characters all seem remarkably keyed into one another's unexpressed thoughts and barely ...more
Bev Taylor
an adam dalgliesh mystery

this us set around an old publishing firm in london in a historical building on the thames.

it takes a good 100 pages to get into the story but this is spent building up the characters which she does superbly -- and personally. not to mention her depiction of london as she sees it

dalgleish does not play a major part in the story and but this does not detract. there r enough persons with their own characteristics to keep u occupied

do not want to go into the plot in any
Children of Men is the only other James novel I'd read. I thought it was inspired and tautly plotted and was eager to get my hands on another of her books. However, I didn't realise this was a crime procedural and part of a series. I simply didn't care about unraveling the mystery of this murder, and stopped halfway through. I'll just read Children of Men again....
Hemmie Martin
This is an epic novel, where the author has the luxury of spending much time giving the reader in-depth descriptions of characters and places. I have to admit that I was occasionally weary, but ploughed on as I'm a fan of PD James. If I followed the style of this particular book, I'm sure readers would drift away, as I'm not a known name in the crime genre world.

As the book progresses, interest is lifted, but with so many characters, it's hard for the reader to start working out the complex plot
I can see why people might think this book meanders too much about things unrelated to the plot. Ms. James goes into exhaustive detail about every character who takes a part in her story, and that can be tedious to read. In this case, though, I rather enjoyed it, and felt it gave depth and authenticity to the story. The mystery was properly absorbing and difficult to unravel (at least for me). I'll admit that I was a little uncomfortable with the part Daniel plays in the resolution of the myster ...more
This is either the third or fourth time I've read this. This time, I was struck by how odd some of the relationships and motivations are. Some of them just didn't ring true for me. I did like the way that Dalgliesh was almost a minor character. I like him, but this was a nice way to bring some of the other characters to the fore.
Hilary G
I decided to read a P D James novel because she died recently and this is the one I found in one of my local charity shops. According to the Goodreads description, it is the 9th in the series featuring Adam Dalgliesh. I have read one or two others, but so long ago that I don't think it has any bearing on my reading of this novel. I more or less approached it as a "new" reader.

My mother devoured murder mysteries by the hundreds, so many that the mobile library put a green dot in all the ones she
This Adam Dalgliesh mystery is one of my favorites, thus far (I've read 3). It was very easy to follow the characters which are as richly described as the scenes, which primarily take place in a beautiful "palace" on the Thames in London. The story involves a series of deaths at Innocent House and the determination of cause for them. The story moves quickly, is riveting and complex, and keeps you guessing until the very end. Because the story involves a publishing company, Peverell Press, the au ...more
Murder at a publishing house. As usual, PD James builds up an interesting environment - but her murderers and endings leave a little to be desired.
This is my first foray in P.D. James' territory and while it took me awhile to become engaged with the story I am now interested to read more of her work. This was a character driven story. In other words, believable and human. The plot wasn't forced on the people that inhabit the book. James gave the characters room to live and while that made for a slow start, it was an investment that paid off in the end. The one down side to the story is the detective Adam Dagliesh, the main character James ...more
Helen Petrovic
When Gerard Etienne, the ruthless head of prominent publishing house Peverell Press, is found murdered under mysterious circumstances, Adam Dalgliesh is called to investigate. But who could the murderer be? Gerard’s sister, who stands to inherit his fortune? His fiancée? His spurned lover? A disgruntled author or staff member? Or is there someone with a deeper, more sinister grudge at work?

This is the first P D James book I have read, and a novel far from my usual fare of fantasy and speculativ
Peverell Press is a publishing firm on the banks of the Thames. It's a beautiful house, built in the style of houses in Venice. But strange things are happening there - manuscripts are being changed, photographs for books are going missing, and when Mandy the temporary secretary arrives for her first day of work, a female employee's body is found in the tiny filing room at the top of the house. It is a suicide and the death puts a pall over the house. The new manager, Gerard Etienne, wants to se ...more
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Docklands in detective novels 1 2 Mar 13, 2015 03:25AM  
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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)
  • A Taste for Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7)
  • Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh, #8)
  • 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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“Daniel supposed he had a secret life. Most people did; it was hardly possible to live without one.” 25 likes
“It's easy to get a reputation for wisdom. It's only necessary to live long, speak little and do less.” 5 likes
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