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Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9)
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Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh #9)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  6,533 Ratings  ·  292 Reviews
The literary world is shaken when a murder takes place at the Peverell Press, an old-established publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames.

The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant new managing director whose ruthless ambition has made him many enemies: a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author and rebellious colleagues. Adam
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Published 1995 by Recorded Books (first published 1994)
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Phrynne
Nov 18, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I read a book by this author and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her style of writing. In one review I saw it described as "intelligent writing" and I think that describes it perfectly. She has a tendency to describe things in great detail,sometimes two or three pages of detail, but I find I can live with that. Adam Dalgleish is a favourite of mine but this book gave greater importance to his two offsiders, Daniel and Kate. I enjoyed the lovely descriptions of London a ...more
Laura
A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm's fortunes. Etienne was clearly a man with enemies—a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues, one of who apparently killed herself a short time earlier. Yet Etienne's death, which occurred ...more
First Second Books
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Doctor
Mar 19, 2014 Doctor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
Oct 22, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-british
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.
Hannah
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.
Melanie
Oct 31, 2011 Melanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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.
Marjorie
Apr 19, 2011 Marjorie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2012 Kevin Owens rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Katherine Clark
Mar 05, 2014 Katherine Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill
Oct 14, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lucy
Feb 20, 2012 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ashley
May 26, 2009 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Keith
Mar 02, 2011 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2011 Andrea Hickman Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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
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Gillian Kevern
This is the best P.D. James I've read so far. The mystery dove-tailed beautifully at the end. It was emotionally and intellectually satisfying and I turned off the light and went to bed satisfied.

Twenty minutes later, I was unable to sleep because the denouement was really bothering me. I was annoyed at Aaron for his choice. And then I started wondering if I was being unfair by comparing him to Miskin. I started thinking about all their conversations. If Miskin had been more sympathetic, would
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Fanficfan44
Jul 23, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original Sin by P.D. James is book 9 in the Adam Dalgliesh series. This mystery involves an old-established publishing firm housed in a building more suitable for a museum called non-ironically Innocent House. The firm seems to be facing more than its fair share of death and mischievous pranks. Are the deaths and the pranks connected? Are the suicides really suicides? Are the deaths even connected to one another? There is a complicated cast of characters each with their own desperate tales, loss ...more
Ruth
Aug 25, 2007 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recently-read
I should have been able to give this book 5 stars, since it's set in a publishing house & that's my field. However, I can't. I did enjoy reading it--was up till 1:30 a.m. finishing it, in fact (mysteries are SO addictive!). But I found the story a bit muddled & the range of characters a little strange. The copy editor is the focus of one short chapter & is never mentioned before or after! (We do tend to be reclusive, but we're not peripheral.) The marketing folks, who are generally t ...more
Nick Davies
Nov 01, 2013 Nick Davies rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I knew P.D. James was a little old-fashioned in her writing, and more slow of pace than most of the crime novelists I more frequently read, but this was an incredibly long slog, and ultimately very disappointing.

The story focusses on several deaths (murders and apparent suicides) within the staff and associates of a London publishing house. There were over a hundred pages of description and over-wordy slow exposition at the start of the novel before anything actually happens and Dalgliesh become
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Suzka
May 04, 2012 Suzka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Alison Stuart
Not one of my favourite P.D.James. I suppose as a writer myself, the idea of murder in a publishing house appealed but the denouement when it came was so subtle and not a little too contrived. None of the characters had much to like about them and there was a lot of "head hopping" (different characters points of view within one scene) that gets quite tedious. Characters were introduced and then never referred to again. As for the police, I always find Dalgleish a little pompous and sanctimonious ...more
Alicia Utter
Rate: 6

At a publishing house on the Thames, the company is barely making ends meet. Then one of the board is murdered, and no one understands a motive or why Mr. Etienne's body would be messed with after the death. The story centers on the relationships at the publishers as well as the cops investigating. you find out Etienne's family was highly regarded in the resistance during WWII, and you also find out the company is in serious financial straights.

While I liked some of the characters, the p
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Laura
Oct 08, 2016 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James writes this mystery, set at the fictional Peverell Press in London, with exceptional knowledge of the activity and dynamics of a publishing house. The celebration and critique of this world made the setting enjoyable for me. Along with some theological reflection on the title of the book and a twist on James' usual mystery formula, I found a lot to like in this book. My main critiques are that Dalgliesh wasn't in the book as much as he is in most volumes in the series and too much informat ...more
Arwen
Mar 25, 2012 Arwen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-suspense
Not one of my favourite James books.
The long, deliberate build-up is so long and so deliberate that for a large part of the book one has the sensation that nothing is happening at all. Lots of character detail but not much else.
And the dénouement....... sorry but no. I didn't object to the moral dilemmas of the Jewish policeman during the course of the book but what happens at the end is just unreal (not wishing to give anything away).
I like the Dalglish series a lot but this one was disappointi
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Kyrie
Sep 15, 2015 Kyrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
James makes places come alive in my mind. I love her skill with describing people and places, and creating atmosphere.

While Dalgleish is leading the investigation, he isn't the main focus. It's varying between his staff and the people they're investigating. It has a psychological element - how our perceptions can lead us down the wrong trails - all of us. James weaves in the past - WWII and further back to when Innocent House was built.

I would love to work in a place like Innocent House - or a
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Terric853
I've read several books by PD James and like her "hero," Adam Dalgleish, but this book was dull, boring and overlong. It was 487 pages and it took until 150 before the first murder happened. So much of the book was descriptions of scenery; Innocent House, the publishing firm; the characters' homes, etc. I couldn't wait for the end, which felt rushed to me.
Margie
May 07, 2012 Margie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series, u-k
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.
Ellen
Feb 23, 2014 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Here I will use P.D. James' own description of a writer character to describe how I felt about this book, "She wasn't consistent. Just when you thought: God, I can't go on with this boring drivel, she'd produce a really good passage and the book would suddenly come alive." Except all those passages were about minor characters that I didn't really need to know about.
Sarah
Feb 17, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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....
Alex
Jul 24, 2014 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
According to my buddy Ron, "Original Sin is the best novel containing a murder mystery between Brothers Karamazov and Infinite Jest." I so appreciate good hyperbole.

Anyone else with an opinion about whether it's okay to jump in at #9 of this series?
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P.D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of over 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 th
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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)

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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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