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

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  5,423 ratings  ·  239 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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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
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
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
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
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.
Elaine Meszaros
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
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
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
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.
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
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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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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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