Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1)
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Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  15,726 ratings  ·  518 reviews
Headstrong and beautiful, the young housemaid Sally Jupp is put rudely in her place, strangled in her bed behind a bolted door. Coolly brilliant policeman Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard must find her killer among a houseful of suspects, most of whom had very good reason to wish her ill.

Cover Her Face is P. D. James's electric debut novel, an ingeniously plotted mystery

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Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 8th 2001 by Scribner (first published 1962)
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Community Reviews

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Tea Jovanović
Nažalost, kod nas je bila popularnija serija snimljena po romanima o inspektori Daglišu nego sami roman P.D. Džejms... :) Ko je još nije čitao neka požuri, mnogo je propustio :)
Cheryl
"Exactly three months before the killing at Martingale, Mrs. Maxie gave a dinner party. Years later when the trial was a half forgotten scandal and the headlines were yellowing on the newspaper lining of the cupboard drawers, Eleanor Maxie looked back on that spring evening as the opening scene of the tragedy."

These are the first lines written in 1962 by the monarch of mystery, 92 year old P.D. James. They predict introspection from her characters, depth of story lines, literary language, and mu...more
Shireen
After my brain injury, PD James became a marker for me in my reading progress. Pre-injury I read every one of her books and enjoyed them tremendously for their good writing and good stories. After my injury though, with my reading ability fried, I couldn't read any of her books. Too many characters to follow, plots that meandered beyond my ability to follow, writing at a grade level higher than what I'd sunk down to... It was rather disappointing to see her new books come out over the years and...more
trishtrash
This was James’ first crime novel, debuting DCI Adam Dalgliesh who gets far less character padding or attention than the victim, suspect pool, or even his accompanying sergeant. I enjoy James’ character building enormously, it’s really her forte, and especially the way she often leaves Dalgliesh to the role of observer, concentrating on the crime rather than the draw of a serialised detective. In Cover her Face, none of the characters are overly likeable, but they are all very strongly presented...more
Nikki
Meh. P.D. James is a competent writer and puts together a reasonable mystery, but there's nothing exciting about it -- I felt like I'd read it before, honestly. The Kindle version has very bad formatting, too ("that" turns into "mat", for example); no one bothered to proofread it. None of the characters are particularly interesting to me -- again, I seemed to have read all about them before, in other crime novels.

I think I had the same reaction to another P.D. James book, so maybe I just don't c...more
Matt Glaviano
I like keeping a crime novel handy sometimes when I’m reading a nonfiction book. I tend to find fiction a bit more relaxing, and would prefer not to read a book like The Omnivore’s Dilemma (the other book I’m reading) before bed. This was James’ debut novel, and it reads quite assuredly for being such. A well constructed, if unsurprising, mystery. I don’t mean that the identity of the killer was unsurprising; I mean that, in general, the book stuck well within the confines of its genre. One thin...more
Tony
James, P. D. COVER HER FACE. (1962). *****. This was James’ first Detective Chief Superintendent Adam Dagliesh mystery, and marked her entrance into the field superlatively. I’ve always wanted to read these mysteries in order, but, unfortunately, read them as I found them. Some little pieces of data are given in each installment about Dagliesh that help you to know the character better, but does not affect the reading of the book at hand. In this case, there is a killing at Martingale, the ances...more
Stven
May 22, 2009 Stven rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Brit mystery fans
I'm hovering between three stars and four and pick three simply because I know the later books in the series get better, and I need a way to go up! Adam Dalgliesh is my favorite P.D. James character, and though I have read many of the novels and seen most of the BBC productions featuring him, I had never actually read this 1962 book, the first in the series. It was very interesting to see the character introduced, and gratifying to find this an engrossing read, full of the sensitivity to motivat...more
Laura
I enjoyed this visit back to the first mystery series I ever picked up in my late teens. Sometimes, it's a good thing that my memory is so poor, as this felt like a first-time read.

I love the way James writes. She has a great sense of place, and is able to concisely communicate various people's states of mind amazingly well. She is also able to manage this equally well from a man's or a woman's point of view.

The murderer was a surprise, and there were a couple of twists at the end I didn't see...more
Jennifer
For the life of me, I don't know why I love PD James so much! The truth is, you can't begin to fathom the solution to the mystery that seems to unfold all at once, in the very last few pages, providing very little satisfying closure (no "afterward!" no big meeting with all the suspects, gathered around the fireplace while the sleuth deduces the killer!). And... I will be honest: there is very little to like about ANYONE in any of her books. I don't know why I care. I guess that's a testimony to...more
Silvio111
This is another of P.D. James' very early Dalgliesh novels. Much like UNNATURAL CAUSES, it displays a certain dated view of society no longer seen in the 21st century. Whereas it is displayed in UNNATURAL CAUSES in the author's attitude toward disability, in COVER HER FACE it emerges in the portrayal of an unwed mother as a sly, deceitful, and wicked person who happens to be physically beautiful, but is targeted by virtually everyone around her a sinner and a wretch from whom gratitude is expect...more
Leah
A very enjoyable murder mystery.

I've been curious about P.D James for a while now, so I bypassed my bulging 'Golden-Era' crime novel shelves and tried this second generation lady mystery author. On the whole, I wasn't disappointed.
James writes well, engages the reader with the characters, and has some very strong opinions on the state of society as she saw it, which she was definitely not afraid to air. Some of the topics to get a tongue lashing from her included the morality of youth, unmarried...more
Bill Rogers
I believe this was P. D. James's first detective novel, and it is an amazing piece of work for a debut. It reads like, and is, more of a novel rather than the simpler, sketchier, slightly dumbed-down style more common in the genre. Yet there is nothing highbrow or deliberately precious about it.

The characters are well developed. The various conflicts and motivations of the characters are interesting and well developed as well.

I found the character of Adam Dalgliesh to be refreshing. He comes to...more
Deb
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
This is a classic English mystery along the lines of an Agatha Christie story. There is the upper class family who lives in their family manor and is attended to by servants. One of these, Sally Jupp, was a meddlesome single mother and her death by strangulation is what brings Inspector Adam Dalgliesh into the the case. In typical fashion he interviews all the suspects, looks beyond the obvious solutions, and in a confrontation gets the killer to admit to the crime. Few other writers today captu...more
Patricia
This was my first PD James. Since I'm a fan of mystery, I thought it was time I read the mistress of the genre. I decided to start at the beginning with first in the Adam Dalgliesh series written in 1962. It took me a while to get used to the style, so accustom am I to mystery writers of the the 90s, like Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs, and Nevada Barr-- who write high energy modern crime drama. But I cut my teeth on Agatha Christie, so it was not long before I was in the swing of things.

Cover...more
Jack
PD James has crafted a delicate mystery introducing us to the aloof Detective Adam Dalgliesh. In contrast to many mystery novels, James begins with a long opening outlining the events leading up to murder of the victim. I found this fantastic as James raised a number of questions whilst also establishing the characters in a subtle yet effective way. I found the characterisation of Detective Dalgliesh less pleasing. We gleaned very little information about him with less than a paragraph dedicate...more
Asha
Reading PD James is always a joy and an educational experience. Her mastery of the language and her razor sharp observations about human conduct make it a learning experience. Which is why her novels are not simple whodunnit but more like why they did it.

Cover her face is about a murder in an English mansion house. The victim is a servant girl who dies hours after announcing her engagement to the young man of the house. It seems straightforward but then as Adam Dalgliesh delves into the investi...more
Snort
"Death Comes to Pemberley" so says P.D. James, but before risking any sensibilities, I thought it wise to dip a tentative toe into her first novel, in order to judge whether she may do Austin justice. Many will agree that "Pride&Prejudice" is such Perfection that I'm loathe to destroy it with inferior associations, which is why I have yet to embrace the blood-thirsty "Pride&Prejudice&Zombies" (despite my hearty appetite for the Walking Dead), and why it took me 7 years to watch the K...more
Katharine
I'm beginning to think by some coincidence the very first PD James I read also happened to be the only interesting book she's ever written. Honestly, I would really like to like her, but I can't. Cover Her Face is her first novel and I wonder how she ever became successful this way. It suffers from all the flaws I've found pervasive in her other novels – boring descriptions, unlikeable characters, and zero suspense. The mystery plot has a lot of painstakingly crafted red herrings and clues, but...more
Abbey
BOTTOM LINE: An auspicious debut novel from a writer who has become one of the very best of the "traditional" style popular mystery authors in the world. This 1962 "big house" story has all the trappings, beautifully twisted, and fairly smoothly presented. Recommended.

Death of a maid, who is rather more than just a servant, in a lovely old manor house that’s seen better days, with an odd family who ought not to have let her get under their skin. Smooth and involved plotting, lots of secrets, in...more
Joaquin Garza
PD James, Baronesa de Holland Park, es uno de los grandes nombres vivientes de la novela detectivesca junto con Ruth Rendell, Baronesa de Babergh. Con una multifacética carrera que incluyó participaciones en el ministerio del interior británico y en la mesa directiva de la BBC, James encarna a la vez la tradición de Agatha Christie y una nueva voz en la novela clásica de misterio.

‘Cubran su rostro’ es su primera novela, y por ratos se siente así. Especialmente si se le compara con The Mysterious...more
Shane Plassenthal
This is one of my favorite mystery novels. Its Agatha Christie meets literary gold. Although it is certainly a bit dated, fans of English whodunits will be pleasantly surprised. James is a skilled, erudite and atmospheric writer of the mystery genre. 'Cover Her Face' is James at her earliest, but near her absolute best. From the first sentence, which the reader will come to appreciate by the end of the novel if they remember it, you will be drawn into aristocratic English society and a brilliant...more
Wendy
My mother was a fan of P.D. James and Elizabeth George mysteries--I've had the first of each of their series on my shelf for years and have been meaning to get around to them. I'm not entirely sure if this was the best starting place--Cover Your Face is a good, well plotted mystery that kept me guessing to the end, but other than that it's not much different from the usual murder in a British manor house you might catch on PBS Mystery. Inspector Adam Dalgliesh unravels the mystery but unlike, sa...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
A single mother, which was a bit of a scandal back in the day, is employed by the Mackie family as a maid. The girl is getting a little bit above herself and getting peoples backs up. Stephen Mackie, a young doctor, is becoming close to her and out of the blue, on the day of a fete at the family home, she announces to them that he has proposed to her. The next morning, she is found dead in her locked bedroom and Adam Dalgliesh is called in to investigate. The suspects are interviewed and he begi...more
Joanna
One of those contrived English murder at the country house stories that Agatha Christie did sooooo much better. I'm not a fan of P.D. James. She starts with a great premise but in words and dry unemotional narrative, delivers little. Same as in The Children of Men...nice premise, cold and wordy execution! Boring! This is the last time I'll try reading her...just not my cup of tea!
Lanier


"God, he was glad to get away from a place where the living were perpetually sacrificed to keep the half-dead alive," (207). Not exactly the sentiments I'd like my DOCTOR to have!! Pretty cold-hearted characters in this novel, either one of them could have killed her....

I missed the killer, in this one, sticking to my guns, since that usually had been my gift of picking the killer, but being thrown off by the Red Herrings or simply forgetting the air-tight evidence or clues that authors give.

An...more
Daniel
At long last, I picked up a P.D. James book. My Mother has talked about these books for years, and they remain some of her favorites (which is saying a lot, given the sheer number of books my Mother has devoured).

This really worked for me. I love the prose and the narrative voice. The story passes through the perspective of various characters and each is written well. Some of the observations made about these characters are wicked and even humorous. The mystery itself has familiar trappings and...more
Margaret
I rate PD James and yet I didn't enjoy this novel as much as others of hers that I've read: but it was her first effort and as such is pretty good. The set up is a bit Cluedo-ish: the Elizabethan manor house,with its mistress and her sickly husband, her adult children, a vicar, the murdered maid. But it's better than that suggests. Chief Inspector Dalgleish has a fine interviewing technique, but we don't get to know him at all outside the interview room. It's the other characters who get to move...more
Sue
I actually enjoyed this more than I thought. The first PD James I've read.

I did't know anything about the author. But to me she's pretty similar in style, although slightly more modern, than Agatha Christie. Novels like this one take you back to a bygone world, but it's not so far gone to be out of reach. Living in a village I would say it's still pretty much like this, with more traffic!

It wasn't an exciting read by any means, but it was a page turner which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of...more
Shannon
Was able to finish this book but couldn't really care how it ended up - not one redeeming character and very little development of the Detective. I'm assuming this is because this is a series so why make me like the Detective and want me to read more about him and his cases. . .don't focus on him but rather the boring, selfish other 'suspects' and 'victim'. To be fair I should read at least one more in the series to see if it gets better (based on other reviews it sounds like it gets better). Ho...more
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P. D. James is 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 has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she...more
More about P.D. James...
Death Comes to Pemberley The Children of Men Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14) The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)

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