The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)
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The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh #14)

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  8,540 ratings  ·  996 reviews
Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recup...more
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Published November 18th 2008 by Random House Audio (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nette
I found this to be so leisurely -- pages-long descriptions of car trips through the countryside, detailed listings of the stuff in every room -- that I had to force myself to finish. But I'm giving it 3 stars because for God's sake, this woman is 88 YEARS OLD. I can barely find my car keys and she's still cranking out byzantine mystery plots.
Rebecca
Nov 28, 2008 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a great mystery.
I have been a fan of PD James forever and was sure that with her age, The Ligththouse would be her last Dagliesh novel. I was so happy to see that she had another story in her. I rated this 4 stars as much because I love James and her wonderful language. However, I didn't feel that it was her best book. I sensed that she needed to tie up a bunch of loose ends for her characters. Still, on a scale of 1 to 10, if PD James wrote a book that was not her best, it is still an 9 compared to other myste...more
Dorothy
When you pick up a P.D. James mystery, you know that you are in the hands of a professional. Cleanly plotted, meticulously detailed, characters revealed layer by layer, hers are the epitome of the "British mysteries" in the tradition of the great Agatha. It is a tradition that I know and love.

"The Private Patient" is her latest entry in the saga of Commander Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard. It is a police procedural with, as usual, James' touch of humanism.

We find that Dalgliesh is about to...more
Shane
I decided to read a detective genre fiction book after a long time. An investigative reporter checks into a private clinic to have a scar removed and is murdered - it sounded like a good premise to work from.

I have to credit James, almost ninety, with continuing to write competent police procedural books which peep into the lives of her suspects, criminals and detectives. And yet, I found several aspects that grated on me: the intruding concern for plot summations at various points of the story...more
Mark
A new departure for me as I was listening to this on my journey last week to Liverpool as an audiobook. It meant as I wound my way through rural Dorset and up into Wiltshire and on up to Bath before finally getting on to the motorway if I got stuck behind those people who only seem to drive once a year and then always in front of me I didn't have the normal frustration that seems to ride personnified as a regular passenger on those journeys. Listening to a well read book made me a more patient d...more
Daisy
I only seem to update when I didn't really like a book, but maybe I just want to warn everyone. James started out as such a compelling mystery writer and her prose is still good, but her books have become more and more tedious over time. She's become, I think, far too enamored of her own regular characters and too much of the writing is focused, not only their thoughts and feelings, but of the minutia of their actions. I think it was almost page 200 before we read about an interview with a suspe...more
Nat
I guess I'm channeling my mother (who died last year). She was an English teacher who loved to read P. D. James' mysteries. When I saw this on the shelf at Borders, I thought of her and bought it. Now I see why she enjoyed reading James' works. She is an excellent writer, rich and visual. Next time I read one of her books I will keep a dictionary at my side. What a fine way to increase my vocabulary! Of all the current murder/mystery writers active today, James is probably the best WRITER of all...more
Dana Stabenow
Nov 28, 2008 Dana Stabenow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who appreciate good writing.
Recommended to Dana by: Barbara Peters of the Poisoned Pen
I wrote this review for the Poisoned Pen's eNews:

What could be more English than a country house murder? In The Private Patient P.D. James summons up the shades of Conan Coyle and Agatha Christie in murder most foul of a patient at a stately country manor turned medical clinic. Means, motive and opportunity are all on offer for everyone on the premises, from the self-absorbed doctor, the idealistic assistant, the lovelorn nurse, the dispossessed heir and the devoted nanny to the overprotective s...more
Migdalia
Dec 01, 2008 Migdalia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to fans of mystery and great writing
I cannot get a PD James Dalgliesh book without becoming totally addicted to it. I am never bored. I am never without anticipation and questions, and I am always heartened at the fact that the investigators have the same questions I have or are filled with the same curiosity. I will leave the plot summaries for the book covers and B&N website. It's enough to say that it's a typical PD James book: of the highest quality.
Laura
Jun 04, 2010 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Hayes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bruce
This is another of P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, the first I’ve read in a few years. I have found that they have always engaged me, although perhaps the more recent ones felt as if they were becoming a bit formulaic - maybe I’d simply read too many in too quick succession. At any rate, beginning The Private Patient I was again reminded of how perceptive James can be, how her interpersonal insights are often acute, especially regarding the subtleties of intimate relationships. And I was a...more
Ed
Of the three great post-modern talismans--race, gender, class--P.D. James has chosen class as the ongoing theme of her books, inteweaving discussions of the fine (or not so fine) distinctions shown by accent, birthplace and school into her terrific mysteries.

"The Pivate Patient" has been hoped for by her fans almost since the publication of "The Lighthouse", published in 2006, hit the shelves. James was 80 years old when she finished that one and we didn't know how much longer she could go on....more
Rose
I thought it was a bit too slow-moving with too much detail about irrelevant stuff. I also don't really care about Adam's private life, to be honest, and find the sections about Emma boring.

This might sound harsh, but in some ways James's characters remind me of an autistic boy I work with, because they talk in the way he does - overly and un-naturally precise.

And, my number one pet peeve with PD James is, as usual, Kate and her background. I've talked about it before...it gets no less annoying...more
Jennifer
I actually read this on my iPhone and it is the perfect portable book. PD James keeps the mystery moving, but still keeps things simple enough to follow so that you can pick up in different spots on the go. I don't think I noticed as much in previous books how uncomfortable her characters are in their lives. She's always kept Dalgliesh somewhat distant, but in this one, where she hints again at this possibly being his last case, we see more of his life and in some ways I got a better sense of hi...more
Don
I've been a fan of James for years, and look forward to reading each new entry into this series featuring the Scotland Yard detecitve Adam Dalgliesh. However, this, her most recent book to be released in paperback, was a serious drag. It wasn't the page-turner good detective novels should be, the actual detecting and puzzle-solving work in the book was extremely light, and the resolution disappointing.

For me, James' strength has always been in her ability to efficiently build profiles of half a...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Sometimes one simply has to swim against the tide. So here I am resisting the undertow from thousands of P D James fans.

There was a time when the classic 'English' mystery story could maintain a grip. The staple props, country manors, locked rooms, plodding policemen, brilliant detectives, earned their devotees. If Agatha Christie became almost a caricature of herself, John Dickson Carr, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and others carried the torch. It came as a surprise to someone who previously kne...more
Susie
Ate it up with a spoon. The Baronness is in fine form. The denouement was a little less than gripping, and the end was a little too wrappy-uppy--I was waiting for some final twist that never came. But, I'm not really complaining because the enjoyment was there. I went straight on to the new Elizabeth George, the poor woman's P.D. James.
caitlin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
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Melaszka
A traditional country house murder mystery (only this time the country house is an exclusive private cosmetic surgery clinic) with all the creaking cliches of the genre. Rhoda Gradwyn, an investigative journalist, goes there to have a childhood scar removed and is bumped off in the night. Utterly implausibly, most of the clinic's staff seem to have some prior connection with her. Not only that, but they all have far-fetched, sensationalist backstories and all talk to each other in either melodra...more
Richard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greg Garrett
Some books entertain. Some enlighten. Some few do both. Like the Catholic writer Graham Greene, the Anglican writer PD James takes seriously the importance of telling a really engaging story, but in the process, she engages many of our most important questions as well. Her chosen form is the mystery, which is significant because as a student in my writing class in Wales said last week, the mystery is the natural form of human storytelling because it forces us to ask and answer questions. "Whodun...more
Shelah

The most interesting thing about PD James's new mystery, The Private Patient, is the uncertain way in which it ends. Baroness James was born in 1920, so she'll be 89 years old this year, but she's been turning out books at the rate of one every two or three years since her first novel was published in 1962, and she hasn't showed signs of stopping, until now. If you really hate spoilers, don't read on, even though nothing I'll say here gives anything away about the mystery of the story, but James...more
Black Elephants
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PEI Public Library Service
The Private Patient by PD James

P.D. James is my favourite mystery author and I highly recommend all of her books. “The Private Patient” is the most recent (and quite likely the last) in her popular Adam Dalgliesh series. Dalgliesh is a Commander with New Scotland yard. He’s published several books of poetry and is very much the gentleman detective. In this book Dalgliesh investigates the murder of an investigative journalist who is recovering from a recent facial surgery. Set in a beautiful mano...more
Rhonda
well...it wasn't so much that i didn't like this book, i just wasn't excited about it. there were parts that were too detailed about things that i didn't care about, and there were parts that were fine. i also felt a darkness in the setting and characters, and felt that there wasn't really anyone to like or to relate to. i did think the last few chapters were a little odd - the whole stone thing. what??? ok - i admit that insanity makes people do odd things, but really??? well all i can say is t...more
Marisa
So I have a lot against this book.
First, I've seen reviews that compare this book/author to Agatha Christie and NO, JUST NO. I've read almost every Agatha Christie, some of them several times, and I barely could make myself read two of P.D. James' books (I read the second one because I convinced myself it HAD to get better. Not true).

The character development in this is spectacularly lacking, and the conversations feel forced. The only people I liked were Benton and Kate. The only two character...more
Jessica
There's a reason P.D. James is a master of the well-worn English mystery genre, and The Private Patient is a good example of why. Superficially, this could come straight from Agatha Christie land -- a muckraking journalist checks into a country manor house that has been purchased by a plastic surgeon from the family that could no longer afford to run it for use as a luxury cosmetic surgery clinic, and is murdered the night of her operation. It soon is revealed that many members of the household...more
Lorraine
I've read some reviews saying that this was not as good as previous novels, but I liked it because I like P.D. James' writing. She has so many potential murders - everybody has something in their past that makes them suspect. This book takes place at a private hospital on the south coast of England where a famous writer has gone to have a scar removed from her face. That evening, groggy from the anesthetic, the lady is murdered. Dalgleish is called in at an inconvenient time (he had a weekend wi...more
Susan from MD
I am a big fan of P.D. James and of Adam Dalgliesh. The story focuses on the murder of an investigative journalist who went to a clinic outside of London to have plastic surgery to get rid of a prominent scar on her face. Although the book didn't break new ground, it was a really good read, particularly if you have read some of the other books in the series. What I appreciate about P.D. James is that her books are so well written and really rise to the level of "literature" which is not the case...more
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Lush Library: Has anyone read any PD James? 7 13 Nov 05, 2011 05:20AM  
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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 Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1) Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)

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“If the screams of all earth's living creatures were one scream of pain, surely it would shake the stars.” 4 likes
“The city which lay below was a charnel house built on multi-layered bones centuries older than those which lay beneath the cities of Hamburg or Dresden. Was this knowledge part of the mystery it held for her, a mystery felt most strongly on a bell-chimed Sunday on her solitary exploration of its hidden alleys and squares? Time had fascinated her from childhood, its apparent power to move at different speeds, the dissolution it wrought on minds and bodies, her sense that each moment, all moments past and those to come, were fused into an illusory present which with every breath became the unalterable, indestructible past. In the City of London these moments were caught and solidified in stone and brick, in churches and monuments and in bridges which spanned the grey-brown ever-flowing Thames. She would walk out in spring or summer as early as six o'clock, double-locking the front door behind her, stepping into a silence more profound and mysterious than the absence of noise. Sometimes in this solitary perambulation it seenmed that her own footsteps were muted, as if some part of her were afraid to waken the dead who had walked thse streets and had known the same silence.” 2 likes
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