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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  ·  19,430 ratings  ·  672 reviews

St Cedd's Church fête has been held in the grounds of Martingale manor house for generations. As if organizing stalls, as well as presiding over luncheon, the bishop and the tea tent, were not enough for Mrs Maxie on that mellow July afternoon, she also has to contend with the news of her son's sudden engagement to her new parlour maid, the sly sin
Paperback, 80th Anniversary Edition, 224 pages
Published May 7th 2009 by faber and faber (first published 1962)
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The Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerThe Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesA Midsummer Night's Dream by William ShakespeareGoodbye to All That by Robert GravesThe Big Sleep / Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
Post-Coital Literature
11th out of 94 books — 19 voters
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Faber Firsts
1st out of 9 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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 Kennedy
"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
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
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
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
I've previously read a couple of other PD James' Inspector Dalgleish mysteries before and enjoyed very much. I like how intelligent James writes. This is the first Dalgleish mystery and I must say I enjoyed as much as the others I've read. Dalgleish is almost a peripheral character in the story, James rather focusses on the other characters/ suspects and their activities, motivations as she develops the story. Basically, Sally Juup, a housemaid is found dead (strangled) in her bedroom. All of th ...more
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
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
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
May 22, 2009 Stven rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Zakariah Johnson
This is the 1962 debut from the now-legendary crime writer, the book that slowly, laconically introduces her signature character, Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. The plot is extremely well constructed (so much so the lattices nearly vanish behind the roses) and nearly all of the cast of suspects who stereotypically come together in the penultimate scene for the drawing-room revelations are people complex enough to simultaneously like and despise. I'd recommend this for anyone who enjoys locked-r ...more
Ok, lets start with a murder, maybe in a locked room, yeah something like that, you know and then maybe the whole thing should have a closed in kinda claustrophobic feel to it, like in a country manor, yeah, I like that. Just for the fun of it, lets have it take place around a celebration or party or something like that so we can have at least five or six people around at the time. Oooh, I know, I know, lets give them all a motive for wanting to have done the victim in. Man, this is getting good ...more
3 1/2 stars

• Was this a terrifically plotted mystery? No

• Was I satisfied by the ending? Not really

• Was this book eminently readable? Yes

• Did I enjoy the book? Yes

• Will I read more of this series? Yes

(view spoiler)
"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
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
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.

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
#1 in the Adam Dalgliesh series. Author P.D. James had her writing debut with this English manor house mystery. A girl hired from the local home for unwed mothers has stunned the family and friends assembled for dinner by replying to her mistress' suggestion that she change into her uniform and help the maid by replying "Would that be appropriate, madam, for the girl your son has asked to marry him?" When she has apparently overslept the next morning, she is found choked to death with the door t ...more
This is one of the earlier works of this author and takes place for the most part in an upper class English home and again has a goodly amount do characters. I guess because I did not understand the vagaries of English society this story did not appeal as much. I will continue with her later works which I found more entertaining, but give this lady a lot of credit. For an early novel it was convoluted and well written
This story reminded me of all those Agatha Christie mysteries where the exact time, detail and circumstance predicted who the murderer was. Inspector Dalgliesh works the same way.

The cast of characters were so well brought forth that I couldn't help but feel like I knew and liked - or not - how they were. And the author threw in enough red herrings to keep me guessing till the end, and even then I didn't get it right!

However, since I listened to this on audio borrowed from my library, the discs
I recently read a P.D. James book that was #14 in the Adam Dalgliesh series and really enjoyed it so I decided to start the series from the beginning. Cover Her Face is book 1 in the series and it is a very traditional Agatha Christie-esque style mystery, locked room, secluded manor house, upstairs-downstairs tensions, a victim with many enemies, questionable alibis for many of the suspects and the parlour reveal scene at the end. This book is definitely a example of the classism and morality of ...more
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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
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, bu ...more
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
Nancy Oakes
I read this book EONS ago but had totally forgotten the plot, the mystery and the killer, so it was truly like reading it for the first time. Now I'm interested enough to reread more of my books by this author. If you haven't read it, go get a copy. It's a great book, a great mystery, filled with enough suspects and red herrings to keep the most avid mystery fan interested through the entire book. I thought I had it figured out but I was so off the mark it wasn't funny.

brief summary, no spoilers
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
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
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
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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)
  • 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)
  • Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
  • Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)
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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