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

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  24,453 Ratings  ·  869 Reviews
AN ADAM DALGLIESH MYSTERY

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
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Paperback, 80th Anniversary Edition, 224 pages
Published May 7th 2009 by faber and faber (first published 1962)
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Shireen
Apr 21, 2012 Shireen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
James
Back to basics! I switched from modern cozies and crime fiction to a supposed blast from the past. I remembered a few PD James novels I read in college as part of my mystery fiction independent studies and decided to start the series.

As expected, very reminiscent of Agatha Christie but with a little more modern appeal. I enjoyed the characters and premise for a traditional whodunit!

I also like the wrap up of all the main characters in the end, as well as that at least one of them is seen again
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Susan
May 01, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read the first Adam Dalgleish novel for some time, so it was a pleasure to return to P D James and her very first book. In some ways this is a very typical mystery. The Maxie family live in the big house, in somewhat genteel poverty, with the only full time staff member the loyal Martha. As well as the housework and cooking, Mr Maxie is bedridden, so Mrs Maxie employs Sally Jupp, an unmarried mother as a house-parlourmaid. She is convinced by Miss Liddell, the Warden of St Mary’s Refu ...more
Faith
Jun 05, 2017 Faith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, overdrive
It's been a long time since I read a book by this author, but I think I remember having liked them. Maybe the other books were better or maybe I have just outgrown my interest in mysteries, at least the British variety with tea cups, jam jars, jumble sales and small gossipy villages. Whatever the reason, I was really unimpressed by this book.

Most of the suspects were introduced in tedious detail in the first chapter, but the murder did not occur until about the 25% point of the book. At that ti
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Jane
Jan 25, 2013 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: Audiobook on Audible.

I thought it was about time I listened to the entire Adam Dalgleish series—I’ve read some of them but certainly none of the early ones. In this 1962 story you can see the tradition that goes back to the Golden Age of the detective story in the 1930s. All the clichés are there: the stately home, the nerve-ridden war hero, the lower classes kowtowing to the upper, the vicar a sort of go-between in terms of social status.

Except that it wasn’t, of course—J
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Nikki
Dec 25, 2011 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
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
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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
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
Miriam
Mar 05, 2010 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: Bettie
Shelves: mystery
I see Dalgliesh is James' recurring detective character, but we don't get a strong personality here. The rest of the cast, on the other hand, is a bit more complex and developed than is standard for this sort of mystery. As usual I disliked them all, and the one that I found most interesting was on page the least. At least the romance was kept to a minimum.
Tony
Dec 21, 2008 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill
Jan 03, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Deb
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Katharine
Feb 17, 2010 Katharine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2010
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
Silvio111
Jan 23, 2012 Silvio111 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stef Rozitis
Old school mystery puzzle with a limited field of suspects and you have to work out which one is the least likely so you can suspect them (lol that is not a spoiler it is just me being cynical). A weakness is the shifting POVs which can be used more ambiguously but I think in this one some of them disqualify themselves by too obviously being clueless about the possible guilt of others.

The victim is well written, partly because of what can be read as the author's reluctance to slut shame (and a c
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Stven
May 22, 2009 Stven rated it liked it  ·  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
Shannon
Feb 22, 2010 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Leah
Jun 11, 2012 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Snort
Sep 15, 2012 Snort rated it it was ok
"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
Bill Rogers
Nov 27, 2013 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mo
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)
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Francis
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
Daniel
Nov 21, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kate
Jan 01, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by James. I can see why it would appeal to certain people, perhaps NT types, who enjoy analyzing details and putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle to determine who done it and how and why, etc. I'm of the NF temperament and I want to read stories that look deep inside the characters. I love Louise Penny mystery novels because they do just that. In Cover Her Face, I felt like I didn't really know the characters. Not one of them engaged me. This genre has litt ...more
Patricia
Dec 21, 2009 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
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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
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Laura Beth
Dec 06, 2016 Laura Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
Now this books is better than the 3 star rating, but I generally reserve 4 and 5 star ratings for books I plan on reading again. I am not sure how this book got on my to read list. It came on my radar through Goodreads recommendations, some one I follow, or through my library recommendations. I did not realize until I began listening to the book that it was originally published in 1963. I will say that the book stands up very well to the test of time. There is a death and mystery to be solved. I ...more
Carol
Dec 02, 2014 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Book Concierge
I came late to the P.D.James party, but I'm glad I got here. The head of a local book shop spoke at a meeting with such enthusiasm and fondness for the character of Adam Dalgliesh that I just HAD to try the books. This is the first one - and it's a first-rate "locked room" murder mystery. Very fine writing, and keeps you guessing right to the end.

NOTE: In Sept 2008 I read this again because I didn't realize I had read it before until I was half-way through. Still kept me entertained!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Cover Her Face 1 3 Nov 11, 2012 08:20PM  
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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)
  • 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)

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“For heaven's sake, Darling, keep your crusading instinct [for social justice] under control...It's uncomfortable to live with especially for those of us who haven't got one.” 6 likes
“The cultured cop! I thought they were peculiar to detective novels.” 1 likes
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