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A Taste For Death (Adam Dalgliesh #7)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,182 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews
In one of the most convoluted and difficult investigations of his career Inspector Dalgliesh and his assistant are called upon to investigate a crime that involves Sir Paul Berowne, a baronet and recently resigned Minister of the Crown.
Published December 1st 2002 by Faber & Faber (first published 1986)
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Carolyn Thomas Quite a common practice. The lady would obviously refer to her husband as "dad" when talking about him to her children and so it just seems natural to…moreQuite a common practice. The lady would obviously refer to her husband as "dad" when talking about him to her children and so it just seems natural to call him "dad" in their daily conversation instead of using his Christian name. (less)
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Jun 16, 2008 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This had more twists than the average P.D. James novel. The action really picked up in the last hundred pages. James pays a lot of attention here to providing complete arcs for minor characters, which is a nice touch. The book doesn't just end when the detectives figure out who the murderer is. The characters continue to make choices, trying to make the best of their circumstances, and we get to explore the effects of all these actions. It's even poignant. Good stuff.
Anirban Das
P.D. James is considered as a worthy successor to Agatha Christie and is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated crime novelists of our generation. But, in spite of all that I have never enjoyed reading her books. I mostly found them boring and bland.

Now, the book. The edition I was reading was a TV tie-up, with faces of two actors who played character parts in the dramatization of the novel and it was 552 pages long.

Paul Berowne who is an MP and a former cabinet minister is found dead in
Dec 07, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: James Zagel
A just-retired, blue-blooded government minister and a tramp have their throats cut in a church in James's well plotted, nicely paced mystery. I'm a big fan of James, and of her lovely Dalgliesh in particular. She allows Dalgliesh and his subordinate, Constable Kate Miskin, to be thoughtful, well-rounded characters, deserving of our admiration. Nearly everyone else in the book (along with nearly everyone else in every P.D. James book) comes in for very harsh treatment. James is a deeply misanthr ...more
Aug 30, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-ever-prose
The best P.D. James I've read so far. The last line is perfect, and it brings together every theme in the story. This one isn't just about murder and death, folks. It's also about life and how we choose to live it.
May 27, 2015 Richa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
PD James has lingered a lot. She delves so much on each scene, it becomes really boring at times. For instance, at the very beginning, she has gone into so much of detail about the dead bodies and their setting that it has actually become extremely morbid.
It is very generous of her to want to share her vision completely, to the last minute detail, but it negatively affects the mind's ability to hold interest in her work. There should have been some leeway given to the reader to imagine some part
Aug 21, 2010 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first P.D. James mystery, and it was a fine book. James' detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is apparently a poet (we are told this again and again) but we never see him writing or read any of his verse. Maybe these are present in other Dalgliesh books.

James is a fine writer, but she used one narrative tool in this book of which I'm not a huge fan. The reader doesn't have complete access to the thoughts of each character, but we do have access to some of their longings, musings, and wondering
Feb 26, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps classic murder mysteries are just not my genre. I found this book PAINFUL to read. For me it was predictable, boring and totally unsuspenseful. I never came to care about the characters. There were endless paragraphs of physical description, mostly about furniture. Ugh! The emotional breakdowns at the end were beyond unrealistic. I'm not sure how people like this stuff, but obviously they do, so what do I know?
Aug 08, 2012 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-gave-up
Couldn't even read this on the plane with no other books on me. I watched soccer on the tv instead. SOCCER was the better option, folks. Frankly finding it hard to understand why this woman is considered such an amazing mystery writer. The fourth time they reentered the church and the light coming through the windows was given four paragraphs I knew this wasn't for me.
Feb 22, 2014 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book I'd read in the Adam Dalgleish series. I nearly finished reading it a few months ago and, admittedly, struggled through it so much that I started it all over again. This time, I got through it. However, I found that I kept losing track of all the characters and had to keep referring back in the book to find out how each was related to the other. The primary story involved the finding of two dead people in a church vestry by an older female parishioner and a young boy she ...more
Dec 31, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is #7 of the Adam Dalgliesh cop-poet mysteries series (and I think the first mystery that I have read by the very prolific PD James). While I think having the protagonist be both a cop and published poet is interesting (from a character development perspective), I found the two elements to be grating at times (e.g., when Adam goes off on wordy, literary tangents, or the author gives long descriptions of Victorian architecture, etc). However, I did find the plot itself to be pretty good, wit ...more
Jan 04, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
This is a superbly clever crime novel. While the who and how around the murder of a former minister and a tramp found in the vestry of a neglected church is interesting and satisfying, what's sets the book apart is the intelligence and subtlety with which the author draws her characters. Usually even well plotted crime novels depend on a coterie of stereotypes who collectively ham it up for the readers in various wince worthy ways. With this novel I came for the thrills of murder most gruesome b ...more
Jan 26, 2015 Ilinca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do pick up new James novels from time to time, but always with the same misgivings. It's a bit like not giving up on visiting your alcoholic brother, though you know he's most likely going to start sober and be drunk and unreliable by the time the visit draws to a close.
I do like P.D. James quite a bit, but I love Agatha Christie. P.D. James is a much better writer; Christie is a much better plotter. With James's mysteries, even the best ones, you never know, and can never trust, where the plo
Sep 08, 2011 Yelena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, PD James crafts her characters with such richness and psychological depth, that the story line almost becomes irrelevant.
I read P D James after such a long time and I am glad to have read A Taste for Death. The plot is absolutely gripping and tight. I enjoyed the story until the end though certain things like the way characters behave in different situations seemed contradicted to their expected behaviour. However, P D James has portrayed all the characters beautifully but still I found something lacking in character development. For example, the way Sir Paul did not put fight for his life in the end was confusing ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A writer's writer, P.D. James has a flair for description that makes me swoon. I felt like all her characters were whole people, with complexities and pasts as yet unplumbed. Her mystery was sufficiently confusing; her villain sufficiently disturbing. One thing I noticed is that James has a quirk of saying "denuded." She doesn't rely on it, but does say it with greater frequency than most authors. I found several other little tics like that, none of which were grating, but most of which would be ...more
Sheila Myers
Jul 04, 2016 Sheila Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another wonderful mystery in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I always enjoy the way PD James combines the mystery plot with interesting background stories about the characters.
Back when my cable company had the wonderful Ovation channel, I watched an hour long show from the 70s about Agatha Christie. Not because I like Christie; I don't but because as an English major, I felt obliged to watch it (does anyone else feel this way?). One of the people interviewed on the show was P.D. James. Her comments about Christie vocalized why I didn't like Christie (I couldn't quite explain why I didn't like her). Because of this, I picked up A Taste for Death at a used book sale.

Jul 21, 2016 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better ones. I enjoyed the character development of Kate. This book delves more into life and people and their choices as much as the murder. The descriptions can be a bit overdone and I find myself skimming.
Feb 14, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how I missed PD James's books in my earlier mystery reading--a preference for amateur detectives, I guess. This is an excellent police procedural, if not perfect. The characters are much more real and well-rounded than Agatha Christie, say, and part of the interest is how their personalities and choices serve the same purpose as red herrings did in earlier mysteries. Still, more real doesn't mean completely real, and she sacrifices some of the reality--particularly of the minor or w ...more
May 06, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only recently have I been introduced to P.D. James and her Dalgliesh, but I'm enjoying the new relationship. This may be my favorite Dalgliesh, so far. James has the habit of describing each change of scene, indoors and out, with thorough examination - which can honestly drag at times. But the pacing of this novel felt just right. She also creates and presents a huge cast of characters in each of her books. In some of her other stories, it has felt overwhelming and superfluous. But perhaps becau ...more
Jennifer Zartman
Dec 04, 2015 Jennifer Zartman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
P.D. James handles her plot line well, she avoids explicit sexual detail and keeps profanity to a minimum. She also solves her mysteries with logical explanations, which I like. However, this book suffers from an overdose of trivia, which bogs down the story and occupies a large percent of its 480 pages. She describes buildings and the rooms within those buildings in minute detail that has no relevance to the plot. Every room receives an account of each piece of furniture, its style, placement i ...more
Sandra Danby
Oct 30, 2015 Sandra Danby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Two men found dead in a church: murder and suicide, or double murder? One a politician, the other a tramp. Because this is a PD James novel we know it is murder, but we don’t know why or who by. This novel differs from the preceding six in this series because of its length [656 pages], compared with its predecessor ‘Death of an Expert Witness’ [400 pages]. For this we get extra plot twist and turns, more detail about the potential suspects, more internal monologues, and more of the literary dept ...more
I started this as a break from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, but probably not the best choice. No misogynist terrorists, but still not very uplifting. Perfect James, though, and perfect Dagliesh. She writes novels that happen to have murders in them, but more importantly (to me, anyway), also include incredibly drawn characters who struggle with themselves and the world around them. Her writing is emotionally evocative, and this one seemed to focus ...more
Gary Sedivy
May 18, 2016 Gary Sedivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is well written. The author knows her craft and exercises it to good effect. I find, however, it to be quite 'wordy'. Well, duh. It is a book after all. The author utilizes a lot of words to describe clothes, and feelings, and emotions, etc., etc. There is very little action, until the penultimate chapter. I am not sure if this could be described as a 'cozy' mystery, but it feels like it (sorry about the pun).
One of the reasons I like reading novels that involve other cultures or countries i
Nov 07, 2009 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of the Dalgliesh series but wonderful description. Less focus on Adam and more on Kate, who has just been added to the special investigative team. The climatic scene with Kate and her grandmother is highly contrived, yet moving nonetheless. Kate is propping her grandmother (just mugged the day before)on the toilet while held hostage by the novel's murderer when Kate learns for the first time the story of her mother and father.
Mar 08, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Convoluted who-dun-it, but James' detailed British descriptions and references were trademark. Occasionally I wished for more brevity, but more often I could appreciate the richness of visual or sensual detail provided by the author and the intellectual complexity of the plot compared to many contemporary mystery novels. I see why P.D. James has the reputation she does and will read more by her.
Sep 24, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reading through the Dagliesh series by P.D. James and I really loved A Taste for Death. The plot was intricate with multiple emotions running through it. The handling of the religious themes was well done and balanced. The victim had recently had a religious experience and it caused him to make extreme changes in his life leading to his murder.

Dagliesh and his team work tirelessly through interviews with large cast of suspects. Sorting through lies and half-truths, many spun with some empha
Raima Larter
I picked this up in one of those little curb-side lending libraries since I'd been wanting to check this author out. I'd heard about her when she died a couple years ago, but had never read any of her work. This book is in the middle of her series about Detective Adam Dalgliesh, and maybe I need to go back to the earlier books to see if this was done in a previous installment, but there was so little character development in this book that I could put it down and not remember the characters (inc ...more
Todd Miles
Jul 09, 2011 Todd Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
PD James is one of my favorite fiction authors. Her ability to craft a mystery is remarkable. Establishing setting and characters is fundamental to the genre of narrative and she does it intentionally and as well as anyone. I have even incorporated some of James's comments on writing into my hermeneutics lectures. Good novel, great novelist.
Mar 22, 2014 Jesslee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first P. D. James novel, and I was pleasantly surprised by what was beyond what I had expected from a "genre" fiction. There was a marvelous balance of grave suspense and clear and wonderfully austere writing style. The characters were developed in layers and with depth, and their portrayals were incisive and yet poignant and emotionally affecting. I also loved the relatively slow, drawn-out, and deliberate pace of the book - for a detective novel, it was refreshing that I did not fe ...more
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Indian Bookworms: January 2013, Crime Read - A Taste For Death by P.D. James 29 37 Jan 14, 2013 11:10AM  
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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
More about P.D. James...

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)
  • 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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“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.” 44 likes
“But he still lingered, feeling the wind lift his hair and grateful for another minute of peace. He was grateful, too, that Kate Miskin could share it with him without the need to speak and without making him feel that her silence was a conscious discipline. He had chosen her because he needed a woman in his team and she was the best available. The choice had been partly rational, partly instinctive and he was beginning to realize just how well his instinct had served him. It would have been dishonest to say that there was no hint of sexuality between them. In his experience there nearly always was, however repudiated or unacknowledged, between any reasonable attractive heterosexual couple who worked together. He wouldn’t have chosen her if he had found her disturbingly attractive but the attraction was there and he wasn’t immune to it. But despite this pinprick of sexuality, perhaps because of it, he found her surprisingly restful to work with. She had an instinctive knowledge of what he wanted; she knew when to be silent; she wasn’t overly deferential. He suspected that with part of her mind, she saw his vulnerabilities more clearly, and understood him better and was more judgmental than were any of his male colleagues.

{ by Adam Dalgliesh, of his teammate Kate Miskin }”
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