Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)” as Want to Read:
A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Certain Justice

(Adam Dalgliesh #10)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  9,454 ratings  ·  581 reviews
It begins, dramatically enough, with a trial for murder. The distinguished criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge is defending Garry Ashe on charges of having brutally killed his aunt. For Aldridge the trial is mainly a test of her courtroom skills, one more opportunity to succeed--and she does. But now murder is in the air. The next victim will be Aldridge herself, stabbed to d ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 688 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Seal Books (first published October 1st 1997)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Certain Justice, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,454 ratings  ·  581 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
Manuel Antão
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

I too read Asterix comic books that I've read before. The memories of reading them as a child, the familiarity of the characters and the incidents, the dialogue even. Of course, there are lots of reasons why we might want to return to a book. Reading a book again is not just reading it for a second time, it involves a reflexivity: reading your earlier reading of the book (assuming you remember reading it before or if you’ve got a revie
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best murder-mystery novel in the Dalgliesh series so far. Here, James has combined a clever and complicated plot with just the right amount of suspense to keep you on edge. A clever and successful barrister is found dead in her chambers, stabbed at the heart, and Dalgleish and his team are drawn into a complicated web of retribution, vengeance, rivalry, and envy. When however the prime suspect dies, the story takes a different turn, making it even more complex and puzzling. Interesti ...more
Roman Clodia
Another ploddy mystery from PDJ which opens with an excellent trial scene (view spoiler) but which ends with melodrama and an unsatisfying series of confessions. Sadly, the most interesting character gets stabbed to death in her chambers and there's the usual heavy-handed laying out of motives for everyone.

Once that scenario is established, however, PDJ seems to forget almost all the suspects and we barely see them again. Dalgleish and hi
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Olivia Newton-John

A thoroughly delightful James, one of her best. And when I say delightful, it means I have already forgotten about the middle-aged, droopy-breasted slut-prostitute aunt who insists that her live-in nephew not only photograph all her encounters with the mens, but make love to her himself. Hey: it happens. In the world of female British crime writers, it happens a lot. But like I said, I've already forgotten this tidbit.

As our novel opens, attractive, divorced, successful, hard-edged, unmaternal,
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1994, this is the tenth crime novel featuring Commander Adam Dalgliesh. I am working my way through the Dalgliesh novels and, in my opinion, James could have done with tightening up her work. Her books tend to be over-long and full of detail. That said, this starts really well and, even though it dragged a little, by the end, it was interesting, overall.

Venetia Aldridge is a criminal barrister, who is set to take over as Head of Chambers. Venetia is driven and intelligent; divorced
Bionic Jean
Solidly written and absorbing crime mystery. The characters and backstory are particularly well drawn and "whodunnit" aspect nicely baffling. It is P.D. James' 10th Adam Dalgliesh novel, and they have got noticeably lengthier and more complex as the series has progressed.
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: Murderers do not usually give their victims notice. This is one death which, however terrible that last second of appalled realization, comes mercifully unburdened with anticipatory terror. When, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11th September, Venetia Aldridge stood up to cross examine the prosecutions chief witness in the case of Regina vs Ashe she had four weeks, four hours and fifty minutes left of life. After her death the many who had admired her and the few who had liked her, searc ...more
Listened to in audio format.

This is third book I have listened to by PD James and I think it was the best so far. In A Certain Justice we are introduced to the victim Venetia Aldridge QC. Venetia is defending a young man called Garry Ashe who is charged with murdering his Aunt. The Aunt was a prostitute who liked Garry to watch and take pictures. Garry is acquitted, when Venetia leaves The Bailey she is surprised and dismayed to find out that Garry and her Daughter are to be engaged. Venetia doe
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a great read. I have never tried this author before because I read her books about the death at pemberly on my kindle a while ago and did not think it very good. But this book just entranced me. Great writing, wonderful use of vocabulary and great characters. I love the characters of the detectives even though I kind of came into their lives mid development and obviously missed some back story, but they were believable and had their insecurities and emotions. The crime is layered and I ...more
Deb Jones
P.D. James certainly knew how to set the stage for her books, hooking the reader's interest from the beginning. The setting is an integral part of the story; an inanimate character in what are always character-driven plots.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh of the New Scotland Yard is a central figure, but there are many other characters also fully fleshed out from the victim, the pool of suspects and Dalgliesh's team of investigators.

I think of James' books as slow burners. The plot moves forward slowly
Michael P.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Please, somebody tell me that this is the worst book written by P. D. James, because if it isn't then people are even more gullible than I think.

A scene can be handled sparely, as here, "I drove to the store and got the evening paper," or it can be given in pages of detail, describing the need for the evening paper, why the protagonist chose that moment to get one, the weather conditions, the road conditions, a description of the car and the route, what the protagonist was wearing, and a whole
Gary Baughn
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As we get older and forget more things one pleasure is re-reading a good book that one can't quite remember. Luckily, P.D. James is a detailed enough writer that there are specifics that surprise anew, and she is a good enough observer of human nature and stylist that a second reading is rewarded.
A Certain Justice is one of her best.
Like most British mysteries, the situation is so claustrophobic (is that because everyone is conscious of England being an island?) that you wonder why more of the
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: recently-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristine Dunn
Jun 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'll be honest, this book was okay. If I had to be in an airport, with no book, I would take it... However...

I have a friend who along with his books adds a recommended beverage to be enjoyed along side - this would have to be tea. Lots and lots of tea.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it did not like it

It was too long and it didn't catch my attention :/
May 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first of this author. Not too enthused. Murder mystery, attorneys involved. Could have been a very thrilling one but wasn't. Too lengthy. I read on the jacket that it is part of a series with the chief investigator as protagonist but maybe I should read the first one because didn't get to participate in the character building. May read one more in the series before fold it up altogether.
Miles Carter
Is the murderer, like, ever brought to justice in a PD James novel? AD is a lousy detective - in at least half of the books, the guilty party slips through his fingers. That's not why we read detective novels! We have real life if we want to see injustice in action.
Nancy Mills
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting and moves along nicely. The housekeeper's complicated, expensive and contrived revenge scheme strains credibility. Dark and bloody with several murders and a sinister character or 2.
Clare Snow
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Clare by: my Mum
P.D. James certainly upped her craft as she wrote more. This is clever, (view spoiler) ...more
Laura Andersen
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A re-read, which reminds once again how very much I love both Adam Dalgliesh and PD James.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the better PD James books I've read, albeit still rather dark and depressing. There is no such thing as a happy ending in one of her books, and her world is certainly a place in which I do not wish to live. But she does write compelling stories with interesting characters, and the changing perspective from third to various first person accounts keeps the story fresh despite its length.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p-d-james
Many people dislike Venetia Aldridge; a few hate her. No one seems to have the opportunity to have killed her and a strong enough hatred to have done so but someone did with a single thrust of a dagger-like paper knife while she worked late in her office in chambers in Middle Temple, a chambers she was scheduled to take over as senior partner within a few months. There were rivals for that position but they were lawyers, not killers. There were family members of murder victims whose killers she ...more
May 04, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Not very well done and way too many murder mystery cliches: a motive for each person you meet, a weird god like perspective on what each character thinks except in relation to the time around the murder, a lengthy post death explanatory letter, and a confession that's not quite a confession. I want to like PD James but this doesn't help.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Not my favorite PD James book... was a bit slower than some of the others... but I can now say I've read all her Dagliesh mysteries.
I’m thinking this was a pretty much your average and nondescript run of the mill murder mystery here. It’s titled A Certain Justice, but I’m finding it ironic since there is little justice when it comes to the ending of the book, how it’s handled, etc.

I think this book was fairly uneven in various ways. We are given this big set up and much exposition that leads to the eventual murder of a high profile lawyer (Venetia Aldridge) early in the novel and the subsequent motives for various people wh
Cathy Austin
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You just can't beat P.D.James for literary lawerly thrillers. This 1997 book is simply stellar.
There's a murder in Chambers of a renowned, cold, no nonsense criminal lawyer; she's had a lot of acquittals for clients who may have committed the crime. Who's killed her? Maybe a fellow lawyer in the firm? Maybe a victim's family member? The sure-footed Dalgliesh and his team--Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant-- get on the trail, interviewing all and sundry. Then there's another murder further in, and, f
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Adam Dalgliesh is an inspector with Scotland Yard. He is thoughtful and even keeled. This murder mystery takes a different twist in the way the story unfolds. We are told at the very beginning that Venetia Aldridge will be murdered in 4 weeks time. She is a barrister of some note and deals mostly as a defense attorney. She works out of a chamber of barristers. What we quickly learn is that nearly every character in this book hates her. She is abrasive and spiteful. She has aspirations to be the ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent entry in the Adam Dalgliesh mystery series. These are long, detail-intense mysteries with a decided literary bent, telling the story from the point of view of several different characters--Commander Dalgliesh himself, some of his team members, various suspects in the murder as well as even the victims themselves. You look at the size of the book thinking it's going be somewhat tedious, but before you know it, you're sucked into the story.

Venetia Aldridge is a QC, defending peop
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you want to book that keeps you guessing, this is the one. And as usual P.D. James pulls you into the story with detailed background of the characters and, at times, more sympathy for the potential perpetrators than for the victim. I am certainly going to miss her writing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bats in the Belfry (Robert MacDonald #13)
  • The Lover of the Grave (Lydmouth, #3)
  • Rope’s End, Rogue’s End
  • Light Thickens (Roderick Alleyn #32)
  • Flowers for the Judge (Albert Campion Mystery, #7)
  • The Finisher (Peter Diamond, #19)
  • The Sad Variety (Nigel Strangeways, #15)
  • Some Lie and Some Die (Inspector Wexford, #8)
  • The Killings at Kingfisher Hill (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #4)
  • The Veiled One (Inspector Wexford, #14)
  • The Old Contemptibles (Richard Jury, #11)
  • Harm Done (Inspector Wexford, #18)
  • Fell Murder (Robert MacDonald #24)
  • Photo Finish (Roderick Alleyn, #31)
  • Simisola (Inspector Wexford, #16)
  • A Killing Kindness (Dalziel & Pascoe, #6)
  • Child's Play (Dalziel & Pascoe, #9)
  • Road Rage (Inspector Wexford, #17)
See similar books…
P. D. James, byname of Phyllis Dorothy James White, Baroness James of Holland Park, (born August 3, 1920, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England—died November 27, 2014, Oxford), British mystery novelist best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.

The daughter of a middle-grade civil servant, James grew up in the university town of Cambridge. Her formal education, however, ended at

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)
  • A Taste for Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7)
  • Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh #8)
  • Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh #9)
  • Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)

Related Articles

Looking to cozy up with a thrilling novel this winter? Consider The Silent Patient , the debut from Alex Michaelides. But don’t take our word...
159 likes · 57 comments
“The English, thought Kate, obviously regarded praying much as they did a necessary physical function, something best done in private. Dalgliesh apologized for interrupting her work: “We’re police officers and I’m afraid we’re here on police business. Were you” 1 likes
“God must be used to human anger. After all, He invites it.” 0 likes
More quotes…