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Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)
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Death in Holy Orders

(Adam Dalgliesh #11)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  11,568 ratings  ·  657 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
A number of traditions come seamlessly together in P. D. James's Death in Holy Orders, another of her acclaimed mysteries featuring Scotland Yard's Commander Adam Dalgliesh. Included among those traditions are the Golden Age detective story, the police procedural, the literary gothic, and the Victorian novel, with its stately prose, leisurely p
Paperback, 429 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Fawcett Books (first published 2001)
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Shane Plassenthal Her first novel 'Cover Her Face' is actually one of her best as far as her writing style and the way she sets up her plots. Although it's a bit dated…moreHer first novel 'Cover Her Face' is actually one of her best as far as her writing style and the way she sets up her plots. Although it's a bit dated and feels slightly, as the author once coined herself, Agatha Christieish. I would start there. I think the later inspector Dalgliesh books, however, are better than the older ones. 'The Private Patient' is quite good and so is 'A Taste for Death' and you can see how James grows as a writer. (less)
Christine Cody You can of course always read these books as standalone novels. But my question would be, why? If you have the time, I would recommend starting at the…moreYou can of course always read these books as standalone novels. But my question would be, why? If you have the time, I would recommend starting at the beginning and reading them in order. Such an approach allows you to see how the detective and his team grow together. Occasionally, the author may refer to a past experience, so it completes your experience if you've read the previous books. It is simply more fulfilling, in my opinion, to read any of the great detective series that way. Whatever you decide, enjoy!(less)

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3.92  · 
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mark monday
Jun 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: murdertime
here's a little story for you...

so a famous San Francisco lobbyist - a lively raconteur, a darling of the media, and an infamously debauched homosexual - was unfortunately on his deathbed. because this was a man who helped build the careers of many politicians, his hospital room was often inundanted by various famous local personages. one afternoon, as his final hours drew near, a respected and well-known priest came to see him. the lobbyist looked up, seemed rather surprised, and beckoned the g
Alice Lindsay
Dec 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hate to offer a negative review - but someone has to stand up and say something for children who have been sexually abused - particularly by clergy! It is amazing that anyone, seeing heartbreaking stories of sexual abuse of young people, would allow such an apologetic to be published. It will give Jerry Sandusky and the like something to read while in prison.

In spite of a good tale, and vivid characters, I couldn't get beyond, (nor should anyone) the defense of child abuse, ("it was only fondl
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the setting and I do like Commander Dalgliesh. The story was reasonably good. What I didn't understand was the author's sympathy for her priest character who has spent time in jail for molesting, although not raping, young boys. The author makes the rest of the characters, except one, sympathetic to this character with the idea that pursuing a conviction and jail time were betrayals, not Christian charity, too harsh. I didn't understand if this was just supposed to be part of the story ...more
Fr.Bill M
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-for-fun
Fans of crime/mystery fiction already know how/why P. D. James' work is worthy of reading and rereading. This novel confers additional blessing in its portrain of Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism in Britain. If that scene holds any interest for you (ahem ... it does for me), then this book delivers a double payload of entertainment.
Diane Challenor
I think I must be the only person in the western world who hadn't read the work of PD James. What a fantastic writer and she's written so many books. I look forward to working my way through her stories.
Death In Holy Orders is the 11th book in the Inspector Dalgliesh mystery series by P.D. James. It's the 4th I've read. The books are a joy to read, intelligent, thoughtful and excellent mysteries. Commander Adam Dalgliesh works for Scotland Yard, in charge of a prestigious murder team.

In this story, Dalgliesh is asked to go to a seminary near Norfolk to look into a previously closed death. A young ordinand had been found dead at the base of a cliff. The death is deemed to be death by accident. T
Lyn Elliott
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I've read this before, seen it on tv, and it held up to yet another reading. I've always been interested in the way James teases out the effects of nasty things people do or say to each other as well as of death in suspicious circumstances.

Here she takes time to create her characters and to lead us into understanding the tensions within this small, isolated community, disrupted from its usual quiet routines by external pressures from the church hierarchy and a group of weekend visitors.

And Dalg
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another well crafted mystery with a series of murders and intrigues set at a private school run by the Anglican church near London. Again the protagonist detectives wend their ways through the hints and clues and ultimately the crimes are solved. It was a good book to read. Not too easy to solve and the characters ran true. Adam Daglgleish may have discovered new love, which I guess will be good altho I have only read two books so I am not sure his personality needs it. We'll see.
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Commander Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard has been asked by Sir Alred Treeves to take a closer look into the suspicious death of his adopted son Ronald, who suffocated under the cliffs near St. Anselms by an avalanche of sand. Was it an accident, suicide, or murder? Dalgliesh, the son of a rector, has former ties to the school - as a young teen, he spent several happy summer holidays there among the priests and ordinands.

There is no shortage of possible suspects, or motives, for Ronald's dea
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Typical mediocre mystery fiction.

This book was as predictable as it was long. From the first scene portrayed in the book, the conclusion is obvious. It seems as if James is trying to sneak little clues in so when the reader finishes (shocked, of course, at the outcome "I NEVER saw that one coming!") he can return to the beginning and discover the subtle clues that in fact verify the conclusion. The problem is, her subtle clues are a few shades less than subtle.

James seems intent on playing mind
Sep 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm realizing I just don't enjoy P.D. James's mysteries. Although I love a good murder mystery, I find her tone a little snobbish and superior, as though she references things in the hope you won't get the joke and therefore will feel a need to be more literate. One paragraph I read here (wish I could find it!) made me feel she was equating pedophile with homosexuality or least suggesting one leads to another and that upset me for its sheer ignorance, or at least ambiguity.

I'm going to give the
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Very atmospheric, gripping crime story. My first PD James so some of the references to Dalglish's private life were lost on me but the story itself is well-written and a real page turner. I wasn't so convinced by the ending but enjoyed getting there.
Listened to in audio format.

I am really enjoying the Commander Dalgleish Series. I do not have the full series, but I have been listening to the novels I do own in order. I recently finished The Murder Room, but had to buy Death in Holy Order to find out how Adam met Emma Lavenham, who becomes his girlfriend in the subsequent book.

I have read previous reviewers who mention the paedophile priest. This storyline was only mentioned 3 times in the entire book and was in no way part of the story so d
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was another good chapter in the Dalgliesh series.

Yes, I did see the film but it didn’t play through my head as I was reading it. The film must not have been very memorable to me.

What was most enjoyable about this one, was Dalgliesh had to draw upon things that happened in his youth to unravel the series of crimes in this book.

To say anymore will spoil it.

Onto the next one in my year of P.D. James.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The beginning was not promising - an unusually clumsy device used to exposition-dump at the beginning (journal entries) isn't the kind of thing we usually get from PD James. But it grew into a very satisfying story. This one wasn't so much about who-dunit but more about figuring out why they did it, and whether enough evidence would be obtained for an arrest, which had become a fraught question due to the resolution of Dalgliesh's last case.
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 2019. Natural pair with THE NAME OF THE ROSE. Halfway through, crisp and fun. Finished, lots of fun, but not a genre intend to dedicate much time to.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
P. D. James continues to write very literate and interesting mysteries featuring her well-read inspector Adam Dalgliesh. This recent edition has a great story, although the motivations of the murderer left me disbelieving. His rationale just did not seem especially valid, but the scenarios and characters are complex and interesting. The setting for this novel is St. Anselm's, a small theological college on a lonely stretch of the Anglian coast, so isolated that a fallen tree on the only road to ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I get annoyed with PD James because of the feeling that surrounds her that says that she's head and shoulders better than every other crime writer around. That and the fact that she only writes about terribly posh people as if that's all there is in the world. This is a version of the very traditional English detective story - deaths in a small community where only an insider can be guilty. The story is nothing terribly inventive and there are a hundred crime writers out there writing tales set ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Quite an interesting book, but did not really sustain interest till the end.

If your interest in crime fiction drops once you find out who the murderer is, and you don't care much for the chase for proof which could serve the prosecution's case, then the last 50 odd pages in this book are superfluous. However, I haven't read the earlier Dalgleish novels and I suppose the prolonged ending was included to finally show how Dalgleish found peace in the restoration of justice.

As a stranger to the set
Jun 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Overall, I tend to like P.D. James, and Commander Dalgliesh. I never read them in order, just however they fall into my possession. The story is like the rest of them, done well enough, nothing shockingly new in her formula.

That being said, I was severely disappointed in her sympathy for the priest who was convicted of molesting (not raping) young boys. Essentially, everyone is ok with this, and brush it off, as it wasn't that bad. It was mentioned many times, and the only person who was upset a
Gillian Kevern
I enjoyed this more than the only other Dalgliesh murder I've read. I'm sure it's because I was prepared for P.D. James's style, the personal, private tragedies that all her characters are invested with, the slow peeling away of the many layers, the precise detail, the surprising observations on humans, all sad. I don't think I'll ever enjoy her as much as I like the pure escapism of the Golden Age writers (and she name checked Marsh, Sayers, Allingham and Christie in this book), but I admire he ...more
I can't help it: mystery novels are captivating. No overwrought love stories, no "my parents put my through a horrible childhood, & all I got was this lousy t-shirt" memoir flashbacks, and no excruciating historical minutiae chronicling forgotten events. The best ones are just a rollicking good story. And P.D. James' Death in Holy Orders is just that, and it features an erudite cast of characters in a setting of isolated and breathtaking scenery to boot. James' literary talents sometimes out ...more
Laurie Buchanan
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My husband and I listened to DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS by P.D. James on CD during a cross-country road trip through Big Sky Country—Montana. Even though the speed limit in the wide open expanse is already high (80 mph in many areas), we found ourselves pressing the accelerator with increasing intensity as the plot thickened with sinister twists and turns. We’ll definitely accompany Commander Adam Dalgliesh on future investigations!
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meh. I don't think I'm a P.D. James fan. But I am definitely going to try and read "Death Comes to Pemberly"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those readers familiar with P.D. James, you know that the author can sometimes go on and on describing scenes and characters. This is not necessarily a bad feature because it creates, as with the music in a movie, the mood for what is coming. Sometimes it even works without being overbearing.

Death in Holy Orders is another Commander Dalgliesh mystery, which begins with the death of a student at St. Anselm's Theological College - an English High Church establishment. Dalgliesh is assigned mor
Bec Marsh
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I sporadically go back to P.D. James' Adam Dalgliesh mysteries.
The plots are always good, but I have to say that Dalgliesh irritates me. He takes himself so seriously and is so ponderous. And of course, from time to time, we are reminded that he is a poet, which personally, I think he should keep this info to himself.

I would love to see a pastiche where Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael and Inspector Dalgliesh have to go on a long journal together (either by horse or by train, since they would be
Elizabeth Theiss
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is P.D. James at her very, very best. The setting is a small, rural theological college. Adam Dalgleish is called in to investigate what may be the suicide of a young ordinand, but could be something else. As always, guesses as to whether a crime was committed are futile until clues pile up near the very end. The writing is beautiful. The plot is lovely. And Dalgliesh as usual is the most interesting character of all. Highly recommended.
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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)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
“Henry James’s definition of the purpose of a novel: “To help the human heart to know itself.” 2 likes
“Had he, during the course of his ministry, changed a single life? He recalled the words of a woman overheard when he was leaving his last parish. 'Father Martin is a priest of whom no one ever speaks ill.' It seemed to him now the most damning of indictments." (p. 243). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.” 1 likes
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