John's Reviews > The Private Patient

The Private Patient by P.D. James
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's review
Sep 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: audiobook, library_books, mystery
Read in October, 2010

I've seen a few Dalgleish videos, but had never read one of James's books before; this one was available as a library download (2 Audible credits to buy it!), and I knew Rosalyn Landor is a good narrator, so I gave it a try. It appears as though this is probably the end of the series, and if not, it is for me.

The murder doesn't occur until about 1/4 through the (long) story. Instead, we get omniscient details into the lives of the victim, and just about everyone associated with her, and the (upcoming) crime scene. Finally (and quite anti-climatically), exit the deceased and enter Adam Dalgleish. Reviewers have mentioned an obsession by James on the foodie angle; I don't know if I would've noticed on my own, but it's definitely there. Many of the details came through as "padding" - this would be a very easy book to abridge indeed!

There are two murders in the book, same perp, but different motives. My biggest gripe has to do with the second one. James gives us an "official" motive in the form of a confession, but hints at a secondary issue there regarding the validity of a will. Unfortunately, in the "epilogue" (the murders are "solved" with an hour left to go in the book) that aspect is examined in a highly inferential manner, with Dalgleish announcing he "knows the truth", before going off to get married. I didn't fully understand that section at all, coming away far-from-knowing what he meant.

Recommended for Dalgleish fans only, everyone else ... AYOR


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