English Mysteries Club discussion

The Skull Beneath the Skin (Cordelia Gray, #2)
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Book of the Month pre-2020 > (2) January 2013 - The Skull Beneath the Skin

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Valerie Brown Just finished! I am a fan of P.D James, but I had never read this novel because I wasn't so keen on "An Unsuitable Job for a Woman". I did like this one quite a bit though, and am glad it was the group pick!

Leslie | 1663 comments This topic is suspiciously quiet... I have about 150 pgs to go. I thought I would like this one better than An Unsuitable Job for a Woman but it just isn't engaging my interest. Although things have picked up since the murder happened - maybe it was the long build-up that put me off (since the murder doesn't happen until half-way through the book).

What do you all think?

message 3: by Luffy (last edited Jan 24, 2013 10:20AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Just finished the book plus my review. It's not a good book IMHO. I wished Cordelia had shown more intelligence.
Well Jean Luke:
1. She doesn't change. Her beliefs are not broken.
2. The police was simply too stupid in comparison.

Joan | 310 comments Is anyone who finished this book struck by the fact that one of the themes recurs in "The Private Patient," c. 2009, which I believe is the last Dalgliesh novel? In both books, a man has such deep love for a house that he shapes his whole life around his ability to own it. The houselover doesn't kill anyone in "The Private Patient," but he does marry someone whose presence in his life facilitates his being able to own and live in the house he's in love with.

I think that this is a general problem with PD James. She's an amazingly skilled writer, but she's not a great imaginer. She has only so many plots and themes in her.

Lorraine (saanichlori) The theme I get from this novel and from P.D. James "The Lighthouse" is a type of "locked room" mystery, only it's a secluded island with transportation cut off. The killer is one of the people present, and you have to suspect everyone. Also similar to Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None".

Sharla For whatever reason, I don't think P.D. James liked her Cordelia character as much as the Dalgliesh and it shows. I gave this book three stars. It wasn't bad but I didn't think it was up to the author's usual very high standard. I didn't much like the ending, the way it was left a bit unresolved. Knowing what happened wasn't enough, I needed to see justice better served.

Leslie | 1663 comments I also didn't care for the ending. Why did Cordelia take the clipping back to the island? Or for that matter, why did she feel she had to go back that evening even when the launch didn't arrive?

@Lorraine - I also felt it was similar to And Then There Were None

I did think James did a good job with the red herrings - I didn't guess who did it (I rarely do!).

message 8: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 6 comments It also reminds me of Hamlet, Revenge! by Michael Innes.

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