The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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Favorite Authors/Books/Series > Adam Dalgliesh series - P. D. James

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message 1: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Beginning with Cover Her Face in 1962 and continuing at a steady pace to her most recent book in the series The Private Patient P. D. James has created a thoroughly professional detective and interesting human being in the person of Adam Dalgliesh.

Many of the books in this series have also been made into TV series with at least 2 different actors playing the role of Dalgliesh over the years.

Which book is your favorite? Do you think The Private Patient is the last? Do you like the books or TV series better?


message 2: by Ameta (new)

Ameta (siriava) | 2 comments PD James and Adam Dagliesh have been favorites of mine for years. I'm a reader and usually like the written version of almost any book. So, while I have enjoyed the TV series, I definitely like the books best. Difficult to say which book is my fav, Black Tower, Taste For Death, and Death of an Expert Witness have been stand outs for me.


message 3: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
I read these, and loved them, many many years ago. I re-discovered PD James when I worked at a language school here in Rome. Most of my colleagues were English.

I definitely want to re-read these as I don't remember them at all. Haven't seen the TV series.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 30 comments I've never seen the TV series, but loved the books many years ago. I haven't read any of them in awhile, but they were all terrific. I can't remember the title of my favorite, but it had something to do with some kind of religious symbol of some sort made out of wood? That was key to the mystery. It may not have been religious either. This is going back over 20 years.....I love her stuff tho. I thought the oldest stuff was the best.


message 5: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
I just checked Netflix and it looks like they have a good selection of the older ones with Roy Marsden as Dalgliesh and the newer ones with Martin Shaw.


message 6: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
The books were contemporary when they were written so the earlier ones are set in the 60s and 70s but James kept the time fairly current as she continued to write the series.


message 7: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I hope Private Patient isn't her last, but she is almost 90, and PP did have an air of finality about it, or at least seemed to be written with the awareness that she might not get to write another one. Loose ends were tied up, so to speak.

I just finished The Lighthouse and really liked it. I'm reading them out of order, having seen many of the early ones as TV episodes only, with either Roy Marsden or Martin Shaw. The Marsden ones have a musty feel (and the watery faded colors that come with old age). I guess they were made in the 80s. I'm more impressed with James's books than I am with the TV productions (not so with Elizabeth George).


message 8: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Hi Lobstergirl, I agree with you that James's books are better than the TV versions although I do think Martin Shaw has done a better job of portraying Dalgliesh and therefore improving the production.

I also do prefer the TV productions of Elizabeth George's books - perhaps we should start a thread on Ins. Lynley and DC Havers?


message 9: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Donna wrote: "I also do prefer the TV productions of Elizabeth George's books - perhaps we should start a thread on Ins. Lynley and DC Havers?"

And George's horrendous dialogue written for black characters and lower class characters. Why are her black characters so awkward? Her attempts at social commentary are leaden and disastrous. What Came Before He Shot Her was just a big tranny mess. The best thing about George's books (maybe the only good thing) is Lynley and Havers.

Also: why is she so sex obsessed?







message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 30 comments What did you think of the first one Fiona?


message 11: by Starling (new)

Starling I joined this group because I just finished THE MURDER ROOM and really wanted to be able to talk about it with someone.

I've been reading PD James for a very long time. Not quite as long as she has been writing, but certainly for decades. I read a lot of stuff that isn't deep and literary, and enjoy those books, but I love her novels because they are deep and literary.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 554 comments I think I've been reading her since the early 80s, when I first got into adult mystery novels.

She's a very good writer.


message 13: by Jeane (new)

Jeane I only read one of the pD James books or max two...but I have seen many of the tv serie. I seem to like the books less than the tv serie, don't know why. Maybe I started with a less good story in the serie. Will try others anyway because i know I like the stories.


message 14: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vanessamc) I enjoyed The Private Patient a lot. I think I have read almost all of the Adam Dalgliesh books, although I think I may have missed the one right before Private Patient, anyone know what that is? I love the old TV Series with Roy Marsden. I think he made an excellent Dalgliesh, and would normally picture him while reading the books. The new guy did nothing for me, as I was so used to Roy. PBS is the one who always shows them where I live.


message 15: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Hi Vanessa, The Lighthouse was the book right before The Private Patient. I really enjoyed it.


message 16: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vanessamc) Thanks Donna,

I definitely missed that one. I've added it to my list. I guess I better check the list of her novels to see if I have missed any others. Thanks again.


message 17: by MaryEdith (new)

MaryEdith Walker | 8 comments I really enjoyed The Private Patient, too. PD James has definitely not lost her touch - I hope she keeps on writing till she's 100! Her books are the only mysteries that I buy in hardback as soon as they come out.


message 18: by Gary (new)

Gary Van Cott | 187 comments I am not a fan of these books. They all seemed the same to me.


message 19: by Marie-Jo (new)

Marie-Jo Fortis | 118 comments Love both P.D. James and Elizabeth George.


message 20: by N (new)

N | 304 comments I've read a couple of PD James and I find them very predictable. Just finished 'An Unsuitable Job for a Woman" and was totally underwhelmed.


message 21: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Yarrow @N - you might consider reading The Lighthouse... PD James' ability to create characters so rooted in their environment it seems they spring from the very rocks and trees is amazing.


message 22: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments I love P.D.James's adam dalgliesh series especially for me The Murder Room as that was the first book I read and got hooked especially when I found they were also portrayed in TV one who I think captured early dalgliesh very well and the other got older adam well as well.


message 23: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments I used to read P.D. James and Elizabeth George.


message 24: by Jean (new)

Jean Shriver | 16 comments and now????


message 25: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Jean; I read Michael Connelly, Faye and Jonathan Kellerman, Sue Grafton, Steig Larsson, Lisa Gardner, some Jodi Piccoult, Gillian Flynn.


message 26: by Jean (new)

Jean Shriver | 16 comments Have read all of them, but now I'm a follower of Tana French and Ann Cleeve. Gone British, Scottish and Irish, i guess. Also just found Eleanor Kuhns with 3 mysteries set in the 18th century with the Shakers in the background. Quite interesting.


message 27: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Thanks, Jean; I will have to check them out. Have you ever read Susanna Moore?; sometimes we need a change, though; I completely over reacted to a novel I am trying to finish this week. It just upset me far too much.


message 28: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments hey its ok sometimes you get sooo drawn into the world of the book that you get a bit emotional its ok it just means either for you the book didnt work and you reacted badly to it (I have done on many occasions) or it was beautifully written you were lost in its world for a time :)and that can be a sign of a great author


message 29: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Zoe: one of my favorite authors; however, it was too grisly, graphic and it really bothered me.


message 30: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments ahhh hugs sorry about that is this just out of the blue um graphic scene in the book or was it building up and has the author done this before because I am not trying to make you feel bad about overeacting because you are not and sometimes authors do write quite horrifically to get their point across that this is what its like without the glamour... its messy and nasty hope you get through and stick it out but if it bothers you too much turn to something light and fluffy I would suggest Carola Dunn :P her mystery books set in 1920's is really good.


message 31: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments It started at the onset and continued throughout. Thank you so much for you sincere concern. I am nearly finished and the proverbial "chase is on,' so the gruesome parts are now in the back...uggies.


message 32: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments lol good good :)I am afraid I am kind of inured to grisly scenes the grislier the better but there are times where it does get a bit too much lol so I always have to read something lighter and fluffier, which I suggest you do after this book :P


message 33: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Yes, I KNOW you are right: chuckle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do love the thriller/suspense though


message 34: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie Silva (mayee_me) | 4 comments so far i have read 2 PD James books-- Cover Her Face and one of the Adam Dalgliesh series which is the Murder Room...and honestly i enjoyed both books.. :) my younger just find it creepy though..i mean my love for these kinds of books that involves murder..geeezzzz..........


message 35: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Very popular.


message 36: by Helena (new)

Helena Greenfield | 81 comments These books have been favs of my dad for years but I never bothered with them. I decided to give the series a shot and I've just finished Cover Her Face (I also read the first Cordelia Gray novel a little while ago). I really enjoyed them. It wasn't the best mystery novels I've ever read, but the characters were really interesting and well developed and I definitely think I'll continue to check out the series.


message 37: by Bill (new)

Bill I've just started Original Sin. It's been awhile since I've read a Dalgliesh mystery. Looking forward to seeing what it's like.


message 38: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments I should try a Dalgliesh novel; PD Robb is very popular and well liked.


message 39: by Bill (new)

Bill I must say I'm enjoying Original Sin very much. I was somewhat intimidated by the size of the novel; I sometimes find that as authors become more successful it seems that they feel that in their later books that they need to get more and more wordy. However, I'm liking how PD James builds the story, how intelligently she writes and just the enjoyment I'm getting reading it. The mystery is almost on the periphery, but now that I'm into the second section, the actual investigation, I'm finding out more about Dalgliesh and his team. I hope it continues in this vein, excellent so far.


message 40: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Thanks, Bill; I need to consider this one, as well.


message 41: by Bill (new)

Bill P.D. James is worth trying, Skye. :)


message 42: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Believe it or not, I do have several hard backs of hers; but I never bothered; isn't there a specific order to follow?


message 43: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments there is but you don't have to follow it, My first forage into the series was The Murder Room followed by Death in Holy Orders :P and btw those two are my fave in the series, but I only happened to get the rest because I enjoyed her writing style and loved the crime and the character. so you dont need to follow an order as such but if you do get hooked I would recommend reading the others :P


message 44: by Skye (last edited Sep 17, 2014 01:28PM) (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Zoe: thanks for letting me know; it matters to me.


message 45: by Helena (new)

Helena Greenfield | 81 comments From the books I've read so far (which is now 3 so not exactly an expert lmao) it's not like with the Harry Bosch novels where there are loads of references to other books and such. I still like to read it in order, but I really don't think it'll make much difference if you just read them randomly. (I am slightly ocd so I'll probably read them in order anyways )


message 46: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments I am OCD, too, in many ways, but I will give them a go, and thanks for helping along, too.


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