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PD James Challenge/Buddy Reads > September 2020 - Original Sin by P.D. James

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
Welcome to our September 2020 challenge read - Original Sin Original Sin by P.D. James by P.D. James and first published in 1994.

The ninth Inspector Adam Dalgliesh novel is set in a two hundred year old publishing firm, The Peverell Press, housed in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames, is certainly ripe for change. But the proposals of its ruthlessly ambitious new managing director, Gerard Etienne, upset many and, ultimately, lead to murder.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread. Thank you.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
I have only recently started this, but like the idea of a mystery in a publishing office. Always a favourite setting for crime writers.


message 3: by Barbara K (new)

Barbara K One of the things I’m enjoying most about this re-read is appreciating the setting. I’ve had the chance to spend more time in London since I first read it, and the scenes along the Thames have an extra appeal now. Yesterday I found myself feeling nostalgic about Greenwich and wishing we’d spent more time there - and then just this morning I received a “virtual event” invitation to an introductory astronomy course from the Royal Observatory. What a coincidence!


message 4: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 834 comments I got muddled and read this in August - I was trying to remember which other classic mystery is set in a publishing house? Is it one of the Nigel Strangeways?

We also have modern versions in Magpie Murders and The Silkworm.

James' version seems more old-fashioned than the mid-1990s with word processors and secretaries.


message 5: by Rosina (last edited Aug 29, 2020 04:12AM) (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 777 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "I got muddled and read this in August - I was trying to remember which other classic mystery is set in a publishing house? Is it one of the Nigel Strangeways? ."

The one I remember I have tracked down as Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham. Is that the one you were thinking of? It could be a popular location for murder, with important manuscripts to be suppressed.


message 6: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 521 comments I've started it and am enjoying the setting very much. I see we have a new member on the team and that Massingham has gone off somewhere.


message 7: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 834 comments Rosina wrote: "The one I remember I have tracked down as Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham."

Thanks, Rosina, I don't think that can be the one I read as I don't really get on with Allingham - so that's probably another to add to the list. As you say, the idea of manuscripts revealing secrets or having been tampered with seems to inspire crime novelists.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
I have been listening to this today - am up to chapter 17 in my Audible version. Loved the beginning and Mandy Price, the new, nosy temp :)


Elizabeth (Alaska) I will finish this today. It is right up there with her A Taste for Death.


message 10: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2852 comments Mod
Waiting for my library request to bubble to the top.


message 11: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9081 comments Mod
The Nigel Strangeways book set in a publishing house was End of Chapter - I was really reminded of this one too, especially as there are some similarities in the set-up!

I am about 60% of the way through this one and so far enjoying it a lot more than the previous book, partly because of the publishing house. Plus the mock-Venetian palace sounds gorgeous, and descriptions of it are a lot more interesting than the (to me) tedious descriptions of drawing room decor in one or two of her recent books!


message 12: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 834 comments Ah ha, that's it, thanks Judy! I'm glad I wasn't imagining Nigel amidst the publishers - that was quite a bloodthirsty one, if I recall correctly.


message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9081 comments Mod
I've also just got up to a bit where Dalgliesh visits a convent - I was a bit surprised by this since a lot of our group read, Thunder on the Right, is also set in a convent. The one in this novel seems rather less sinister, though!


message 14: by Carolien (last edited Aug 29, 2020 11:18PM) (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 521 comments The description of the interior of Innocent House with the painted ceiling reminds me of the Banqueting House in London.

I found the fact that the convent was Anglican and not Catholic quite interesting - mostly because I automatically associate the term with the Catholic Church.


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
I agree that the description adds to the novel, in this book, rather than takes away from it. They are just about to call Dalgliesh, in the part I am at. Apparently, he will do if the Head of Scotland Yard is absent :)


message 16: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 384 comments Carolien wrote: "The description of the interior of Innocent House with the painted ceiling reminds me of the Banqueting House in London.

I found the fact that the convent was Anglican and not Catholic quite inte..."


You may be interested to know the TV series, Call the Midwife, those nuns are Anglican sisters (nuns) of the Community of Saint John the Divine.


message 17: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 834 comments Yes, Innocent House reminded me of lots of London's grand buildings, and the descriptions added to the atmosphere, a kind of decayed decadence.


message 18: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 521 comments Lesley wrote: "Carolien wrote: "The description of the interior of Innocent House with the painted ceiling reminds me of the Banqueting House in London.

I found the fact that the convent was Anglican and not Ca..."


Thanks! I'll keep an eye out for it.


message 19: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9081 comments Mod
Thanks for mentioning the Banqueting House ceiling, Carolien - here is a link to a site with photos of it. Looks amazing:

https://www.hrp.org.uk/banqueting-hou...


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
The love of the house also reminded me of Caroline Graham's "Written in Blood," where you have the sister who longs to live in the Big House she felt was her rightful home. That idea of not selling the house at any cost - although I am not sure I would want to live in the same place where I worked.


message 21: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2852 comments Mod
I started this last night and am still in the character introductions, no murder yet. James does a good job portraying the minor characters: the old lady and the boy earlier and Mandy Price here. (Of course I'm only assuming Mandy is minor. She may have motives and connections I haven't discovered.)


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10137 comments Mod
I am really enjoying this - nearly finished now and it has been one of her most enjoyable so far.


message 23: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 2852 comments Mod
This was going to be a four star read, but ....

Over to the spoiler thread.


message 24: by Tracey (new)

Tracey | 254 comments I've just started this, am loving Mandy Price and her swagger. The motorbike, the felt hats, ditching jobs after a few weeks, and getting on with the typing just after discovering a body. What a character! I am hoping she continues to have a lead role in the book, rather than disappear into the sidelines.


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