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A Certain Justice Paperback – Aug 31 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; 1st Vintage Canada ed edition (Aug. 31 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676971687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676971682
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Although A Certain Justice begins with news of a murder, the victim isn't set to die for another four weeks. Publicly respected but privately loathed, Venetia Aldridge has far more enemies than a brilliant London criminal lawyer should--and at least one of them is determined to do her in. Venetia plies her superior trade in courts that harbor "the illusion that the passions of men were susceptible to order and control," but her past and private life are exceedingly unruly. Her married lover is intent on giving her up; her daughter loathes her; her fellow barristers are determined that she not become the next head of chambers. Even the cleaning women seems to have something on her.

The outline alone of this complex novel would take pages (as would the eclectic inventory of players), but P. D. James makes us admire far more than her brilliantly developed plot. James in fact creates a crowded gallery of surprisingly decent suspects, along with one suitably vile creature--who happens to be Aldridge's last client.

A superior murder mystery, A Certain Justice is also a gripping anatomy of wild justice. James's characters can be overcome by hate, but she is equally concerned with love's manifestations--human, divine, destructive, and healing. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA?Venetia Aldridge, a brilliant barrister, has "four weeks, four hours and fifty minutes left of life." By the time her murder is discovered, readers have not only met most of the suspects, but have also begun to sympathize with whomever might have done her in. Everyone in the victim's life, from her 18-year-old daughter to the retiring head of chambers, from her former lover to the cleaning woman, has cause to have wished her ill. Adam Dalgleish, James's poetry penning sleuth, and his assistants, especially Kate Miskin, investigate the many possible suspects. After much examination of the past and present, the murderer is discovered and A Certain Justice is meted out. As with many of the author's mysteries, psychology and motivation are as important as whodunit and the conundrum presented here is thought-provoking. Much of the action centers around the rebellious daughter and there is a suspense-filled scene in which she and her psychopathic boyfriend try to evade Dalgleish, only to have young Octavia discover that she needs to evade the boyfriend instead. YAs who enjoy James and those ready for a bit of a fright with their English mysteries will surely take to this adventure.?Susan H. Woodcock, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This detective story is a lot more than a detective story.
1- It is a new stage in the English genre. Sherlock Holmes was an outsider competing with the police. Hercule Poirot was Belgian, so twice an outsider. Here Dalgliesh is a member of Scotland Yard. This book is, in a way, a vindication of Scotland Yard.
2- It contains a deep reflection on social determinism. Both one of the criminals and one of the coppers (a man and a woman) were born and raised in a socially derelict apartment complex and neighborhood for the poor. They both had the same choice, and they chose two different ways.
3- It advocates a certain vision of managing people. Dalgliesh is both strict on basic rules with his subordinates, but also extremely humane, even with unprovable criminals. « It is better for a useful man to continue to be useful than to spend years in gaol ».
4- It displays a deep understanding of human justice and perticularly that fundamentally British principle that it is better to let a criminal go free than to imprison an innocent. This principle is surprisingly original, and also irritating for the judicial system, in foreign countries, in Europe or the USA. Any doubt about the guilt or the value, the force of a piece of evidence has to benefit the accused, no matter what. We suddenly think of Mumia Abu Jamal's case which exposes the radically opposite functioning : contradictory testimonies should benefit the accused. In this case the textimony that does not support the guilt of the accused is overlooked, if not purely negated.
5- Finally, this book is Dickenbsian because it gives us a phenomenal description of the psychology and the social background of all characters, policemen, policewomen, suspects, criminals, etc...
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Format: Hardcover
'A Certain Justice' is a crisp, fast-paced read. It begins inside a courtroom, with Venetia Aldridge defending young Gary Ashe for the murder of his aunt. The scene is swift and captivating, and begins to raise the first questions about Ashe's innocence. After the verdict, we are ushered into the life of Ms. Aldridge. Introduced to us are her nefarious legal colleagues in the Middle Temple, all of whom seem to have a problem with her. After an interesting time which peels back the layers of Venetia's life, she is found murdered, and the mystery begins.
Commander Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard, the poetic protagonist of many of P.D. James' novels, is soon on the case. There are more suspects than you can shake a stick at, and the book never ceases to be of interest as the plot progresses. Ms. James has succeeded in bringing to us a very modern, very moving piece of mystery fiction, and it is quite a satisfying read.
The intricate inner-workings of London's court system is the fascinating setting for 'A Certain Justice', and it sets just the right mood for this sober mystery. The characters, even the minor ones, are well-drawn, and the killer's identity is kept under careful wraps until *very late* in the game, adding even more suspense.
The experience of 'A Certain Justice' will most likely go by quickly, as you will have no problem becoming involved in this great police thriller, turning page after page. There is mood, there is action, and there is depth. What else would you expect from P.D. James?
Also recommended: 'Death In Holy Orders' - the 2001 novel by P.D. James - very good!
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Format: Audio Cassette
I must admit, this was a different type of Mystery for me. Just an average person, I can normally figure out the "who and why" well before the end of the book. Ms. James did an excellent job of not giving away to many clues so it was impossible until near the end of the book to start piecing things together. I really liked the character of Inspector Delglish. My original thought as I listened to this book was that it would be 2 stars max. The ending of this book caught me by surprise and so I decided to give it 3. If it weren't for Ms. James great detail, I would have probably given it 4 stars.
For some reason, Ms. James felt the need to describe every character and place to the most minute detail. This description lent to the length of the book which was extremely long. More then once I thought of not finishing this book. If this hadn't been the audio version I probably wouldn't have finished. I felt the book would have been just as good if not better if some of this description had been left out. About the first 20 chapters (6 tapes) was nothing but a description of the suspects who worked in Chambers. Really, not necessary.
I havn't read any other books by Ms. James and am currently undecided about trying another.
The only other author I can think of to compare Ms. James with would be Agatha Christie. Both have that passion for describing things in their books to the most minute detail.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I must admit, this was a different type of Mystery for me. Just an average person, I can normally figure out the "who and why" well before the end of the book. Ms. James did an excellent job of not giving away to many clues so it was impossible until near the end of the book to start piecing things together. I really liked the character of Inspector Delglish. My original thought as I listened to this book was that it would be 2 stars max. The ending of this book caught me by surprise and so I decided to give it 3. If it weren't for Ms. James great detail, I would have probably given it 4 stars.
For some reason, Ms. James felt the need to describe every character and place to the most minute detail. This description lent to the length of the book which was extremely long. More then once I thought of not finishing this book. If this hadn't been the audio version I probably wouldn't have finished. I felt the book would have been just as good if not better if some of this description had been left out. About the first 20 chapters (6 tapes) was nothing but a description of the suspects who worked in Chambers. Really, not necessary.
I havn't read any other books by Ms. James and am currently undecided about trying another.
The only other author I can think of to compare Ms. James with would be Agatha Christie. Both have that passion for describing things in their books to the most minute detail.
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