The Private Patient Paperback – Mar 31 2009
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“Although she tackles contemporary social issues with relish, James will still use old-fashioned narrative devices dating back to the golden age of crime fiction. That’s because they still work.” –Calgary Herald
“Her skill and vitality are not diminished . . . The Private Patient is classic James.” –Scotsman
“This is a book about the way we live now . . . James brings a stinging clarity to the complicated goings-on in the Dorset countryside” –The Sunday Times
“Elegantly phrased, plot-driven, multi-layered and laced with menace.” –Observer
“P. D. James — in the eyes of many admirers the world’s finest living crime novelist.” –The Windsor Star
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
P. D. James is the author of 18 books, most of which have been filmed for television. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honours, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she celebrated her 80th birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
What lover of mysteries has not read or at least heard of P.D. James? The author of 19 books she spent some 30 years in the British Civil Service and recently celebrated her 88th birthday. One of her many gifts to readers is the creation of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, a consummate investigator who is often given to Holmesian discussions as he presents his thoughts to various characters and suspects.
With The Private Patient we visit an impressive old house, Cheverell Manor in Dorset. Once a family home it was sold of necessity to an eminent plastic surgeon, George H. Chandler-Powell, who now operates it as a clinic for the privileged. Rhoda Gradwyn comes to him for the removal of a disfiguring facial scar. She's an investigative journalist (her work is similar to that of a reporter for a supermarket tabloid in the USA). She's with us only briefly as she's soon dead of strangulation, a murder committed by an unknown person wearing latex gloves.
While the crime most definitely has affected Rhoda, it also affects the good doctor as who would want to come to a clinic where a murder has just occurred? Commander Dalgliesh is summoned to investigate. He has a great deal to look into considering the clinic staff, the departed's boyfriend, and others who were a part of her life for good or ill.
Once again James treats us to her vivid descriptions of setting and extensive vocabulary - the perfect word for every thought and situation. A pleasure to read - do so slowly and savor this author's unique style.
- Gail Cooke
Few plastic surgery patients are strangled. But that is the crime du jour of the fourteenth Adam Dalgleish novel, a quietly tangled web of motives and suspicious characters in a classic mystery setting. But P.D. James elevates your average whodunnit with her refined brand of police investigation, as well as the bittersweet meditations on aging, love and loneliness.
For the past thirty years, investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn has had a chasmic scar on her face. But now she decides to have it repaired by the eminent plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, at his beautiful old manorhouse. But mere hours after the surgery, Rhoda is found strangled, and Adam Dalgleish is called in to investigate who in the Manor wanted her dead.
Turns out that there are a number of motives, some more coldly rational than others -- Rhoda's boytoy, the mentor of a girl Gradwyn destroyed, and a young woman with a gruesome past. With plenty of people who could have done it, Dalgleish must unravel who actually did do it, and the secret motives that others are keeping hidden. But he may not be in time to prevent more deaths...
"The Private Patient" is a book preoccupied by the passage of time. Lonely futures, sad pasts, the "flattening" of aging, the world changing and people losing their family homes. Even Dalgleish's impending wedding has a bittersweet edge, since it heralds changes among his friendships. Yet P.D. James makes sure to remind us that love and friendship can overcome the sadness of change and loss.
And with the sure hand of an experienced writer, James spins a solid whodunnit with plenty of red herrings and a wealth of suspects.Read more ›
Dalgliesh himself meets his future father-in-law, and one senses that finally he has also reached a point of contentment with the relationship he began a few novels back.
Whether or not P. D. James intended this title to be a closure to the series or not, certainly some previously on-going loose ends are tied up or at least presented as being headed for resolution. This is fortunate, because at this point with the death of the author there will be no more instalments of this excellent series of works -- at least, none written by James herself.
The Private Patient is more about love, its effects, and the harm it costs to not receive and give it . . . than about crime, detection, or justice. As with The Lighthouse, Baroness James has created deeply etched new characters while turning her on-going characters into ever-more real seeming personalities.
While many novelists are only too quick to paint a victim as harmless or harmful and bump them off, Baroness James gives us a complex portrait of a woman, investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn, whose youth scarred both her face and her psyche. As a result, she uses her slashed face as a mask to hide behind . . . and to keep people away on her own terms. She becomes good at ferreting out the secrets of others and displaying those hidden scars for a large pay day.
With the death of her abusive father and her mother's plan to remarry, Gradwyn realizes she doesn't need the scar any more and seeks one of the most expensive and highly regarded plastic surgeons, George Chandler-Powell, to repair her face. But she decides that there might be stories involved, and her meddling brings forth counter forces that lead to her death.
Strangled in her patient suite, steps from the nurse's bedroom, it begins to appear that an insider is involved. But no one remembers meeting Gradwyn before. What's the motive?
AD is dispatched to work on the case shortly after a call comes from number ten.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Lots of intrigue right until the end. Good character development with interesting personalities that keep your attention. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2013 by Nancy
I first ordered this in audio format for a friend. I'd seen the book in hard cover at a nearby bookseller's. I ogled over it for a long time - the cover intrigued me so much. Read morePublished on April 18 2011 by Melanie King
Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of P.D. James.
Summary: Rhoda Gradwyn goes to an exclusive manor, which houses a plastic surgery and recuperation facility, out in the... Read more
I know I am going to be seen as seriously offside when I make critical remarks about Britain's master crime writer on her latest book, "The Private Patient", but I have to make... Read morePublished on July 12 2009 by Ian Gordon Malcomson