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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Devices and Desires, by P.D. James

What can I say? I love a good mystery, and P.D. James writes good mysteries. Good novels, really.

In 'Devices and Desires' Adam Dalgleish has to decide what to do with a home he has inherited from his aunt. He decides to visit it on holiday before making a final decision. At this time a serial killer has been terrorizing the area. Dalgleish finds a body. Is she a victim of the serial killer, known as the Whistler? Or is another murderer on the loose?

I kept asking myself as I read the book why I likes James's work so much. I think it has to be her characters, and Dalgleish in particular. I like him as a character, as a person. He's a police detective and a published poet. I think he's something of a philosopher as well. I sympathize with his introversion.

If you like to read mysteries, can handle a tense one with some sexual content (but not of a titillating sort), and you haven't yet tried out P.D. James, don't wait. I understand she has a new one out set in Pemberly. I'm eager to get my hands on that one.


  1. She does write a good novel, but I noticed a theme in her books: the beautiful, but cold as ice woman. She's appeared in every book I've read and I wonder why she can't be more original.

  2. I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with James's corpus to have noticed that theme. One always wonders if such a theme reveals something about the author. Have you read her latest work, set in Pemberly? (I can't recall the exact title right now.)

  3. I haven't read PD James' latest novels. While her novels are interesting and well-done, they don't always end happily and I prefer my novels to end rosily. However, I do have a couple of PD James' books around the house and plan to eventually read them. There's also a somewhat Christian theme that runs through her novels as least the ones I've read. She's written many, many novels so certainly I can't say all. I also remember one novel in which she wrote about a man who had a mistress and how empty and bleak the mistress's existence was painted in that capacity. James doesn't try to pretend sin doesn't exist, but she certainly doesn't make it look fun either.

  4. Devices and Desires ends tidily, of not exactly happily. I appreciate the Christian theme, the frequent references to and quotations of Scripture, and the fact that she doesn't glorify sin. Do you know much about James the woman?

    Have you read The Children of Men? I think that's my favorite of the James books I've read. Lots of food for thought, and given the (voluntary) demographic decline happening right now, rather prescient of her.

  5. I haven't read The Children of Men. I'll have to look it up. I have heard that James is a Christian.