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On the East Anglican seacoast a small theological college hangs precariously on an eroding shoreline and an equally precarious future. Then, the body of a student is found buried in the sand, and the boy’s influential father demands that Scotland Yard investigate. Adam Dalgleish, the son of a parson, once spent happy summers at the school. A detective who loves poetry, a man who has known loss and discovery, Dalgliesh is the perfect candidate to look for the truth in a remote, rarified community of the faithful–and the frightened. For when one death leads to another, Dalgliesh finds himself steeped in a world of good and evil, of stifled passions and hidden pasts, where someone has cause not just to commit one crime, but to begin an unholy order of murder. . . .
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
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Availability for Death in Holy Orders; An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery
    In Death in Holy Orders, eleventh in the Adam Dalgliesh crime fiction series, his planned vacation is rerouted to a place he once stayed as a boy, a small religious college in an isolated coastal region, where a young ordinand’s death has been designated as an accident, but an anonymous letter to his father has since aroused suspicion - Dalgliesh arrives to find not one suspicious death at the college, but two, and these are followed by a brutal and very obvious murder. I find P. D. James refreshing to read; her non-series characters (those who are not Dalgliesh, his colleagues, or connected to him personally) are incredibly well written, no matter how peripheral they may be. I’ve begun making a point of picking one up whenever a previous book disappoints me in terms of characterisation – to prove to myself that I’m not just being picky, that it’s possible to infuse any genre with individuals who are neither lazily portrayed, nor overplayed to compensate. There are other female crime writers who are just as strong in this area, but I’m on a P. D. James kick just now, because she also plots and instils atmosphere wonderfully, as well; in this book, the sadness and isolation were layered with beautiful subtlety. Death in Holy Orders seemed a little long-winded in places (there seemed to be more ‘middle’ to this book than was strictly necessary) but a very rewarding read.more
    Readers have come to expect genuine, human characters, unique settings, and a unique plot from P.D. James. In this novel, she delivers on every level. The Catholic church carries a certain amount of mystery in itself, so it made a perfect place for a murder story. As usual, James takes her time in drawing each character, making readers emotionally invested in the novel. This is a really great crime novel.more
    The title makes it sound as though it's going to be a parody of the classic English murder story, and to some extent that's what it is. There are a few minor departures from tradition — the suspects are assembled in the library at the beginning of the story not the end, for instance — but in essence the story sticks quite closely to the time-hallowed formulae. Closed community; enough secrets, scandals and unsuspected connections to give practically everyone a motive; a succession of deaths that might or might not be murder, and might or might not be linked.Of course, there is a bit more to it: this was written in 2001, not 1931, after all. On one level James foregrounds the decay of Anglicanism and all the values it represents: a little pocket of good taste, tolerance and intellectual rigour is threatened and unappreciated by the world: the North Sea and Blair's Cool Britannia are competing to destroy it. On another level, she prevents us from taking anything at face value by a string of literary jokes: practically all the minor characters have names that will send you trawling through the annals of English literature; most of them turn out to have shelves full of detective stories; we get a character who likes to "commune with his pigs", Lord Emsworth style, but acts in ways merely to imagine which would have given that mild-mannered peer a heart attack; the play-scene from Hamlet turns up with an oddly Trollopean twist. You get the idea. A strange mixture of postmodern playfulness with conservative doom and gloom. Oddly captivating, and just the thing for a winter Sunday afternoon with Radio Three playing in the background...more
    Many years ago, when I was a bookseller, we used to put a favorite author's name on our nametags as an alias. I picked P. D. James. I've never regretted my choice.more
     What a great murder mystery and a throw back to the old school detective novels. A body is discovered on the coast of England. Accident, suicide, or murder? When Adam Dalgliesh comes to investigate, readers will know it must be murder. Then an old woman is murdered, and the plot thickens. Dalgliesh begins to suspect it has something to do with an event from the past: incest, a secret marriage, thievery... When a third body, that of a High Church Archdeacon, turns up, the hunt is on. My first P.D James novel and I am looking forward to other couple I have collecting dust on my shelves.more
    Death in Holy Orders. P.D. James. 2001. I always forget what a wonderful writer James is. She is such a pleasure to read. Adam Dalgliesh returns to an Anglo/Catholic seminary to investigate the apparent suicide of one of the students. Most of the faculty and several of the students all become suspects before the mystery is solved. Throughout the novel James also presents both sides of the liberal/conservative views of the Church of England.more
    Took 1/2 the book before it grabbed my attention. Ok for a "who dun it". Set in current England in an old 1800's Abby where they taught Anglican priests.more
    love her descriptions. great mysterymore
    There were rather more unsympathetic characters in this novel than there are in others I thought, perhaps that is why some readers have been dissatisfied with this novel. Mirfields or St. Stephens? You decidemore
    Set in Lowestoft, just down the road from me, this is an excellently constructed novel based around a retreat. The whodunnit nature of the book is superbly handled and, I would be awarding five stars, without question, if it were not for Father John. Father John has been imprisoned for offences against young choristers under his supervision. Archdeacon Crampton, the victim, assisted the police in making their case against Father John and, we repeatedly get the other characters chastising the archdeacon for his unsporting behaviour to a fellow member of the church. I can only assume that this represents the author's views, to which, of course, she is fully entitled, but did grate, more than a little.more
    Another great one from Baroness James. Maybe the outcomes have gotten a bit predictable by now...well, not predictable, as such. Let's just say, when it's all said and done and you find out who the murderer is, you get the distinct feeling you've read the story before.more
    Death in Holy Orders is the first P.D James tale I have read. I plan on reading others. While Adam Dalgiesh of the Scotland Yard conducts a secondary investigation of a death at a theological college more deaths occur. The investigation is the backbone of the book.One reviewer described this book as "ponderous" and I agree. The book is long and at times the detail is deep - for some maybe, too deep. The style of author James leads this book to be read slowly and with a dictionary at hand. I enjoyed this book, but found myself starting and finishing a couple other books while following Dalgiesh's investigation. I willed myself to finish this book and in doing so I was entertained and my vocabulary increased.more
    Three deaths occur at a remote theological college on a isolated part of the English coast. Dalgliesh is asked to take a second look at a possible suicide but once he is at the college he begins to suspect that the second and third deaths may be related. Dalgliesh plays a bigger part in this mystery than in his last outing, A Certain Justice. It is good to have him back and at the center of the mystery. As usual, James pulls the reader into the lives and complicated and often secret relationships of the people at the college. An enjoyable read.more
    This is the novel before The Murder Room. This is where Adam meets Emma. The story takes place in a small theological seminary which is in danger of being shut down because the Church thinks it is out dated (at least some of them do.) This is also the place where Dalgliesh spent his summers when he was a boy and his father would trade with inner city pastors to give them a break. The story is interesting but even more interesting is the insight we get into the character of Adam Dalgliesh—even more than in Murder Room. An enjoyable read.more
    An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery.Set in East Anglia, The weathly father of an about to be ordained student at St. Anselm is not satisfied with the results of the inquest into his son's death--smothered under sand at the crumbling beach cliffs. Adams, who used to spend summers at St. Anselm, and who was to have spent time in the area, accepts to look into the matter. While he is there, an important work of art is defaced and a terrible murder is committed in the church. In this novel, Adam meets a whoman worthy of him--what will happen next?more
    This is not my favorite kind of detective story. No humor to speak of. Inspector Dalgleash is admirable, but not engaging. The mystery and story are good, but a bit too much spelling out the nasty details of peoples sex lives for me to enjoy it. I like theose details to be a mystery too. Something I can imagine, or not, if I want to. This won't stay on my shelves.more
    Dagliesh mysteries are all good. He is an introspective detective cum poet. A literary take on the mystery.more
    Another excellent James mystery. I loved the setting for this one -- an Anglican seminary on the English coast. Dalgliesh returns to St. Anselm's, where he spent several happy summers as a boy, to investigate the death of a seminary student. The student was killed in the collapse of a sandy cliff, but it is not clear whether his death was accidental, suicide, or even murder. There's loads of intrigue, as three subsequent deaths expose the priests and students to scrutiny and their lives are laid bare.more
    A young theology student is found on a beach and is thought to be an accidental death until other people start dying.Interesting moment where knitting provides a clue that not all is well with one of the deaths.more
    Read all 24 reviews

    Reviews

    In Death in Holy Orders, eleventh in the Adam Dalgliesh crime fiction series, his planned vacation is rerouted to a place he once stayed as a boy, a small religious college in an isolated coastal region, where a young ordinand’s death has been designated as an accident, but an anonymous letter to his father has since aroused suspicion - Dalgliesh arrives to find not one suspicious death at the college, but two, and these are followed by a brutal and very obvious murder. I find P. D. James refreshing to read; her non-series characters (those who are not Dalgliesh, his colleagues, or connected to him personally) are incredibly well written, no matter how peripheral they may be. I’ve begun making a point of picking one up whenever a previous book disappoints me in terms of characterisation – to prove to myself that I’m not just being picky, that it’s possible to infuse any genre with individuals who are neither lazily portrayed, nor overplayed to compensate. There are other female crime writers who are just as strong in this area, but I’m on a P. D. James kick just now, because she also plots and instils atmosphere wonderfully, as well; in this book, the sadness and isolation were layered with beautiful subtlety. Death in Holy Orders seemed a little long-winded in places (there seemed to be more ‘middle’ to this book than was strictly necessary) but a very rewarding read.more
    Readers have come to expect genuine, human characters, unique settings, and a unique plot from P.D. James. In this novel, she delivers on every level. The Catholic church carries a certain amount of mystery in itself, so it made a perfect place for a murder story. As usual, James takes her time in drawing each character, making readers emotionally invested in the novel. This is a really great crime novel.more
    The title makes it sound as though it's going to be a parody of the classic English murder story, and to some extent that's what it is. There are a few minor departures from tradition — the suspects are assembled in the library at the beginning of the story not the end, for instance — but in essence the story sticks quite closely to the time-hallowed formulae. Closed community; enough secrets, scandals and unsuspected connections to give practically everyone a motive; a succession of deaths that might or might not be murder, and might or might not be linked.Of course, there is a bit more to it: this was written in 2001, not 1931, after all. On one level James foregrounds the decay of Anglicanism and all the values it represents: a little pocket of good taste, tolerance and intellectual rigour is threatened and unappreciated by the world: the North Sea and Blair's Cool Britannia are competing to destroy it. On another level, she prevents us from taking anything at face value by a string of literary jokes: practically all the minor characters have names that will send you trawling through the annals of English literature; most of them turn out to have shelves full of detective stories; we get a character who likes to "commune with his pigs", Lord Emsworth style, but acts in ways merely to imagine which would have given that mild-mannered peer a heart attack; the play-scene from Hamlet turns up with an oddly Trollopean twist. You get the idea. A strange mixture of postmodern playfulness with conservative doom and gloom. Oddly captivating, and just the thing for a winter Sunday afternoon with Radio Three playing in the background...more
    Many years ago, when I was a bookseller, we used to put a favorite author's name on our nametags as an alias. I picked P. D. James. I've never regretted my choice.more
     What a great murder mystery and a throw back to the old school detective novels. A body is discovered on the coast of England. Accident, suicide, or murder? When Adam Dalgliesh comes to investigate, readers will know it must be murder. Then an old woman is murdered, and the plot thickens. Dalgliesh begins to suspect it has something to do with an event from the past: incest, a secret marriage, thievery... When a third body, that of a High Church Archdeacon, turns up, the hunt is on. My first P.D James novel and I am looking forward to other couple I have collecting dust on my shelves.more
    Death in Holy Orders. P.D. James. 2001. I always forget what a wonderful writer James is. She is such a pleasure to read. Adam Dalgliesh returns to an Anglo/Catholic seminary to investigate the apparent suicide of one of the students. Most of the faculty and several of the students all become suspects before the mystery is solved. Throughout the novel James also presents both sides of the liberal/conservative views of the Church of England.more
    Took 1/2 the book before it grabbed my attention. Ok for a "who dun it". Set in current England in an old 1800's Abby where they taught Anglican priests.more
    love her descriptions. great mysterymore
    There were rather more unsympathetic characters in this novel than there are in others I thought, perhaps that is why some readers have been dissatisfied with this novel. Mirfields or St. Stephens? You decidemore
    Set in Lowestoft, just down the road from me, this is an excellently constructed novel based around a retreat. The whodunnit nature of the book is superbly handled and, I would be awarding five stars, without question, if it were not for Father John. Father John has been imprisoned for offences against young choristers under his supervision. Archdeacon Crampton, the victim, assisted the police in making their case against Father John and, we repeatedly get the other characters chastising the archdeacon for his unsporting behaviour to a fellow member of the church. I can only assume that this represents the author's views, to which, of course, she is fully entitled, but did grate, more than a little.more
    Another great one from Baroness James. Maybe the outcomes have gotten a bit predictable by now...well, not predictable, as such. Let's just say, when it's all said and done and you find out who the murderer is, you get the distinct feeling you've read the story before.more
    Death in Holy Orders is the first P.D James tale I have read. I plan on reading others. While Adam Dalgiesh of the Scotland Yard conducts a secondary investigation of a death at a theological college more deaths occur. The investigation is the backbone of the book.One reviewer described this book as "ponderous" and I agree. The book is long and at times the detail is deep - for some maybe, too deep. The style of author James leads this book to be read slowly and with a dictionary at hand. I enjoyed this book, but found myself starting and finishing a couple other books while following Dalgiesh's investigation. I willed myself to finish this book and in doing so I was entertained and my vocabulary increased.more
    Three deaths occur at a remote theological college on a isolated part of the English coast. Dalgliesh is asked to take a second look at a possible suicide but once he is at the college he begins to suspect that the second and third deaths may be related. Dalgliesh plays a bigger part in this mystery than in his last outing, A Certain Justice. It is good to have him back and at the center of the mystery. As usual, James pulls the reader into the lives and complicated and often secret relationships of the people at the college. An enjoyable read.more
    This is the novel before The Murder Room. This is where Adam meets Emma. The story takes place in a small theological seminary which is in danger of being shut down because the Church thinks it is out dated (at least some of them do.) This is also the place where Dalgliesh spent his summers when he was a boy and his father would trade with inner city pastors to give them a break. The story is interesting but even more interesting is the insight we get into the character of Adam Dalgliesh—even more than in Murder Room. An enjoyable read.more
    An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery.Set in East Anglia, The weathly father of an about to be ordained student at St. Anselm is not satisfied with the results of the inquest into his son's death--smothered under sand at the crumbling beach cliffs. Adams, who used to spend summers at St. Anselm, and who was to have spent time in the area, accepts to look into the matter. While he is there, an important work of art is defaced and a terrible murder is committed in the church. In this novel, Adam meets a whoman worthy of him--what will happen next?more
    This is not my favorite kind of detective story. No humor to speak of. Inspector Dalgleash is admirable, but not engaging. The mystery and story are good, but a bit too much spelling out the nasty details of peoples sex lives for me to enjoy it. I like theose details to be a mystery too. Something I can imagine, or not, if I want to. This won't stay on my shelves.more
    Dagliesh mysteries are all good. He is an introspective detective cum poet. A literary take on the mystery.more
    Another excellent James mystery. I loved the setting for this one -- an Anglican seminary on the English coast. Dalgliesh returns to St. Anselm's, where he spent several happy summers as a boy, to investigate the death of a seminary student. The student was killed in the collapse of a sandy cliff, but it is not clear whether his death was accidental, suicide, or even murder. There's loads of intrigue, as three subsequent deaths expose the priests and students to scrutiny and their lives are laid bare.more
    A young theology student is found on a beach and is thought to be an accidental death until other people start dying.Interesting moment where knitting provides a clue that not all is well with one of the deaths.more
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