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The Resource A certain justice, P.D. James

A certain justice, P.D. James

Label
A certain justice
Title
A certain justice
Statement of responsibility
P.D. James
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Award
Library Journal Best Books, 1997.
Review
  • Like the majority of P. D. James' novels, this one follows not only the conventions of the classical detective story but also her own personal formula: place a murder within the confined workplace of a group of professionals and then investigate the profession as you investigate the crime. Invariably, there is a country-house flavor to all of this, with a limited number of suspects to be interrogated by the grand master, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh. In her last work, Original Sin (1995), James went inside a publishing house to find a killer among the editors; this time, the bloodstains smear a law firm. When leading criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge is found stabbed to death in her office, with a bloody barrister's wig placed on her head, it's clear that someone had a serious grudge. James' devoted fans--growing exponentially ever since Dalgliesh became a television star on PBS' Mystery will find here all the texture and complexity they've come to expect. Although the focus is on the barristers, the novel explores all levels of London society, and the portrait of one of Aldridge's former clients--a murderer now dating Aldridge's daughter--provides a John Harvey-like vision of the British underclass. But, finally, it is the fascinating look at the English court system that wins the day here. Nicely juxtaposing the tradition-drenched world of the Royal Courts, awash equally in ideals and egos, against Dalgliesh's inability to prove a case against someone he knows is guilty, James adds a devilish twist to the ending of the classical mystery: the price of maintaining order sometimes attenuates justice. ((Reviewed October 15, 1997)) -- Bill Ott
  • 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
  • Crafting a classic locked-room mystery in her latest Adam Dalgliesh novel, James leads readers on a page-turning journey behind the scenes of the English legal system and along the darker, twisted byways of human intentions. Although neither Dalgliesh, Commander at New Scotland Yard, nor Detective Inspector Kate Miskin provides the most powerful presence here, readers won't mind: victims and suspects comprise an indelible cast. Introduced first is ambitious criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge as she successfully defends a chillingly unfeeling young man named Ashe against charges that he murdered his slatternly aunt, with whom he lived after stints in a series of foster homes and institutions. Venetia is found dead in her locked office, wearing a blood-soaked barrister's wig, shortly after her 18-year-old daughter, Octavia, announced that she was in love with Ashe and planned to marry him. While questioning the lawyers and staff who shared the victim's chambers at Pawlet Court, Dalgliesh, Kate and her new partner, Piers Tarrant, probe the dead woman's past and personal history. James (Original Sin, 1995) briskly introduces a varied array of suspects and motives, drawing the reader deeper into their lives and gradually revealing a network of intersections. Another murder precedes the disappearance of Octavia and Ashe, which leads to a riveting, credible resolution. Themes of obsession, neglect, revenge and ambition fuel this emotionally powerful puzzler, which may remind readers of the author's stand-alone novel Innocent Blood (1980) and is immensely satisfying in both its intricate plot and complexity of characters. 250,000 first printing; BOMC selection; author tour; simultaneous Random House audio and large print edition. (Dec.)
  • /* Starred Review */ Four weeks after she's defended Garry Ashe on a charge of murdering his disreputable aunt--in a bravura sequence that provides the most electric opening of any of James's novels--his barrister, brilliant, aloof Venetia Aldridge, is found stabbed to death in her chambers with a paper-knife, a barrister's wig on her head and her corpse soaked in fresh blood. Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his squad naturally suspect Ashe, a plausible sociopath who's improved sufficiently on his acquaintance with Venetia to engage himself to her sadly neglected daughter Octavia Cummins. But Ashe provides an alibi, and Dalgliesh turns to other members of chambers: the retiring head; Venetia's rival to succeed him; the colleague whose jury tampering three years ago Venetia had just discovered; and the doting uncle of that colleague's wife. Under Dalgliesh's patient, tough-minded examination, the junior candidates for tenancy in chambers reveal their own fierce rivalries and fiercely divided motives; so do the clerks, members of the support staff, their families, their ex-spouses, their housemates, until finally a pattern of unspeakable hurt and diabolical revenge begins to emerge. In James's severely Darwinian view of the species, everyone is programmed with memories of traumatic past sufferings, and everyone does whatever it takes to survive. It's left to Dalgliesh and Inspectors Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant to succor the survivors and count the heavy costs. Even more perfectly than the publishing house in Original Sin (1995), Venetia's law chambers provide James with the ideal arena for her boundlessly compassionate probing of human frailty and for the shivery hope of goodness. (Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1997)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
036057
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
James, P. D
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6060.A467
LC item number
C45 1997b
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Adam Dalgliesh mysteries
Series volume
0010
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Dalgliesh, Adam (Fictitious character)
  • Police
Label
A certain justice, P.D. James
Instantiates
Publication
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
364 p.
Isbn
9780375401091
Lccn
97036889
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375401091
  • (OCoLC)37475194
Label
A certain justice, P.D. James
Publication
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
364 p.
Isbn
9780375401091
Lccn
97036889
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780375401091
  • (OCoLC)37475194

Library Locations

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