An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery
Alfred A. Knopf - 2001
ISBN: 0375412557 - Hardcover
British Police Procedural

Reviewed by Elaine Broome,
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When the body of wealthy theological student Ronald Treeve is found on a remote beach, local police rule the death a suicide. After all, he had been a lonely and unpopular student at St. Anselm's Theological College, there were absolutely no indications of violence, and police could seemingly come to no other conclusion. But in P.D. James' DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS, most things are not what they seem. When Ronald's powerful father begins questioning his son's death, Adam Dalgliesh is asked to quietly look into the matter. Dalgliesh is torn as he heads to St. Anselm's for the weekend. As a boy, he had spent happy months at the school, and he cannot believe that someone there is involved. Upon arrival, he finds that he is not the only guest at the college. When a violent and shocking murder occurs, Dalgliesh must look closely at everyone - even old friends. He quickly discovers that secrets abound at St. Anselm's. Was Ronald's death really suicide? To what lengths will the staff go to stop the college from being closed? What will happen to the priceless art in the school's chapel? Of all of those with a motive for murder, who actually committed the crime?

DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS is a exactly what readers expect from P.D. James; a rich and satisfying novel filled with complex, realistic characters. Adam Dalgliesh is, as always, a wonderful hero! He is as thoughtful and methodical as ever, and more human than ever before. As he sifts through the many threads that make up this mystery, Dalgliesh examines his own life and is saddened by how solitary he has become. This book is a great addition to a classic English mystery series, but is certainly strong enough and powerful enough to stand on its own.

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