The private patient by British crime fiction author PD James. I began reading her mysteries when I was in high school along with other British and French writers that genre. Many of whom were then more famous. She reached much higher in the English social caste’s becoming a baroness and kept on going till she died at age 94. She is best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard. Okay I’ll admit it from the first time I met this Renaissance man he was the man I wanted to be like. Cool and collected and a poet at that.....
The private patient is the authors final book Dalgliesh series. It begins with a snobby woman named Rhoda Gradwyn a muckraking London journalist. But she is about to enter an clinic for the well to do. There a top-flight plastic surgeon, Mr. George H. Chandler-Powell, will at long last remove a scar from her face.
“Why now, Miss Gradwyn?” the doctor inquires. “Because I no longer have need of it,” she answers, offering no further explanation. Hm.
Several weeks later the surgery is performed at the doctor’s picturesque clinic, which is located in the grand old Cheverell Manor in Dorset. The operation is a success. And then Miss Gradwyn is strangled in the middle of the night by a mysterious person who wears latex gloves to do the deed. This is dreadful news, not only for the victim but for her renowned doctor, too. Having your large home combined with surgical facilities and bedrooms and a murder is bad for business. Lots of potential murderers are introduced into the fray with the manor, and a spooky English countryside.
Here’s the deal, what I liked about this authors writing was clever plots and and fabulous vocabulary. I do like to learn new words. The authors writing style was clearly unique and over the the decades became much more of the same.. Then what happened was for some readers it grew and grew and for others it went in the opposite direction to redundancy and disdain dislike. Let me count the ways :-) PD James could describe any seen in detail even endless detail to the point you could actually see it feel it and even smell it indoors or outdoors it made no difference and her descriptions of people in every aspect brought them alive. She combined that with references to literature, culture and history to an American it was often fascinating. I took my high school students and spent almost a week there seeing Shakespeare in the Barbarbacon theater and the British Museumn an as far north as Stratford-on-Avon. it took the author about one third of the book before she got to commander Dalgliesh and his special unit of crime solvers. That part I was worn down lost and bored
The interesting part to me was PD bringing the detectives who I knew from previous books, to a conclusion of their story in this her final book. I loved detective Kate whose rise from the bottom to near the top she broke last glass ceilings I revered Dalgliesh as a special talent and the most interesting man who seemed likely to be about to retire and marry
These detective stories used to be called who dun-its. I think this one had too many whos to figure out who dun it with all the clues I’d have to go back and reread the first seven chapters, maybe twice. Would there be justice and accountability? Well it was from a British author although they don’t hang people for treason or murder like they used to. In America I think it would be unlikely to do that. So I’ll have to watch more TV in the upcoming weeks to show the senate votes'