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The private patient
P. D. James
Adult Fiction JAMES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In James's stellar 14th Adam Dalgliesh mystery (after 2006's The Lighthouse), the charismatic police commander knows the case of Rhoda Gradwyn, a 47-year-old journalist murdered soon after undergoing the removal of an old disfiguring scar at a private plastic surgery clinic in Dorset, may be his last; James's readers will fervently hope it isn't. Dalgliesh probes the convoluted tangle of motives and hidden desires that swirl around the clinic, Cheverell Manor, and its grimly fascinating suspects in the death of Gradwyn, herself "a stalker of minds" driven by her lifelong passion for rooting out the truth people would prefer left unknown and then selling it for money. Beyond the book's central moral concern, James meditates on universal problems like aging ("the amorphous flattening of self") and the government's education policy, which targets 50% of the young as university-bound while ensuring that another 40% are uneducated on leaving secondary school. Against her relentless intellectual view of our dying earth, James pits the love she finally grants Dalgleish--sufficient to reinvigorate hope and faith so rare in both fiction and reality today. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A new P.D. James novel feels as if a complex and lovely gift has been bestowed upon the reader. With this 14th novel featuring Adam Dalgliesh, there is a definite sense of closure. Investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrives at the beautiful Cheverell Manor in Dorset, owned by famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, to undergo a relatively routine surgical procedure to remove a facial scar and enjoy a private week of recovery. The next day, after a successful surgery, Rhoda is murdered in her room. Commander Dalgliesh and his usual team, Det. Inspector Kate Miskin and Sgt. Francis Benton-Smith, are summoned. As with any James novel, the manor's inhabitants are an insular, odd group requiring Dalgliesh to unravel a tangled mix of motivations in order to flush out the murderer. The end result is satisfying, if not bittersweet, for both Dalgliesh and the reader. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/08.]--Andrea Y. Griffith, Loma Linda Univ. Libs., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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