Friday, October 15, 2010

Cover Her Face - P. D. James

Cover Her Face
By: Phyllis Dorothy James
Published: 1962
Audiobook Read by: Penelope Dellaporta
My rating: Great

This is a detective novel written in the classic style that I have always loved.The detective gathers the evidence, interrogates his suspects, researches thoroughly, and in the end, gathers all the involved parties together and reveals the guilty person. I know that a lot of people think that this is a tired overworked method of writing mysteries but I still love it!

Adam Dalgliesh is a wonderful character and I enjoyed his investigative methods very much. You can tell that he is seeing things on a deeper level and reading each suspect like a book despite efforts at deception. His quiet way of getting someone to talk without having to press them is an art. As the investigation progresses, it becomes obvious that he indeed knows who did the crime and is only biding his time so as to uncover proof, or to discover a way to get the culprit to confess on their own. There are several surprises as the plot unfolds and I found myself somewhat shocked by a couple of them. I hadn't figured out the murderer until just before Adam was getting ready to reveal them. In retrospect, I was able to see the clues that should have been more revealing to me but, through artful misdirection, I had missed all of them. I'm afraid that I wouldn't make a very good detective!

The Maxie family is a wonderfully dysfunctional family in the old fashioned sense. The children are independent and love to assert themselves in grandiose ways. The outside hangers on are all involved with the family in the hopes of furthering their own ends. Even the staff is not immune to the drama that pervades the place. However, they are all very likable and seem to be a good group of people, despite their idiosyncrasies.

Sally Jupp is quite an unusual character. I found myself flip flopping between liking her and despising her. No matter what my final opinion of her was, I still was sorry for her, having been murdered and all that. However, it is quite unmistakable that she brought on her own demise through the childish games she chose to play. She provides a painful lesson to us that we need to keep ourselves from falling into the trap of trying to manipulate those around us to provide ourselves amusement. People are not pawns for us to play with lightly, in the end, our own game is very likely to take an unexpected turn about and bite us!

I listened to the audiobook read by Penelope Dellaporta. She has quite a pleasant voice to listen to, but lacked some of the emotion and emphasis that I felt would have made this performance more appealing. I certainly won't avoid other books read by her, but she isn't on my favorite narrators list either.

Overall, this was truly a great mystery and I loved listening to it. I am very happy that there are many more in this series and eventually I intend to listen to them! I hope you will give them a shot as well.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big fan of rounding up all the suspects for the big finish. Sometimes I think I miss clues, but the author actually changed the character's pesonality - say the person was repeatedly built up as friendly - and then at the end, he is a monster. That typs of twist cheats the reader I think.