P.D. James






P. D. James
Faber & Faber reissue, March 2006
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Written in 1962, COVER HER FACE is P.D Jamesí debut novel, introducing us to Scotland Yard's Inspector Dalgliesh. Sally Jupp is a very attractive unwed mother in an era when such still carries considerable stigma. After the birth of her son she finds work as a maid for the impoverished, socially conscious, but aristocratic Maxie family. Sally displays a perverse pleasure in creating unpleasantness for virtually every one who crosses her path. When she goes so far as to brag about a proposal of marriage from the son of the family she works for, her game of troubling the water turns lethal, and she is found murdered the morning after the annual church fete. Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. He is certain that this was an inside job and that the murderer remains in the Maxie household. However, there are links to the murder of a drug dealer in London, to which Sally Jupp just happened to be the key witness.

The reader is introduced to a wide cast of characters, each with a motive to commit murder. Dalgliesh is quickly immersed in a sea of suspects; some are aggressive, most give evasive answers and nearly all have deeply hidden motives. There are a number of twists and turns until a satisfactory result is achieved and the murderer is revealed. This is not her best piece of work, but it is a quick and easy read, and definitely shows the beginning of the distinctive style and complexity of plot that has become a P.D. James trademark.

March 2006 Review originally published on Murder and Mayhem


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