Book review: Unnatural Causes

PD JamesA body washes ashore, its hands missing. A rather gruesome start to Unnatural Causes by PD James. We are introduced to a small Suffolk community comprising writers and literary critics. There are no secrets in this bitchy community, or are there? Into this maelstrom walks Adam Dalgliesh, arriving for a holiday with his Aunt Jane.

This is one mystery where I didn’t guess the murderer correctly, the modus operandi of the first murder [yes, plural] is complicated and I didn’t connect the clues. Slightly irritating. Adam Dalgliesh is not the officer in charge which means the story felt at times remote from the detecting; he observes from outside and we are not privy to the thoughts and discoveries of Detective Inspector Reckless [what a great name].

First published in 1967, this novel offers a glimpse of pre-computerisation – authors dictating novels to a secretary to type, taking carbon copies etc. The clique of literary characters seemed at times a little clichéd, but perhaps that is the passing of time.

Read my reviews of the first two Adam Dalgliesh mysteries here:-
Cover Her Face #1
A Mind to Murder #2

If you like crime fiction, try:-
‘Dead Simple’ by Peter James
‘The Secrets of Gaslight Lane’ by MRC Kasasian
‘A Death in the Dales’ by Frances Brody

‘Unnatural Causes’ by PD James, Adam Dalgliesh #3 [UK: Faber] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
UNNATURAL CAUSES by PD James @FaberBooks #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Ex