Death in Holy Orders | Penguin Random House Canada
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Adam Dalgliesh

Death in Holy Orders

An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery

Publisher: Vintage Canada
On a desolate stretch of the East Anglian coast, high atop a sweep of cliffs, sits the theological college of St. Anselm's. Down below, smothered by a fall of sand, lies the body of a young ordinand, the son of a powerful business mogul who wants Scotland Yard to investigate his death. Dalgliesh, doubting there is much to uncover in the case, agrees to go, motivated only by a desire to revisit a place where he spent several happy summers in his boyhood. Yet no sooner does he arrive than the college is torn apart by a sacrilegious murder and Dalgliesh finds himself embroiled in one of the most puzzling and horrific cases of his career: no one is above suspicion, and suspects abound.

Elevated beyond the great classic detective stories of the Golden Age by the power of the writing, Death in Holy Orders grips and moves us from beginning to end, blessed with extraordinary psychological and emotional richness. The memorable characters and the wonderfully evoked wild coastal setting and religious world in which the action takes place demonstrate yet again why P.D. James ranks as one of the great novelists of our time.

From the Hardcover edition.


book one

The Killing Sand


It was Father Martin’s idea that I should write an account of how I found the body.

I asked, “You mean, as if I were writing a letter, telling it to a friend?”

Father Martin said, “Writing it down as if it were fiction, as if you were...
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Death in Holy Orders reconfirms James’s place high in the panoply of contemporary crime writers…. This is a book to be savoured slowly.” — National Post

“This is a great mystery novel, but like the novels of Dickens or Trollope, it’s also more. It is a great novel of morals and ideas.” — The Globe and Mail

“P. D. James, the reigning master of the genre, and at the height of her powers at 80, has an energetic and expansive intelligence that distinguishes her fiction.” — The Gazette (Montreal)

From the Paperback edition.