The setting itself is elemental P. D. James: the bleak coast of East Anglia, where atop a sweep of low cliffs stands the small theological college of St. Anselms. On the shore not far away, smothered beneath a fall of sand, lies the body of one of the schools young ordinands. He is the son of Sir Alred Treves, a hugely successful and flamboyant businessman who is accustomed to getting what he wantsand in this case what he wants is Commander Adam Dalgliesh to investigate his sons death. Although there seems to be little to investigate, Dalgliesh agrees, largely out of nostalgia for several happy summers he spent at St. Anselms as a boy. No sooner does he arrive, however, than the college is torn apart by a sacrilegious and horrifying murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself ineluctably drawn into the labyrinth of an intricate and violent mystery.
Here P. D. James once more demonstrates her unrivalled skill in building a classic detective story into a fully realized novel, gripping as much for its psychological and emotional richness as for the originality and complexity of its plottingand, of course, for the horror and suspense at its heart. Filled with unforgettable characters, brilliant in its evocation of the East Anglian scene and the religious background against which the action takes place, Death in Holy Orders again offers proof, if proof were needed, that P. D. James is not only the reigning master of the crime novel but also, simply, one of the finest novelists writing today.
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 standing outside yourself, watching it happen, remembering what you did, what you felt, as if it were all happening to someone else."
I knew what he meant, but I wasn't sure I knew where to begin. I said, "Everything that happened, Father, or just that walk along the beach, uncovering Ronald's body?"
"Anything and everything you want to say. Write about the college and about your life here if you like. I think you might find it helpful."
"Did you find it helpful, Father?"
I don't know why I spoke these words, they just came into my mind and I let them out. It was silly really, and in a way it was impertinent, but he didn't seem to mind.
After a pause he said, "No, it ...
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