Summary and book reviews of A Certain Justice by P.D. James

A Certain Justice

by P.D. James

A Certain Justice
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  • First Published:
    Dec 1997, 364 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 1998, 431 pages

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Book Summary

In her first foray into the strange closed world of the Law Courts and the London legal community, P.D. James has created a fascinating tale of interwoven passion and terror.

It begins, dramatically enough, with a trial for murder. The distinguished criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge is defending Garry Ashe on charges of having brutally killed his aunt. For Aldridge the trial is mainly a test of her courtroom skills, one more opportunity to succeed--and she does. But now murder is in the air. The next victim will be Aldridge herself, stabbed to death at her desk in her Chambers in the Middle Temple, a bloodstained wig on her head. Enter Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team, whose struggle to investigate and understand the shocking events cannot halt the spiral into more horrors, more murders...

A Certain Justice is P.D. James at her strongest. In her first foray into the strange closed world of the Law Courts and the London legal community, she has created a fascinating tale of interwoven passion and terror. As each character leaps into unforgettable life, as each scene draws us forward into new complexities of plot, she proves yet again that no other writer can match her skill in combining the excitement of the classic detective story with the richness of a fine novel. In its subtle portrayal of morality and human behavior, A Certain Justice will stand alongside Devices and Desires and A Taste for Death as one of P.D. James's most important, accomplished and entertaining works.

Murderers do not usually give their victims notice. This is one death which, however terrible that last second of appalled realization, comes mercifully unburdened with anticipatory terror. When, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11 September, Venetia Aldridge stood up to cross-examine the prosecution's chief witness in the case of Regina v. Ashe, she had four weeks, four hours and fifty minutes left of life. After her death the many who had admired her and the few who had liked her, searching for a more personal response than the stock adjectives of horror and outrage, found themselves muttering that it would have pleased Venetia that her last case of murder had been tried at the Bailey, scene of her greatest triumphs, and in her favourite court.

But there was truth in the inanity.

Court Number One had laid its spell on her since she had first entered it as a pupil. She had always tried to discipline that part of her mind which she suspected could be seduced by tradition or ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Cosmopolitan

There's nobody like P.D. James...[We are] terrified one moment, astonished the next.

New York Times Book Review - Judith Christ

A first-class novelist...with a literary flair and an eye as perceptive as her heart.

New York Times Book Review - Judith Christ

A first-class novelist...with a literary flair and an eye as perceptive as her heart.

Author Blurb Robert B. Parker
She is simply a wonderful writer.

Author Blurb Anita Brookner
P.D. James is an addictive writer...A superior novelist.

Author Blurb Ruth Rendell
[Dalgliesh] is certainly the most interesting of fictional detectives.

Author Blurb Robert B. Parker
She is simply a wonderful writer.

Author Blurb Ruth Rendell
[Dalgliesh] is certainly the most interesting of fictional detectives.

Reader Reviews

Anonymous
Bill Hobbs
Venetia Aldridge, a brilliant, up-and-coming criminal lawyer is found murdered. And P.D. James' quintessential English policeman Superintendent Adam Dalgleish is in charge of this high-profile case. As Scotland Yard becomes more involved ...   Read More

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