Death in holy orders by P.D. James

     Review by:  Linda

Title: Death in holy orders

Author:  P.D. James

Collection:  Adult Fiction

P. D. James began writing the Inspector Adam Dalgliesh mystery series in 1962, and 40 years later the Inspector is still going strong.  He hasn’t seemed to age much since the 60’s, so James is able to give him a long awaited love interest in the 11th book of the series.  In Death in Holy Orders, Dalgliesh meets Emma Lavenham, during the course of an informal inquiry of a student’s death at St. Anselm’s seminary.   Miss Lavenham is a teacher from Cambridge who is at the school to teach literature.  Dalgliesh happens to be a bit of a poet himself (his poetry has been published), and the attraction between the two becomes obvious although both behave as proper Brits would.  The investigation expands as three more bodies turn up and Dalgliesh has his hands full with the ongoing investigation.  By the time the mystery is solved, Dalgliesh has asked Emma for a date.
Two years later in The Murder Room, Dalgliesh becomes involved with a murder investigation in the Dupayne Museum in London which is dedicated to memorabilia from the period between the two world wars..  One room in the museum, The Murder Room, has items on display from murders committed during this time.  While investigating the murder of one of the building’s owners, he contemplates the future of his relationship with Emma.  By the end of the book he has written her a long letter and awaits her reply.
P. D. James spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Divisions of the Home Office, and has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 1991, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park.  Her readers had petitioned her to have Dalgliesh become involved in a romantic relationship.  He had been married as a young man, but lost his wife during childbirth.  He lost his son at the same time, and was committed to a life alone.   Although he had gone through some brief relationships that never went anywhere, he had no serious love interest until now.  Will it affect his masterful skill of criminal investigation?  Will it improve his poetry?  I will have to read Number 13, The Lighthouse, to find out!

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