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A Certain Justice by P.D. James
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A Certain Justice (original 1997; edition 2010)

by P.D. James

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1,979None3,401 (3.73)33
Member:ChelleBearss
Title:A Certain Justice
Authors:P.D. James
Info:Vintage Canada (2010), Edition: 1st Vintage Canada ed, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library, 2013
Rating:****
Tags:None

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A Certain Justice by P. D. James (Author) (1997)

20th century (11) Adam Dalgliesh (94) audiobook (9) British (46) British mystery (21) crime (102) crime fiction (49) Dalgleish (9) detective (42) detective fiction (13) England (39) English (14) fiction (283) first edition (12) law (9) London (10) murder (16) murder mystery (9) mysteries (16) mystery (388) novel (36) P.D. James (10) paperback (13) police (15) police procedural (25) read (28) series (17) to-read (17) UK (9) unread (14)
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
A Certain Justice is probably my least favorite P.D. James I've read so far. It is certainly a complex and intricate mystery, with the usual crisp writing, which I enjoyed, but overall it felt rather uneven. There was a lot of time spent with the narrative focused on the suspects, describing things that wouldn't be known to the detectives. Some of this is understandable in any detective story, but too much of it makes it less of a mystery than I would like. There was also an extremely long confession letter that was a bit tedious. The main detective, Dalgliesh, doesn't really have any character to speak of - I don't feel like I could describe him or his personality even after reading several novels featuring him. His role in the narrative is actually fairly small. It seemed like we didn't really get to follow the detecting process in detail as much as I would expect, and then suddenly at the very end somehow Dalgliesh knows who committed the murder.

I have now read one early P.D. James and two later ones (she took a break of several years in her writing) and so far I think the early was the best. I think I will try another early one next. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
I've given this book four stars rather than five only because it uses two unprompted confessions, rather than detection, to get at the truth. If that is the style you are looking for, you will be very happy reading the book. ( )
  cherilove | Jul 3, 2013 |
This is another one where P.D. James has a hard time getting beyond her general disenchantment with modern British society. As in Private Patient, the victim is a successful career-woman (in this case a QC) who has managed to build up a very impressive portfolio of people with strong motives to murder her. Reading James, you sometimes wonder how it is that women ever manage to avoid violent death as they rise in the professions: coming within range of the glass ceiling must expose you to a murder rate unmatched anywhere outside Cotswold villages and small Swedish towns... On the other hand, the suspects are mostly as unattractive as the victim, so I suppose it's fair.

On the positive side, James is always good at digging out what makes small workplace communities tick. Her technique works very well when applied to barristers’ chambers - even if there are inevitable echoes of John Mortimer and we half expect a cloud of Rumpole’s cigar smoke to emerge from behind one of the oaken doors. Her discussion of the criminal lawyer’s basic ethical dilemma - how to justify defending someone whom you yourself suspect to be guilty - doesn't really tell us anything new, but it sets out very clearly why it has to be like that, at the same time as illustrating the price that we sometimes have to pay for having a system that tries to be fair to the innocent. ( )
1 vote thorold | Apr 20, 2013 |
I've become a big PD James fan since I arrived in the UK; her novels seem a good excuse to become better acquainted with my new home and to read engaging fluff. Even better, I've discovered her books are always well-written, engaging, and even a little thought provoking, many starring her well-known character Commander Dalgliesh, a police chief / poet.

But A Certain Justice eclipsed the four others I've read. The first chapter predicted the book's ending, of course in a way I never expected, and everything in between fit tightly together, a philosophical discussion on the fairness of our justice system, along with an array of fun characters, a twisting plot, and numerous surprises. I cheered when I finished it.
( )
  annemlanderson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Venetia Aldridge, a distinguish barrister, has been killed in her chambers. Stabbed once through the heart she has been left in her office chair, covered in blood with a full wig on.
Venetia had recently won a murder trial of a young man accused of murdering his aunt. To her utter horror that young man has become engaged to her daughter and Venetia was in the process of putting a stop to the romance. Although her daughter and fiancé have an alibi for the time of the murder, it turns out they weren't the only ones who would benefit from Venetia's death.

I have seen many people mention PD James over the years and I've heard great things about the Adam Dalgliesh series but I had never gotten around to reading anything by her. I am glad to say that has been rectified. This book was very addicting and I was happily surprised to see it didn't end the way I had guessed it would. I would like to go back to the start of the series and start them in order now. ( )
1 vote ChelleBearss | Jan 18, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James, P. D.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineJacket Illustration and Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciocchini, María EugeniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciocchini, María EugeniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denise MeunierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my grandchildren with love, Katherine, Thomas, Eleanor, James, and Beatrice
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Murderers do not usually give their victims notice.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Oorspronkelijke titel: A certain justice.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345430573, Mass Market Paperback)

Although A Certain Justice begins with news of a murder, the victim isn't set to die for another four weeks. Publicly respected but privately loathed, Venetia Aldridge has far more enemies than a brilliant London criminal lawyer should--and at least one of them is determined to do her in. Venetia plies her superior trade in courts that harbor "the illusion that the passions of men were susceptible to order and control," but her past and private life are exceedingly unruly. Her married lover is intent on giving her up; her daughter loathes her; her fellow barristers are determined that she not become the next head of chambers. Even the cleaning women seems to have something on her.

The outline alone of this complex novel would take pages (as would the eclectic inventory of players), but P. D. James makes us admire far more than her brilliantly developed plot. James in fact creates a crowded gallery of surprisingly decent suspects, along with one suitably vile creature--who happens to be Aldridge's last client.

A superior murder mystery, A Certain Justice is also a gripping anatomy of wild justice. James's characters can be overcome by hate, but she is equally concerned with love's manifestations--human, divine, destructive, and healing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A British woman lawyer is murdered soon after successfully defending her client who was on trial for murder. As he opens an investigation, Commander Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard learns the man recently became engaged to the lawyer's daughter. Is there a connection? By the author of Original Sin.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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