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Innocent Blood by P. D. James
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Innocent Blood (original 1980; edition 2001)

by P. D. James

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1,225176,502 (3.67)29
Member:TheFlamingoReads
Title:Innocent Blood
Authors:P. D. James
Info:Touchstone (2001), Edition: 1st Scribner Paperback Fiction, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:Mystery, Favorite Author

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Innocent Blood by P. D. James (1980)

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Very tedious read. None of the characters were particularly likable. Not really a mystery per se. Just not a very engaging read. I'd much prefer going back to Adam Dagleish. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 13, 2014 |
Philippa takes advantage of her right to find her birth parents the minute she turns 18. The story she has been told her whole life about her mother being a maid in a great manor house and her father being a gentleman is found to be completely untrue. The horrifying truth sets her on a collision course with human nature and sets her up to learn more about life in one summer than she has learned in 18 years. PD James’ descriptions are so masterful that I can see and hear and feel the settings of her books, which is one of the things I like about her writing. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
This is one of PD James's best books, although for some reason it is not held in the same high esteem as her other detective-led novels. It concerns the search by an adopted daughter for her mother, and her mother turns out to be a convicted murderer.

There's an intensity and urgency to the writing here that, however well stylised and characterised her other books, is sometimes lacking in her other work. I think this is to do with the fact that the device used to bring the protagonists together is less contrived, less artificial than in some of the Dalgliesh books. The tension and drama, the narrative drive emanates from the characters in a more realistic way. This could be called a 'straight' novel (along with her other, sometimes less-well-regarded, Children of Men), but it has all the hallmarks of James at her best - tight plotting, believable characters and a commentary on broader issues such as loss, pain and parent-child relationships. Make sure you read this.

© Koplowitz 2012 ( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 28, 2013 |
More of a suspense novel than a mystery, full of sad revelations of deception, misunderstandings and loss of love. Not all is as it seems when the adopted daughter of a public intellectual and his mousey wife discovers that her birth mother is a notorious murderess about to be released on license. The father of the murdered child is set on revenge and Philippa is set on discovering her identity.
  ritaer | Jul 25, 2012 |
I see this as James' attempt to write "Literature." Her murder mysteries always have an intense bent towards the psychological analyses of her characters, which has always made for better writing than the average mystery novel, where the focus is on getting the clues revealed slowly enough that the reader can take a shot at figuring out the culprit.

In this novel, we don't step entirely away from the murder theme, but we're introduced quite soon in the book to the prospective murderer, so there's no mystery involved. We watch as he carefully makes his plan, mapping out each step, and we follow the victim as she goes about her day oblivious to her danger. But the emphasis is certainly on the relationships between the characters, and their ambiguous and complex motives for their actions. It's all very literary.

Probably why I didn't care for it much. Bring back Dalgliesh. ( )
  benfulton | Mar 18, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The social worker was older than she had expected; perhaps the nameless official who arranged these matters thought that graying hair and menopausal plumpness might induce confidence in the adopted adults who came for their compulsory counseling.
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Oorspronkelijke titel: Innocent blood.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743219635, Paperback)

Adopted as a child into a privileged family, Philippa Palfrey fantasizes that she is the daughter of an aristocrat and a parlor maid. The terrifying truth about her parents and a long-ago murder is only the first in a series of shocking betrayals. Philippa quickly learns that those who delve into the secrets of the past must be on guard when long-buried horrors begin to stir.

"As a crime novel," wrote the London Times, Innocent Blood is "the peak of the art." "Flawlessly crafted...profoundly, masterfully moving," Cosmopolitan concurred.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Philippa, an adopted child, applies for a copy of her birth certificate when she is 18. She discovers soon afterward that her mother is about to be released from prison.

(summary from another edition)

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