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Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes (1967)

Series: Adam Dalgliesh (3)

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1,863386,929 (3.62)72
The peaceful village of Monksmere had been Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh's retreat from the daily routine of Scotland Yard. Now a man has been murdered and the village reveals its concealed lies and hatreds.
Title:Unnatural Causes
Info:Penguin Books, Limited
Collections:Your library

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Unnatural Causes by P. D. James (1967)


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English (35)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Adam Dalgliesh looks forward to ten days relaxation at his Aunt Jane's coastal home in Monksmere, Suffolk. When neighbor Maurice Seton's body turns up in a boat with his hands chopped off, many residents become suspects, including his aunt. Her chopper, stolen months earlier, probably severed the hands. Although the case belongs to Inspector Reckless, it ruins Adam's vacation, and Reckless keeps him somewhat in the loop. The book seemed repetitive in places, and the long drawn-out taped confession rehashed too much of the story. While not James' finest effort, it still rates as an enjoyable one. I listened to the audiobook read by Penelope Dellaporta whose accent gave it the classic British cozy feel. ( )
  thornton37814 | Oct 12, 2021 |
Adam Dalgliesh goes on holiday to visit his Aunt Jane Dalgliesh in Monksmere on the coast of England. While there, he wants to decide whether or not to marry Deborah Riscoe. However, Maurice Seton is found dead in his brother's boat and missing his hands. This throws Dalgliesh into an investigation with Inspector Gerry Reckless since Maurice appears to have died of natural causes--a heart attack. The death causes much concern among the residents of Monksmere: Digby Seton (Maurice's half-brother), Justin Bryce (writer), Oliver Latham (critic), Celia Calthrop (romance writer), Liz Marley (Cambridge student), and Sylvia Kedge (handicapped typist). Then there is another unquestionable murder and a bit later a terrific storm that finally reveals the murderer. ( )
  baughga | Mar 14, 2021 |
Digital Audiobook read by Penelope Dellaporte

In book three of the mystery series, Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh has a holiday planned. He’ll spend ten blissfully uneventful days with his spinster aunt at her seaside cottage on the Suffolk coast. It’s a well-earned break, and his plans include nothing more taxing that long walks, tea by the fire, and some personal reflection. And then a headless, handless body washes ashore.

I came late to the PD James party, but here I am and I’m ready to enjoy myself. Dalgliesh is a marvelous character – a supremely competent detective, astute, observant, and intelligent, but also sensitive to nuance and willing to reflect on numerous possibilities.

James gives us several possible suspects and enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. There’s also a thrilling scene involving a major storm that puts everyone in danger. I hadn’t identified the culprit before the reveal. A totally satisfying mystery. I’ll continue with this series.

Penelope Dellaporte does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 3, 2021 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh takes a holiday. Or that is his plan. He drives to a country village where his aunt Jane lives. Jane is a favorite and Dalgliesh likes to spend time with her.

But he hardly has time to set down his suitcase when a corpse comes calling. Not literally. Writer Maurice Seton is found drifting in a dinghy, dead but missing his hands. Seton lived near Jane Dalgliesh and was known to her. As were others in the small community.

Seton, a mediocre writer, had few friends and one relative: a nephew on whom he didn't dote. Many of his acquaintances could be said to have motives for his murder. Dalgliesh struggles to stay out of it but he really can't, and it does provide some distraction from the big question: should he propose to Deborah Riscoe. The thoughtful, understanding Deborah had been sharing time with him and he could feel the need to end the dangling nature of the relationship.

With help from the astute Aunt Jane, Dalgliesh seeks out and...does he catch the murderer? Does he ask Deborah to marry him? ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I really appreciate PD James writing. She creates a wonderful sense of place and great characters. This was typical and just what I was in the mood for. Penelope Dellaporta is an excellent narrator. ( )
  njcur | Aug 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Solinas, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamminen, LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The corpse without hands lay in the bottom of a small sailing dinghy drifting just within sight of the Suffolk coast.
Maurice always said that writing wouldn't keep him in socks. He was rather bitter about it. He said that this was the age of "Soap-powder fiction". If a writer hadn't a gimmick no one was interested. Bestsellers were created by the advertisers, good writing was a positive disadvantage and the public libraries killed sales.
`He must have been a strange sort of chap. Fussy. Methodical. That card index, for instance.'
[To get enough money] `much might be necessary. A novel every 6 months; a weekly stint in *Home & Hearth* [woman's mag]; appearances whenever her agent could get them on those interminably boring tv panels; short stories written under one name or another for the women's weeklies; the gracious appearances at Church bazaars where the publicity was free even if the tea had to be paid for.'
`It must have given him the greatest satisfaction to write it all down. There could be no typewriter, no mechanical keys between this pain and its expression. He needed to see the words forming themselves under his hand.'
`What about his style?'
`Turgid but grammatical. And, in these days, when every illiterate debutante thinks she is a novelist, who am I to quarrel with that? Written I imagine with Fowler on his left hand and Roget on his right. Stale, flat and, alas, rapidly becoming unprofitable. ... When I last saw him I had to listen to the usual diatribe about the decline of standards and the exploitation of sex and sadism ...'
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The peaceful village of Monksmere had been Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh's retreat from the daily routine of Scotland Yard. Now a man has been murdered and the village reveals its concealed lies and hatreds.

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