Cover Her Face (An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery #1) by P. D. James
So I love Murder She Wrote. I have watched it a thousand times, never growing tired of Jessica Fletcher and her quick mind.
One thing she mentioned time and time again was how great P.D. James is. Now I have read only one of her book, Death Comes to Pemberley and couldn’t stand it so I did not see what Jessica’s hullabaloo was all about.
But I thought I would try her again…
The mystery is set in an old country manor of Martingale, run by the Maxie family, after WWII. We have Simon Maxie, patriarch who is very ill and on hospice at home. His wife Eleanor runs the home, doing the best she can on the little they have, and managing how to do so and pay the doctor’s bills.
Deborah Maxie Riscoe’s husband died and she went back home with nothing. She and her brother Stephen are very, very close-creepily close.
Deborah, like her mother, make Martingale number one in their interests. Trying to protect their home and find a rich woman to marry Stephen and save the estate.
Stephen is doctor at the local hospital and very interested in girls. He seduces them and dumps them. The newest one he caught was Catherine Bowers, an old family friend and nurse at the hospital. She is convinced of his sincerity and that he will ask her to marry him officially, after his father dies.
Also in the house is Martha the old family cook and head servant, and Sally Jupp-unwed mother and child Jimmy. Sally was at the local home when she was brought into service at Martingale. She is a headstrong impertinent girl who doesn’t follow the rules.
Stephen has moved his vision from Catherine to Sally-enthralled by her fantastic mothering and eager to help the damsel in distress.
It all comes to a head after the Maxie’s annual picnic. All the players are there, including the head of the unwed mother’s home, Miss Liddel, and Deborah’s friend who’s deeply interested in her, Felix Hearnes.
That night at dinner Sally was more arrogant and egotistical. She informs everyone that Stephen proposed and she will be the new mistress at Martingale. When Miss Liddel tries to speak to her, Sally tells her to stay out of it unless she wants all that Sally knows to become common knowledge.
The next day Martha tries to reach Sally, but she doesn’t awaken and the door is barred. When they go to check on her they find her murdered!
Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is sent out to investigate. In a house full of tension-ridden people, which one strangled Sally?
Thoughts After Reading:
This might have been a good mystery except I couldn’t stand a single character. Each one of them was so unlikable that I could not stand this mystery. I do not want to read another one of her works.
For more P.D. James, go to Death Comes to Pemberley
For more mysteries, go to Kidnapped!