I went through a period of reading all the PD James books several years ago, and since then she's done a load more, including this one. I remembered being impressed by the others, but this was a bit disappointing.
The story is set in a private publishing house on the banks of the Thames in London, where a suicide is followed by an apparently accidental death, the circumstances of which are suspicious enough to warrant the involvement of Commander Dalgliesh of the Yard. I don't think I've seen any of the TV adaptations, but from what I remember of the earlier books, Dalgliesh must have been promoted. Also, I didn't know that he was a highly-regarded poet.
The plot wasn't particularly gripping, and the ending was pretty implausible, but the author is capable of writing quite well, and some of the descriptive passages were good. But I felt on several occasions that it was a bit unpolished. Not only was the whole thing a bit long, but there were a few occasions where characters seemed to repeat themselves when recounting their experiences: admittedly this happens in real life but a couple of times I thought I must have got the tracks on the CD mixed up because I was hearing what seemed like exactly the same bit of speech again. I also remember a sentence which went something like "the impatient crowd stood about impatiently" which added to the sense that perhaps a bit of editing would have benefited the book.
A bit disappointing, but it wouldn't put me off trying some of the earlier stuff again to see if it was as good as I remember.
Completed : 09-Apr-2004 (audiobook)