Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh #3)

By P.D. James

Rating: 3 stars

This is an oddly meta-fictional whodunnit, with the victim being a writer of detective fiction, whose corpse is seen in the first chapter floating on a boat off the Sussex coast in exactly the same manner (and words) as a character later says she mentioned to the victim as a good opening chapter for a detective novel…

I enjoyed this novel where Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh takes a holiday to visit his aunt in a small coastal village in Sussex, and being unable to get away from his day job. It described small-town mentality rather well, and showed how different British life was, even fifty years ago, not to mention the lack of empathy shown to the disabled, with one character constantly being referred to (both in the narrative and within the story) as a cripple, for being in a wheelchair.

As usual, I completely failed to figure out whodunnit, but I don’t feel so bad this time, since a major clue was hidden until the very end.

Book details

ISBN: 9780571204106
Publisher: Penguin Books in association with Faber & Faber
Year of publication: 1967

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