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A Taste for Death (1986)

de P. D. James

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Adam Dalgliesh (7)

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2,703333,865 (3.83)46
When the quiet Little Vestry of St. Matthew's Church becomes the blood-soaked scene of a double murder, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh faces an intriguing conundrum: How did an upper-crust Minister come to lie, slit throat to slit throat, next to a neighborhood derelict of the lowest order? Challenged with the investigation of a crime that appears to have endless motives, Dalgliesh explores the sinister web spun around a half-burnt diary and a violet-eyed widow who is pregnant and full of malice--all the while hoping to fill the gap of logic that joined these two disparate men in bright red death. . . .… (mais)
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Once upon a time [WARNING: Name Drop Alert] I had occasion to meet Baroness PD James (and I have a signed first edition to show for it!) and it was hard to believe that this diminutive elderly lady with the twinkle in her eye could write prose like this: "Do you remember the time when you thought you couldn't boil an egg?" Whoops! Wrong book. Let me try again: "There were two of them, and she knew instantly, and with absolute certainty, that they were dead. The room was a shambles. Their throats had been cut and they lay like butchered animals in a waste of blood. Instinctively she thrust Darren behind her. But she was too late. He, too, had seen. He didn’t scream but she felt him tremble and he made a small, pathetic groan, like an angry puppy. She pushed him back into the passage, closed the door, and leaned against it. She was aware of a desperate coldness, of the tumultuous thudding of her heart. It seemed to have swollen in her chest, huge and hot, and its painful drumming shook her frail body as if to burst it apart. And the smell, which at first had been tentative, elusive, no more than an alien tincture on the air, now seemed to seep into the passage with the strong effluvium of death."
The 'shambles' is the case that Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, Scotland Yard's finest, must unravel. And, considering the social milieu Dalgliesh travels in (he is a lauded published poet), and that one victim is a knighted Tory politician (the other man is Harry, 'only' a tramp), the investigation immediately is drawn into the highest realm of the British upper class. Now, this is the point where I have discovered that the study of a novel, with a teacher or a reading group (in this case The Guardian's August Book Club) you may learn precepts that otherwise would be missed. For example, I have enjoyed many of James procedurals, never noticing how her stories are drenched in Tory politics and class bias. From The Guardian: "James’s 1986 [A Taste for Death] is considered one of her finest, and contains many of her classic tropes: Anglicanism, religious doubt, troubled Tories and involved discussions of what makes good and bad coffee. There are fantastic descriptions of London, from high church architecture to the mud and slick of dingy canal towpaths, via grace and favor apartments and rundown social housing." But, then there's this: the lives and loves of the privileged are lovingly detailed, but the lowly "others" are dismissed in a perfunctory fashion. And teachers or social workers or domestics have their aspirations condescended to. Nonetheless, this crime procedural was first rate and, politics and class aside, I will concede that it is a lovingly drawn portrait of Margaret Thatcher's England peopled with characters who resonate with ugly foibles one loves to hate. ( )
  larryking1 | Sep 20, 2020 |
The elderly Miss Wharton, accompanied by Darren, a child of uncertain origins, find the bodies in a church. The bodies are of a tramp, well known in the area, and of Sir Paul Berowne, a Minister of the Crown.

Because of Berowne's rank, Scotland Yard sends out Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who chooses Inspector Kate Miskin as his second. Dalgliesh had had occasion to meet Berowne not long before, when the Minister had called him in to show him an anonymous letter suggesting that Berowne was responsible for the deaths of one or more women.

It is a complex web that Dalgliesh and Miskin enter, with the usual complaints from high up to answer and the murders to solve, with skill as well as delicacy. There is a significant role for young Darren to play, as his observational skills are perhaps too good to overlook. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Indeholder "Forord af forfatteren", "Første del. En baronets død", "Anden del. Nærmeste pårørende", "Tredie del. ... bistå politiet", "Fjerde del. Steder og mennesker", "Femte del. Rhesus positiv", "Sjette del. Dødelige konsekvenser", "Syvende del. Efterspil".

??? ( )
  bnielsen | Sep 7, 2020 |
Suspense and thrills. ( )
  k_goetz | May 2, 2020 |
St. Matthew's Church in Paddington is not a particularly notable church. At least, not until two men are found murdered in the vestry. One, Harry Mack, is a tramp who had been accustomed to sleeping in the church doorway. The other, Sir Paul Berowne, is an MP who recently resigned his cabinet post. What could they have had in common, and who could have wanted to kill them?

The writing style of this mystery may have you thinking about the classic Queens of Crime, but the setting is modern (at least, modern to when the book was written, 1986), and the murders are satisfyingly gory without being excessive. Dalgliesh isn't quite a "gentleman sleuth", but he is a poet by hobby and is therefore a cut above your typical commander of Scotland Yard. Plenty of space is given, too, to Inspector Kate Miskin, one of few women in the police force and therefore facing extra challenges in doing her job (not only to do her job well, but to be taken seriously as she does that job well, and to balance her work and life in a way that won't have people thinking she isn't up to the job). Miskin's challenges still feel relevant in 2019.

This is the sort of book that deserves a good weekend or a few evenings' worth of reading. It's a bit heavy in terms of writing style, but by the end it became impossible to put down. I had been teetering on the edge of a 3- or 3.5-star review, but the ending was just so breathtaking that I had to go with 4 stars.

I read this out of series order -- it's the 7th book in the series -- but that's just how I roll. And enough information is provided about everyone's relationships with each other within the police force that I did not feel lost in any way. I'm looking forward to reading more about Dalgliesh and his colleagues, and to going back to the ones I read a while ago and have forgotten. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | Dec 25, 2019 |
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P. D. Jamesautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Capriolo, EttoreTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kattelus, KirstiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Some can gaze and not be sick,

But I could never learn the trick.

There's this to say for blood and breath,

They give a man a taste for death.

-- A. E. Housman
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To my daughters,

Clare and Jane

and in memory of their father,

Connor Bantry White
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The bodies were discovered at eight forty-five on the morning of Wednesday 18 September by Miss Emily Wharton, a sixty-five-year-old spinster of the parish of St. Matthew's in Paddington, London, and Darren Wilkes, aged ten, of no particular parish as far as he knew or cared.
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When the quiet Little Vestry of St. Matthew's Church becomes the blood-soaked scene of a double murder, Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh faces an intriguing conundrum: How did an upper-crust Minister come to lie, slit throat to slit throat, next to a neighborhood derelict of the lowest order? Challenged with the investigation of a crime that appears to have endless motives, Dalgliesh explores the sinister web spun around a half-burnt diary and a violet-eyed widow who is pregnant and full of malice--all the while hoping to fill the gap of logic that joined these two disparate men in bright red death. . . .

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