A Certain Justice - P.D. James, A ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Certain Justice - P.D. James, A

A Flash Review: Dark Psyches and Philosophical Weight

A Certain Justice – P.D. James, A

There can be no doubt that James gets better with age.

Justice is James' tenth Adam Dalgliesh story, and it would make a convincing screenplay in the serial killer genre: the narrative is seamless, woven with supreme pacing, and James’ villain is the darkest antagonist I’ve encountered in recent years. But despite the precisely punctuated action, and the dread which James evokes without resorting to cheap scares, the greatest achievement of this book is on another plane altogether.

James adeptly weaves philosophical and theological foundations into her story, so that when the final pages turn, not only does the jaw drop—the mind jumps as well. Is life really this way? James makes a disconcertingly bittersweet observation about earthly justice that will leave you rereading the book’s title, experimentally varying your inflection.

On the character level, while James continues to explore the psychology of an aging Dalgliesh, she also focuses on the interplay of his supporting cast, expertly zooming in for close-ups that make the later novels tantalizing.


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Oneway said...

I've been fiendin for some good fiction; I'll check out P.D.

Ariel said...

You should probably start with the first Adam Dalgliesh book, Cover Her Face. James' stuff gets progressively better, but the first stories are still exceptional. The chronology adds a lot.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife