Devices and Desires

If you're like me, you probably dump a book as soon as you see it's by a lady, simply because they tend to focus more on emotions -- and rarely do they write as well as their male counterparts when doing so in predominantly men-only genres.

Exceptions do exist however -- Patricia Cornwell, Linda Fairstein, and as I discovered this week, P.D. James do tend to hold their own.

I picked up Devices and Desires two days ago at my school library and found it very hard to put down -- from the first page till the last, Miss James kept me guessing, and the funny thing was that I guessed wrong all the way.

The book features her cult favorite Adam Dalgliesh unwittingly involved in a serial killer case -- the man who is called The Whistler.

From Publishers Weekly:

James ( A Taste for Death ) sets her 11th novel on Larksoken, a remote windswept headland in Norfolk, where the presence of a huge nuclear energy plant serves as a metaphor for the power of the past to rule over her characters. Commander Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard, in Larsoken to settle an estate left him at the death of a relative, is drawn into the investigation of a serial killer, the Whistler.

Dalgliesh's neighbors include the power station's director, Alex Mair; his elegant sister Alice, a cookbook author; acting administrator--and Alex's former lover -- Hilary Robarts; and anti-nuclear activist Neil Pascoe. The next signature killing , of the widely disliked Robarts, turns out to have occurred hours after a young man who firmly establishes his identity as the Whistler commits suicide.

The question of who murdered Robarts, then, centers around motive. This intricate, layered mystery may be read as parable: we can escape the consequences of our choices, political and personal, no more than we can shed our private histories. This is dark James, plotted with a slight unevenness but utterly faithful to her deeply and sympathetically plumbed characters.

7 comments:

I haven't read any of PD James' Books - I thought this was a man!

I am not into crime novels... I tried to read a Patricia Cornwell book once and I couldn't get past the 3rd chapter.

Maybe I'll pick up one of this lady's books from the library.

5:50 AM  

Awww -- crimes and their solutions fascinate me.
What kind of books do you read Buki?

4:01 PM  

Crime isn't so bad, I was just generalising... I don't know if Mary Higgins Clark will be classified under crime, James Patterson is good.

I like all sorts including -

Suspense - Robert Ludlum and co.

Chick Lit - when I want to have an easy read.

And I am finding more and more books as I read... e.g. Dean Koontz.

4:34 AM  

WOW !!

It has been long since i read a crime novel. not much of an avid reader within this genre though. Ever since i was done with most of the Sherlock Holmes and James Hadley Chase (corny huh?), i kind of slacked but this blog might just rev me up again. Interesting stuff!

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1:25 AM  

I haven't read any PD James either but I love crime thrillers! Have you read any james patterson, he's my favourite crime thriller writer of all time. If you have, how would you say PD James compares?

2:27 AM  

I haven't read any James Patterson yet. I acually had to look him up in Wikipedia -- and it turns out the guy I know is Richard North Patterson.

So far, Devices and Desires has been my only PD James, but I was sufficiently impressed to put her up here.

9:39 AM  

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