That being said, although I enjoyed The Private Patient and it kept me turning the pages, I'm a bit ambivalent about it.
First let me set the stage for you--this synopsis from amazon.com:
In James's stellar 14th Adam Dalgliesh mystery (after 2006's The Lighthouse), the charismatic police commander knows the case of Rhoda Gradwyn, a 47-year-old journalist murdered soon after undergoing the removal of an old disfiguring scar at a private plastic surgery clinic in Dorset, may be his last; James's readers will fervently hope it isn't. Dalgliesh probes the convoluted tangle of motives and hidden desires that swirl around the clinic, Cheverell Manor, and its grimly fascinating suspects in the death of Gradwyn, herself a stalker of minds driven by her lifelong passion for rooting out the truth people would prefer left unknown and then selling it for money.My thoughts:
First of all, it's a bit disconcerting that Dalgleish doesn't show up until we're well into the book. This has been true of the two or three other Dalgleish mysteries I've read as well. Since he's my favorite character, I'd like for him to be involved earlier on. Maybe that's just me?
Also, I can't claim to be a conoisseur of mysteries, despite the fact that a few years ago I went on an avid Agatha Christie spree. But I personally enjoy a mystery where I'm really shocked and surprised by who the murderer is, when finally revealed.
That doesn't happen in this book--at least not for me.
Another thing. I had a hard time caring about any of the characters besides Dalgleish and his assistants, Kate and Benton. Most of the characters lacked anything that would draw me to them or make me care about them, including the murder victims.
So why did I keep reading, and actually find the book enjoyable?
Well, I like James' writing style. I DID want to find out who the murderer was. And yes, I really like Adam Dalgleish. He is a character who is three-dimensional...a poet, a detective, a handsome man, an enigma. Dalgleish is just very appealing.
I would recommend this book to mystery lovers. You may thoroughly enjoy it, and not be bothered by the few things that somewhat bothered me.
That's all despite the fact that when I reached the end of the book, it was oddly anti-climactic. Not a "Wow, that was a great book!" More like an, "Oh...OK."
I'm participating today in Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Click on the icon for more info!