Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James


MysteryDeath in holy orders Death in Holy OrdersP. D. James; Ballantine Books 2002WorldCatRonald Treeves is found dead on the eastern beach of England near the theological college where he was training for Anglican priesthood. His father requests that someone from Scotland Yard visit St. Anselm’s. He is unsure whether his son’s death was accidental or if there is something sinister behind it. Inspector Adam Dalgliesh was going on vacation anyhow. He had spent a few summers at St. Anselm’s as a young teenager. He offered to go, visit old friends, and check into the young Treeves’ death.

St. Anselm’s is a small school that had been set up through a wealthy spinster’s donation in the 1900’s. The donation included priceless artwork that adorns the sanctuary of the church. The college is now expensive to run and does not allow more than 20 or so students at any time. If the Church decides to close the college, the property and wealth of the college reverts to the family. If there are no surviving family members meeting specific requirements stipulated in the will, then the property and wealth goes to the priests in residence when the college closes. It does not go to the Church.

While Dalgliesh is visiting, the Archbishop arrives. The Archbishop is trying to close the school, but only after diverting as much of its wealth as possible to the Church before closure. The night before he is to leave St. Anselm’s, he is murdered in the sanctuary. His body is found under the defaced artwork. Dalgliesh now has a murder to solve. He still believes Treeves’ death and one resident’s natural death may somehow be linked to this one. Yet who committed the murder? The prominent suspects are the priests themselves. Dalgliesh has a twisted case of religion, priceless art, and family inheritance to unravel before the murderer can be apprehended.

Again P.D. James has put together an ingenious plot. The reader knows immediately that the “natural death” mentioned above is murder. Yet other than that, we are left with a lot of clues that do not seem to fit. But of course, she weaves them together. As the story is uncovered it finally points to the culprit. But Dalgliesh still needs to have the proof. This is also an essential element to this story as well as to the ongoing (series novel to novel) tale of Dalgliesh himself.

Notice: Graphic violence

More books by P.D. James
Adam Dalgliesh series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

Link to Amazon.comLink to BetterWorld Books

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *