Monday, August 5, 2013

It’s a lending library. It’s a book swap.

It’s getting through the Adam Dalgliesh series on the cheap!

We’re very proud of ourselves, Rose Mary and I. We’ve just devised a fiendishly clever way to read all the P. D. James books featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Adam Dalgliesh without smashing our piggy banks. We got hooked via The Murder Room, a deluxe hardcover gift from her uncle. But it was No.12 in the series. So we dropped back 40 yards and hit Amazon’s used book venders.
Here’s the plan: I ordered Book One (hereinafter referred to as “AD #1”) from the penny rack and she sent for AD #2. After our swap on Sunday, I ordered AD #3; she did the same with AD #4. Okay, so we both end up with half a set, but we get to read them all. Of course, we may not find them all for 1 cent (plus 3.99 postage) but it will always be less than new or ebook. And we have this dandy have-to excuse to get together at least every three weeks. Otherwise we may let things slide for months. So it’s win-win with enough coffee and chatter to keep me wired for hours.

AD #1, Cover Her Face, takes place in a Downton Abbey-ish English country house. Sally Jupp, a maid charitably hired from a home for unwed mothers, is a sly and sensuous young woman with a secret. But since she’s discovered early on dead in her bed with dark bruises marring her lily-white throat, we’re the rest of the book ferreting out said secret.
There are marvelous twists and turns and no shortage of suspects. Great drollery and deduction by AD, of course. Brit-lit at its best. But one thing puzzled me. AD #1 seems set in the aftermath of WWII, while AD #12 is well into the WiFi age. And AD hasn’t aged a bit. No matter. A good mystery is always worth the read.
Bio from her B&N page: Phyllis Dorothy James, best known as P.D. James, was born on August 3, 1920, in Oxford, England. She began working as a civil servant at age 16 through marriage and motherhood, and began writing mystery novels in her late 30s. By the time she retired to write full-time, she had become famous as the creator of fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh as well as other works.

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