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Extended Audio Sample Devices and Desires Audiobook, by P. D. James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.71 out of 53.71 out of 53.71 out of 53.71 out of 53.71 out of 5 3.71 (34 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: P. D. James Narrator: Penelope Dellaporta Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781415926161
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Featuring the famous Commander Adam Dalgliesh, Devices and Desires is a thrilling and insightfully crafted novel of fallible people caught in a net of secrets, ambitions, and schemes on a lonely stretch of Norfolk coastline.

Commander Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard has just published a new book of poems and has taken a brief respite from publicity on the remote Larksoken headland on the Norfolk coast in a converted windmill left to him by his aunt. But he cannot so easily escape murder. A psychotic strangler of young women is at large in Norfolk, and getting nearer to Larksoken with every killing. And when Dalgliesh discovers the murdered body of the Acting Administrative Officer on the beach, he finds himself caught up in the passions and dangerous secrets of the headland community and in one of the most baffling murder cases of his career.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Vintage P.D. James. . . . Devotees of Britain’s Queen of Crime will be enthralled . . . showcasing lyrical prose abounding with vivid imagery, suberbly delineated characters, and a labyrinthine puzzle.... It’s impossible to resist this haunting, dark tale. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • We’re glued to P.D. James’s beautifully spun whodunit.... The master’s shivering touch is intact. Glamour
  • A cleverly crafted book that readers may very well stay up all night to finish.... She exposes the murderously repressed rage beneath the clam surface of typical middle-class Britishers. Boston Herald
  • The greatest living mystery writer ... weaves a dazzling array of psychological profiles into a gently ironic examination of human life and the ‘relative value’ we ascribe to it. People
  • James at her best ... a superb tale of murder. Booklist
  • Devices and Desires may be her best yet.... The plot is superb, with the larger moral issues of a nearby nuclear power station and the thickly interwoven lives of characters lending measured gravity to the sensational murder story. And the prose style is a dream. The Seattle Times
  • Un-put-downable.... P.D. James is never content with just a formulaic detective story. She takes the whodunit to deeper levels. New Woman
  • James is one of Britain’s best writers in the genre.... Devices and Desires brings the classic whodunit as far as it can go. The Detroit News
  • The best book she’s written. It has literary merit that detective works seldom attempt ... everything fits beautifully. The Sacramento Bee
  • No other mystery writer–and few writers period–offers such a rich bounty.... Devices and Desires is superb. It is what good writing–and reading–is all about. James has used all her powers to produce her best work yet. Her fans–old and new–will be overjoyed. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • James once again gives us a convincing portrait of contemporary society, while at the same time she scrupulously observes–and smartly updates and complicates–all the mystery genre conventions. San Diego Magazine
  • Demonstrates just how well James commands the English language.... The complex plot unfolds into the usual Jamesian tangle of human relationships and subplots. The story takes shape as James unwraps each nuance of personality, each intricate piece of the puzzle. Library Journal
  • I have often thought of mysteries as the sorbets of literature, something light and tangy to clear the palate between more serious courses. The books of P.D. James, however are more substantial fare, fulfilling as well as delicious, and Devices and Desires is no exception. The Washington Post Book World
  • A masterful writer.... Devices and Desires seems to be that highly prized work–a terrific tale suspense and detection that also delivers the satisfaction of a mainstream novel. The Wall Street Journal
  • Brilliant ... wonderful. P.D. James does it again. USA Today
  • Her stories are so engrossing that it is difficult to read slowly enough to pay attention to the remarkable writing. But in Devices and Desires, she is so at the top of her form that to rush though would itself be a crime. The Kansas City Star
  • Undiluted pleasure. Newsday
  • Taut.... Absorbing.... Better than her best. The New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 2/18/2014

    " A classic P.D. James mystery. As always hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare | 2/14/2014

    " I would recommend reading the Adam Dalgliesh novels in the right order but for me this is the most successful and mature of the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 2/6/2014

    " Densely plotted book with many red herrings. P.D. James writes literate detective novels. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jjanovyak | 2/6/2014

    " So sad to have to stop partway through this book. So much to like in it, but this one was just too creepy for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 2/3/2014

    " Yet another entertaining Adam Dalgliesh mystery! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/22/2014

    " I read this years ago - one of the first British mystery (not including Agatha Christie) writers who hooked me on their less blood/more plot style of writing mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Consuela | 1/12/2014

    " I actually got this autographed by PD James herself at a book signing. But I later decided not to keep it in my library and gave it away. It was rather gruesome and frightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginger | 1/5/2014

    " As I reread Devices and Desires, I am reminded how much I love PD James and her ability to tell a well crafted mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 12/16/2013

    " A good mystery, well-developed characters and lots of interesting plotting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becca | 11/20/2013

    " Pd James is an excellent and even poetic writer. While the mysteries are so so the way she tells a story is delightful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roberta Marro | 11/18/2013

    " I like Adam Dalgleish on Masterpiece Theatre, so I decided to read some of the books. I thought this was one of the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libby | 10/24/2013

    " I've only read a few P.D. James books and always come away amazed at her ability to create characters and to delve into the dark side that lurks in all of us. The only reason I didn't give this five stars is because of the rather auxiliary role played by Dalgliesh in solving the crime. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jemera Rone | 10/7/2013

    " Good mystery with a background featuring a controcersial nuclear power plant in small-town UK. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Sue | 10/7/2013

    " One if the few series novels I have read where the detective didn't take center stage. Interesting. Except for having to look up British vocabulary it read fast for a big book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil | 8/18/2013

    " I thought this is possibly her best. I found that I had to read in 'sips' so that I could savor the story and the setting "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edmund | 6/16/2013

    " Great book to read on a vacation. Although it isn't my favorite P.D. James work, it was taut, well written, and delved into characters' inner lives more deeply than is typical in the genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aleisha Z Coleman | 10/1/2012

    " again, loved it. formulaic, with great characters and details, loving the predictability but not necessarily knowing the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 8/9/2012

    " Often after reading the initital chapters that set up a mystery, I race through to the end to find out who-done-it. With this book I enjoyed reading the whole book as various characters were developed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 4/15/2012

    " Not my favorite P.D. James: James seems to have been channeling her poet protagonist and writing poetry, rather than spinning a well-crafted tale. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ElaineY | 10/1/2011

    " The image of the blond killer walking along the dark, lonely road haunted me for years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 8/29/2011

    " You cannot go wrong with P.D. James. I liked this book but thought James strayed a little more than usual through some of the thoughtful character development and lumped a lot of insights into the last 10 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 8/21/2011

    " Spies, serial killers and abused children-P. D. James really brings it in this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Layne | 7/16/2011

    " This is not my favorite Dalgliesh--I was disappointed with the conclusion. I did enjoy the writing, as usual with James. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason Pym | 5/2/2011

    " Very enjoyable up to page 400 or so, then sprints to a disappointing and strained end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/24/2011

    " Not one of her best, but intriguing considering the fact that the back story is about a nuclear power plant and they are much in the news these days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 12/16/2010

    " I'm a big fan of the very literate P.D. James.
    This is an Adam Dalgliesh mystery set in the Norfolk headlands. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roberta | 11/13/2010

    " I like Adam Dalgleish on Masterpiece Theatre, so I decided to read some of the books. I thought this was one of the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 9/14/2010

    " Reader gets "sucked in" to the many complex characters. British detective Adam Dalgleish is such an interesting fellow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sasa | 9/13/2010

    " A murder mystery that isn't too murder mystery-ish. I mean to say, it has good characters too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naomi | 9/4/2010

    " To be honest, I read this book 6 months ago and am just getting to my review..I can't remember much about the book and I only gave it 3 stars..In my world, that means that I liked it, but not enough to retain it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 7/29/2010

    " I'm so glad I have begun reading these, they are well written, not graphic, mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peg | 7/28/2010

    " I am on a kick of reading P.D. James mysteries. "P.D.James brings forth her masterful and literary talents once again, presenting another ingenious tale of murder." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 6/9/2010

    " Haven't read a P.D. James' book since I was a kid and at that time, I couldn't get into it. Too young I guess. Stephen King was more my style back then. Over the years, I've really grown to love English-style mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jens | 5/29/2010

    " P.D. James is a good writer. The writing was good, if uneven at odd spots. But the plot and characters didn't grab me. Some of the plot devices were a bit forced. She just seems a bit tired. As is the hero. "

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About the Author

P. D. James (1920–2014), English crime writer, was the author of numerous detective novels, many of which were New York Times bestsellers. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British civil service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of the Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was named Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991.

About the Narrator

Penelope Dellaporta is a published narrator. Some of her published credits include Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary and Edith Wharton’s The House Of Mirth.