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Extended Audio Sample Original Sin Audiobook, by P. D. James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,183 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: January 2013 ISBN: 9780804127691
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Adam Dalgliesh takes on a baffling murder in the rarefied world of London book publishing in this masterful mystery.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm’s fortunes. Etienne was clearly a man with enemies—a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues, one of whom apparently killed herself a short time earlier. Yet Etienne’s death, which occurred under bizarre circumstances, is for Dalgliesh only the beginning of the mystery, as he desperately pursues the search for a killer prepared to strike and strike again.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “James is writing in full mastery of her craft.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Exquisitely plotted, crammed with excellent characters and Dickensian in its passion for detail and setting.”

    Ottawa Citizen

  • Complex and compelling.... James is writing in full mastery of her craft. The New York Times Book Review“One of James's best novels.... James transcends literary classification.
  • “Brilliant.”

    Globe and Mail

  • “One of James’ best novels.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “One of her most enjoyable and vigorous novels.”

    Plain Dealer

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 2/20/2014

    " This is the James book that I came closest to disliking. It really is okay. The reason why is because the ending does not make sense; it isn't fully believable in the terms of one character, a character that James, for once, did not do a good job on. If you have never read P. D. James before, don't start with this one. Start with The Murder Room or A Certain Justice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison Stuart | 2/19/2014

    " Not one of my favourite P.D.James. I suppose as a writer myself, the idea of murder in a publishing house appealed but the denouement when it came was so subtle and not a little too contrived. None of the characters had much to like about them and there was a lot of "head hopping" (different characters points of view within one scene) that gets quite tedious. Characters were introduced and then never referred to again. As for the police, I always find Dalgleish a little pompous and sanctimonious and I am not sure Daniel Aaron's final actions were consistent with his character. Still, she is a master of her craft and they are always enjoyable reads. I give her full marks for not telegraphing the murderer. I was suitably surprised! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivemylove | 2/15/2014

    " Very good. Probably one of the least complex PD James but still layered with excellent characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca Saxon | 2/15/2014

    " I read this mystery over a long time which I'm sure lessened my desire to solve the mystery, yet I still enjoyed the story. I really liked the setting: a small publishing house. This was my first time reading James and I'd definitely read her books again, she's a good writer with great characterization. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RunRachelRun | 2/6/2014

    " Lovely! How could I not love this book? Mystery, London, publishing milieu, the Thames as a recurring character. Wonderful. Smart as a whip. "

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

    " I identified with these characters - not least because they worked in publishing - so I liked this best of the Dalgliesh mysteries I've read so far, but the modern British context isn't as interesting to me. I guess I like the bonus education that comes with reading historical fiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hazel | 1/31/2014

    " Not one of her best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 1/20/2014

    " The most sci-fi of the James canon, this is is the one in which the human race has become infertile. It's fine, but for me just doesn't have the oomph of her mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annette Meier | 1/18/2014

    " Great mystery, but almost too much background detail leading up to the pertinent clues and suspects. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 1/18/2014

    " Competent, literate mystery: murder at the Peverell Press "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judith Winters | 1/18/2014

    " Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing "Original Sin" on PBS Masterpiece Mystery Theatre so I thought it might be a waste of time to read the book. Was I in for a surprise? Just when I thought I remembered who was the guilty person, PD James would send me down another trail until the end when all loose ends were tied up in the story and the ending became known. PD James does that again and again in her mysteries and are well worth the lengthy reads. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 1/15/2014

    " I read this type of book compulsively but that doesn't mean that it is "life changing". I enjoyed the complexity of the plot; not so much the character development. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/14/2014

    " A classic detective story that takes place in London. Very good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/13/2014

    " James is the best when it comes to murder, and this is a classic. Sadly only a few people get axed, but the suspense is excellent. "

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

    " Wonderfully gripping until the end which is a true cop-out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Z Coonen | 12/18/2013

    " Good story but soooo long because of excessive descriptions (such as what a customer looked like including clothes although the customer occupied one paragraph in the entire novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry Rice | 12/1/2013

    " Unexpected plot twists, surprise ending. Excellent! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clyde | 11/28/2013

    " A very good crime mystery, even if some if the characters and locations were a bit hard to believe in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Brucato | 11/23/2013

    " I liked this PD James quite a bit--great characters, although I figured out the killer and that is unusual "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare | 11/20/2013

    " Very well done on Audio. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison Keffer | 11/17/2013

    " I always enjoy PD James. She writes well and has an exceptional grasp of English. This novel was an interesting foray into a area of history she doesn't write about frequently. If you enjoy a complex, well written murder mystery you will always enjoy reading PD James. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 11/11/2013

    " This book was excellent! I've been reading P.D. James' books in the order that she wrote them, and her writing and plotting move to another level with this book. The last part of the book is beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 11/7/2013

    " A mystery. I don't remember any more about it. I like James. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 11/6/2013

    " Did not finish this pondering murder mystery after devoting 2 weeks to it. Good writing, but I think I'm a victim of modern day lack of attention span. Actually, I just don't like mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 9/30/2013

    " I love P.D.James's novels - so well crafted. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 9/20/2013

    " Solid British murder/mystery from a master of the genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gaelyn | 9/5/2013

    " Wonderfully gripping until the end which is a true cop-out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 8/27/2013

    " Another great one. This time I almost guessed it! Wow. Also, nice and long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stew Wakeman | 8/11/2013

    " A lot of repressed British characters. Hard to keep track of all the players. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 8/9/2013

    " A classic English murder mystery. Very English, complete with lavish descriptions of London, gardens, buildings, etc. Interesting characters, with the "usual" unexpected story twist at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joy | 7/11/2013

    " There were very interesting parts interspersed w/ some boring parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/21/2013

    " Fascinating and well-written but sometimes too much detail. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hazel | 5/24/2013

    " Not one of her best. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Siobhan | 5/17/2013

    " Not really my kind of book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjorie | 4/7/2013

    " This one was so slow, plodding. Alot of character description. The plot, the who done it got pushed off to the end. Nearly all the clues came together near the end. 75% covered all the different characters being clueless as to who, what did the deeds. Suspense was weak. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 3/24/2013

    " I have liked all of the mysteries by P. D. James that I've read and this one I thought was one of her best. The characters are complex and the central mystery intriguing. The ending was unexpected and ironic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kel | 3/15/2013

    " I like James' writing--it is very rich and detailed. This story was very bittersweet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 2/19/2013

    " I have liked all of the mysteries by P. D. James that I've read and this one I thought was one of her best. The characters are complex and the central mystery intriguing. The ending was unexpected and ironic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Guest-Scott | 2/1/2013

    " It has been years, but Original Sin still stands out in my memory as the best mystery I have ever read. Unlike some genre fiction, it is wonderful literature as well as "mysterious". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 12/20/2012

    " My first rendezvous with P.D. James. I wasn't disappointed. It's a nice leisurely read with a TON of character development. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 12/10/2012

    " This is the 6th PD James I have read. I thought it moved a little slowly but I really enjoyed the ending so, would recommend. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kevin Owens | 9/29/2012

    " Terrible. Just awful. I thought I liked PD James but this was barley readable. About once every 80 pages there'd be a nice passage but otherwise just boring with too strange an ending that came out of nowhere. Bleh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 6/3/2012

    " James doesn't write just mystery stories. She elevates the genre to literary novel. She's great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjorie | 4/25/2012

    " This one was so slow, plodding. Alot of character description. The plot, the who done it got pushed off to the end. Nearly all the clues came together near the end. 75% covered all the different characters being clueless as to who, what did the deeds. Suspense was weak. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 10/15/2011

    " Another good PD James - quite a decent twist I didn't expect. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Biddy | 5/27/2011

    " Too many characters and a lot of superfluous padding. Tried to get into it but it didn't engage me. Had to check back for names and links but all the while I just wanted to skip to the end and get it over with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clyde | 4/19/2011

    " A very good crime mystery, even if some if the characters and locations were a bit hard to believe in. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjorie | 4/19/2011

    " This one was so slow, plodding. Alot of character description. The plot, the who done it got pushed off to the end. Nearly all the clues came together near the end. 75% covered all the different characters being clueless as to who, what did the deeds. Suspense was weak. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jolie | 3/14/2011

    " This is the best so far for James. lot's of suspects. Ending is a blow away. Dalgliesh is right up there with Pendergast. As a fan of James, you will love this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/13/2011

    " James doesn't write just mystery stories. She elevates the genre to literary novel. She's great. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julie | 1/5/2011

    " just started this book...not sure what to think yet. Well, gave up on this book in that I just could not get into it. Moved on to next book.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joy | 12/13/2010

    " There were very interesting parts interspersed w/ some boring parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 11/30/2010

    " I love P.D.James's novels - so well crafted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saugat | 11/22/2010

    " Wonderful plot. I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roberta | 11/13/2010

    " This one seemed laden with extraneous details and not much excitement. Her character development was very thorough, as usual. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Warren | 10/24/2010

    " I love PD James and her rich--rich as plum cake--descriptions of London, the river, her imagined publishing house in its lush Venetian-like setting. I did wonder if the Nazi part of the plot didn't need more of a setup, but it worked. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 9/25/2010

    " I just don't like James much. What can I say? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz | 9/22/2010

    " Full of gruesome deaths and unsympathetic characters. The worst P.D. James book I've read so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivemylove | 9/8/2010

    " Very good. Probably one of the least complex PD James but still layered with excellent characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Naomi | 7/3/2010

    " This book was probably one of my favorite by PD James...Jame writing can sometimes drag on, but this one was constant action and getting to know very quirky characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Espen | 6/8/2010

    " Murder at a publishing house. As usual, PD James builds up an interesting environment - but her murderers and endings leave a little to be desired. "

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About the Author
P. D. James is the author of 17 previous books, most of which have been filmed for television. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honours, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she celebrated her 80th birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
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.