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Extended Audio Sample The Private Patient 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 (6,272 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: P. D. James Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9780739376928
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Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recuperating.

Two days later she was dead, the victim of murder.

To Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who with his team is called in to investigate the case, the mystery at first seems absolute. Few things about it make sense. Yet as the detectives begin probing the lives and backgrounds of those connected with the dead woman—the surgeon, members of the manor staff, close acquaintances—suspects multiply all too rapidly. New confusions arise, including strange historical overtones of madness and a lynching 350 years in the past. Then there is a second murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself confronted by issues even more challenging than innocence or guilt.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The traditional comforts of the British country house mystery—puzzling plot, attractive setting, brainy detective, interesting characters—spill from P. D. James’s latest novel, The Private Patient, like harvest bounty from a cornucopia.”

    New York Times

  • "Brilliant. . . . A jewel in [James's] crown. Pittsburg-Post Gazette

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  • No one is better than James at maintaining this tension between the cozy and the frightful. The Washington Post
  • [James is] a master. . . . Nothing is as it first appears. The Boston Globe 
  • [I]intricately plotted and suspenseful.... James' clear-eyed, often sardonic prose describes rooms and people exactly as she sees them. Providence Journal
  • Elegant . . . compelling. . . . Continues the James tradition. . . . She comfortably tackles timeless concerns. Chicago Tribune
  • The ghost of literature past haunts P.D. James' newest novel. . . . The novel's pointed descriptions, its gothic settings, and its theme exploring the insidious legacies of family and class violence suggest Charles Dickens may have rested a hand on James' shoulder while she wrote this terrific literary mystery. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • James is a wonderful writer. Chicago Sun-Times
  • James is in excellent form. . . . [She] offers her readers intelligence, wisdom, dry humor, knowledge both deep and wide-ranging, humanity, compassion, understanding and a wonderful way with words. . . . James is one of Britain's greatest living writers. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • “No one is better than James at maintaining this tension between the cozy and the frightful.”

    Washington Post

  • “[James is] a master…Nothing is as it first appears.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Brilliant…A jewel in [James’s] crown.”

    Pittsburg Post-Gazette

  • “Intricately plotted and suspenseful…James’ clear-eyed, often sardonic prose describes rooms and people exactly as she sees them.”

    Providence Journal

  • “Elegant…Compelling…Continues the James tradition…She comfortably tackles timeless concerns.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The ghost of literature past haunts P.D. James’ newest novel…The novel’s pointed descriptions, its gothic settings, and its theme exploring the insidious legacies of family and class violence suggest Charles Dickens may have rested a hand on James’ shoulder while she wrote this terrific literary mystery.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “James is in excellent form…[She] offers her readers intelligence, wisdom, dry humor, knowledge both deep and wide-ranging, humanity, compassion, understanding, and a wonderful way with words…James is one of Britain’s greatest living writers.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Selected for the December 2008 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evelyn | 2/13/2014

    " My first book of the year - a well written mystery. An Adam Dalgliesh mystery. good plot, good writing. A little slow in some parts, but if you like a "who dunnit", then read this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trina | 2/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed this mystery. Thrilling, interesting, dark in a good way. "

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

    " The grand dame of english mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caryn | 1/24/2014

    " She is one of my favorite British mystery writers. There is an ongoing character from the metro police in London. This murder takes place in the country at a private clinic where a patient is having surgery to remove a scar and winds up murdered. There are plenty of suspects and plenty of motives. It keeps you guessing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebekah | 1/23/2014

    " I think I probably need to go back and start at the beginning of the Adam Dalgliesh books to fully appreciate them, rather than hopping in at #14. But a decent mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 1/16/2014

    " Good mystery, but not as great as some of her other, earlier books (imho) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trawets | 1/14/2014

    " I've not yet read a P D James book I haven't enjoyed, and this one was no exception. Murder and mayhem in a clinic specialising in cosmetic surgery kept the pages turning. "

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

    " Adam Dalgliesh investigates the murder of journalist Rhoda Gradwyn at a private boutique cosmetic surgery hospital outside London. P.D. James is good comfort-reading for these dark recessionary times, or for when your cow has escaped from the pasture and you just can't stand looking for her anymore. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Bentzen | 12/23/2013

    " I loved reading the descriptions of the Manor and the English countryside. The story kept me guessing until I was 3/4 thru the book. Mystery readers will like P.D.James's books but you do have a goodly amount of description to get through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 12/5/2013

    " I'd actually give this book 3.5 stars. I love English country house mysteries. This wasn't quite as good as P.D. James' previous books, but I still enjoyed it. It seemed a little plodding in the middle, though and the ending was a little too pat. It's hard to believe the author is in her 80s! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pithee | 11/12/2013

    " Read by Rosalyn Landor, audio "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Roney | 9/27/2013

    " Good, solid mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Baldi | 9/22/2013

    " This was a very good book by PD James. She is always fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina Halavaka | 7/30/2013

    " My first PD James read, picked at random in a thrift shop. Liked it a lot, will certainly be reading more of AD and James' writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 christine | 12/5/2012

    " Not her best, but you must give P.D. James credit "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fran Wilkins | 11/25/2012

    " P.D. James is superb in developing plot and character. The ending was a disappointment, but her writing, her use of English, and her dedication to details keep this one a 4 star. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela long | 7/27/2012

    " I read 1oo pgs and finally just gave up with this book. I couldn't get into it. Sorry! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kikidee | 7/19/2012

    " Another highly readable book from my favorite mystery writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen | 4/7/2012

    " A woman is killed in her room after recovering from cosmetic surgery. She is an investigative reporter, so is her death related to a previous investigation? Adam has to find out, while balancing his upcoming marriage. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice Debattista | 2/2/2012

    " P.D. James really knows how to create multi-faceted characters... I think that's what kept me reading this book. The story line is credible and yet it retains that air of mystery, thanks to some great plot twists. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 7/27/2011

    " Although somewhat predictable and implausable at times, overall, this novel does not disappoint. James remains a master storyteller and true artist of English prose. I hope this is not the last we see of Adam Dagliesh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 5/28/2011

    " James roams all over the place with this traditional English murder mystery--too much like Agatha Christie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 5/26/2011

    " Wonderful, as always, thoughtful, extremely literate entertainment, and if her protagonists are a little too good to be true, that's the way of entertainment. I hope she writes forever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 5/10/2011

    " I am going to start reading P.D.James. Good read!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/10/2011

    " Great old-school mystery, though I expected more from the ending. Still, would like to read more of her stuff! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 5/2/2011

    " Never really got into this story. I still wasn't totally clear on all the different characters even at the end of the book. Good potential vocabulary builder though; ran across just short of a dozen words that were new to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 4/29/2011

    " I thought this was a medical mystery but it turned out to be a murder mystery. It was a fast paced book and it kept the reader involved in the story. I loved this book and will have to get more of his. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ice | 4/27/2011

    " As good a mystery as normal with Mr Dagleish, twists and turns , you are there at a solution and then miles away. "

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

    " Formulaic PD James. I haven't read a Dalgliesgh mystery for a while and I had forgotten how gritty they can be...I think I'm done with this series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/17/2011

    " Breathes there a man with soul so dead
    That never to himself has said...

    Perfect description of the first murder victim, and since it was hard to care about the victim,
    it was pretty easy to distance oneself from the story as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hasan | 4/13/2011

    " A well written story perhaps part of a series by P. D. James. Only problem was that police too smart or too lucky. They probably would have caught me if I was in this story. Not that I ever did anything wrong of course. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 4/7/2011

    " Could this be the last we hear of Adam Dalgliesh? I pray PD James has another one in her. I'll miss this series terribly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 3/20/2011

    " This is the second P.D. James novel I have read. I liked it. She does seem to have a tendency to write endings that are a little bit confusing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 3/12/2011

    " Good mystery fix. Hadn't really read anything like this since the Dragon Tattoo books. "

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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

Rosalyn Landor has won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the Audie Award. She has worked as an actor since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles in film, theater, and audio productions, as well as in various miniseries on all the major television networks and in such productions as Masterpiece Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes and Rumpole of the Bailey.