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Extended Audio Sample The Skull beneath the Skin Audiobook, by P. D. James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.23 out of 53.23 out of 53.23 out of 53.23 out of 53.23 out of 5 3.23 (43 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: P. D. James Narrator: Penelope Dellaporta Publisher: Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Cordelia Gray Mysteries Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9781415961544
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Private detective Cordelia Gray is invited to the sunlit island of Courcy to protect the vainly beautiful actress Clarissa Lisle from veiled threats on her life. Within the rose red walls of a fairy-tale castle, she finds the stage is set for death.

“Richly intricate and literate,” James’ second Cordelia Gray mystery “shows James at the height of her storytelling powers” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Intense mystery including an eccentric with a private jewel box of a theater and a fading actress whose comeback is booby-trapped.

Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 2/20/2014

    " I would give this book 3 1/2 stars. P.D. James is an excellent writer, but because she is so intent on details, this book is a slow read. She has an extensive vocabulary and uses words not usually used in everyday language. I enjoyed the book, but I especially enjoyed the last fifty pages when things played out. I also liked her detective but found her rather tentative in places. Much of this book reminded me of Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, which detracted from the originality of the plot. I recommend this book unless details are not your forte, then it might be difficult to get into. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Regina | 2/17/2014

    " Still a good mystery but a bit bogged down by its length. Disappointing that it seems to be the second and final book of the series for the Cordelia Gray character. She was an interesting heroine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 2/9/2014

    " It has been awhile since I read P.D.James and I had forgotten how much depth there is in her characters. The mystery almost seems secondary, that said, this is a classic locked room, castle on a small island mystery with few likable personalities and a story that feels dated even beyond its 1978 setting. Not a bad listen 452 pages 3 stars, 13 hours. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rheba Smith | 2/7/2014

    " This was the first of the Cordelia Gray series I've read by PD James (even though it's the second in the series). I didn't like it nearly as well as Inspector Daglish. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jocelyn | 2/1/2014

    " If I could I'd give this one a 2 1/2. It was just a little too weird. House party on island with limited amount of suspects, all of whom had a good motive for doing in the victim. The first Cordelia Gray book was much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 1/16/2014

    " I'm obviously on a P. D. James kick! This one is based on a young investigator instead of Adam Dalgliesh. Quite young with little experience, Cordelia plays a much less significant role than Adam would have, but a good crime story. All characters are on the island, and one of them is guilty, of course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 12/5/2013

    " It wasn't her best, and I was slightly dissatisfied w/the outcome, but I don't think there's a way to give it 3 1/2 stars, and it was better than a 3, as all of her books are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 11/29/2013

    " Did not see the ending on this one coming ! I love that ! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Manuela | 9/22/2013

    " Credo di averlo dimenticato mezz'ora dopo averlo finito. Decisamente lo stile di quest'autrice non mi piace e credo che questa sia stata la mia prima ed ultima esperienza con lei. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 8/26/2013

    " Such rich character development. Beautiful descriptive writing. And a good mystery, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 8/7/2013

    " This read like an early, inexperienced P. D. James. It was contrived, in my opinion. Not my fav but good. I bought it at a resale shop in London on the way to see "London Road." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria | 7/14/2013

    " A good read, no matter how many times you come back to it! PDJ is a skilled writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Garden Girl | 11/22/2012

    " Love Cordelia Grey and P D James. Very interesting and intriguing book with well-rounded characters. PD James writes so well and entertainingly. Highly recommended for mystery lovers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 11/12/2012

    " second Cordelia Gray book. Better than the first. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 10/2/2012

    " Why is it so hard to find a good American detective series? This author is British, and will make you feel SMART. I love P.D. James mysteries. I've read them all, so take this review as representative of an entire body of work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ina Nacario | 9/23/2012

    " 1st P.D James novel that I read. This novel got me hooked on the author. The plot twist in the later part where the killer was revealed, really came unexpected. One of my favorite books! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori | 5/21/2012

    " the second and last one in this series, it wasn't very good "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie | 5/20/2012

    " Although this book has all the elements of a mystery that I would really like, it failed to engage my interest. I don't know whether it was Cordelia or something else but I had to force myself to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 1/7/2012

    " James writes like Agatha Christie joined forces with Wes Craven--AND she's an 80-something British Dame. She's really the only conventional mystery writer I like, and I've read most of her books. This is my favorite. I don't think I've ever read any other mystery twice, but I did this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marguerite Czajka | 11/21/2011

    " I wavered between giving this 2 or 3 stars. It wasn't bad, though the characters were each a completely different type and didn't seem to have much reason for being together. The pace slowed down a lot near the end, and the ending was somewhat anti-climatic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 8/2/2011

    " I loved it. P.D. James is my favorite mystery writer by far. I always get about 100 pages from the end and I just can't stop reading. She makes you feel like you're figuring out who done it, by slowly revealing one character's motive. But then it is another character who did it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Starfish | 7/27/2011

    " Not the book you want to be reading when trying not to think about death; otherwise very good. Poor Cordelia doesn't seem to have much luck with cases, does she? Still, despite it all an upbeat ending -- I suppose its lucky she doesn't have to worry about prosecuting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joy | 5/4/2011

    " A bit too gothic for my tastes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy P | 2/28/2011

    " Cordelia Gray's inherited detective agency is mostly finding stray pets until she is hired as bodyguard to a waning actress on a trip to a private island. It's obvious what's going to happen ... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue T | 2/4/2011

    " I really wanted to like this book. I'm a fan of James' Adam Dalgleish series and had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately I didn't like either the protagonist or the murder victim and that makes it impossible for me to give the book more than two stars. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Manuela | 11/25/2010

    " Credo di averlo dimenticato mezz'ora dopo averlo finito. Decisamente lo stile di quest'autrice non mi piace e credo che questa sia stata la mia prima ed ultima esperienza con lei. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rheba | 11/22/2010

    " This was the first of the Cordelia Gray series I've read by PD James (even though it's the second in the series). I didn't like it nearly as well as Inspector Daglish. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marilyn Green | 11/4/2010

    " Just finished this today. I had to grab the second Cordelia Gray novel after loving the first one. Cannot say enough about PD James. She's the bomb. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 9/29/2010

    " A more complex mystery than the earlier Cordelia Gray novel, but I liked the story of the other one better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jazzy | 8/31/2010

    " didnt love the vulnerable cordelia grey, loved the settings though and the way the characters contrasted from one another. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Siobhan | 8/23/2010

    " intelligent mystery, flawed characters. She's terrific. "

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

    " Did not see the ending on this one coming ! I love that ! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raymond | 5/29/2010

    " Nicely plotted with an especially detailed portrait of the victim.

    I've read another book or two by P.D. James. I like her style. "

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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.