Unnatural Causes–PD James

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This was such a good book. They made a movie of it year ago (they’ve made movies of most of this author’s books) and my mother-in-law recommended that I see it but apparently there is literally not any way for me to do that. It’s not streamable on any s ervice and it’s not available as a disc from Netflix. Unless and until they decide to make it available I’m on my own with the book version.

Which was, of course, excellent. There’s a reason why PD James is a well known master of the genre. In this book, Inspector Dalgliesh goes to visit his aunt in the country. It’s a small area that’s a sort of an enclave for writers of various kinds. The mystery writer has gone missing. The locals aren’t sure if it’s a stunt–he likes to test out ideas for his mysteries using himself–or if there’s something really wrong. Until the local police come by to say that they’ve found his body, the exact way that one of the other authors had suggested he kill someone for his next mystery.

It was, clearly, one of them. It could be his half-brother who was looking for the inheritance. It could be his wife’s former lover. It could be the man who blamed him for the cruel murder of his beloved cat. It could be he romance author whose advances he had spurned. He was not, as it turns out, a very popular man in that area.

The autopsy report comes back and it appears as though, the marks of violence on his body notwithstanding, it wasn’t a murder after all. Rather, it was a natural death. He had a weak heart and it just gave out.

Of course, that’s awfully convenient timing for his brother, since he was planning to change his will and leave his brother nothing.

Dalgliesh thinks he knows how murder could be made to look like a natural death. And after there’s another death–not even remotely natural–he’s even more sure.

These books are so clean. They’re short but efficient, elegantly done.

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