2007: 57. Cover Her Face

“Exactly three months before the killing at Martingale Mrs. Maxie gave a dinner party.  Years later, when the trial was a half-forgotten scandal, and the headlines were yellowing on the newspaper lining of cupboard drawers, Eleanor Maxie looked back on that spring evening as the opening scenes of a tragedy.”

Cover Her Face - P.D. James

This is James’s very first book - the very first Adam Dagliesh mystery.  It is a pretty typical country house murder mystery.  More sophisticated, perhaps than Christie, but nothing new.  I will say that the opening sentences, while nice and evocative are sort of misleading (or, perhaps, it is just that the solution to the mystery is unconvincing to me).  What I do like about the book is the cover, which comes from John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi and I think is a great quote: “Cover her face. Mine eyes dazzle; She died young.”  


The book concerns the murder of Sally Jupp, who is universally described as sly, and really does seem pretty nasty (she pulls at least two terrible tricks and a number of smaller ones).  This has the affect of making you not feel so bad about her murder, and the solution to the crime is so banal (X murdered for THAT reason?), that the whole thing seems kind of blah.  I mean, it isn’t a bad book, but James went on to do better.


Recommend for:  James completeists; people who hate the sly.


Date/Place Completed: 4/24/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Re-Read; PD James Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017