Cheverell Manor is a beautiful old house in Dorset, which its owner, the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell, uses as a private clinic. When the investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, arrives to have a disfiguring facial scar removed, she has every expectation of a successful operation and a peaceful week recuperating. But the clinic houses an implacable enemy and within hours of the operation Rhoda is murdered. Commander Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate a case complicated by old crimes and the dark secrets of the past. But Before Rhoda's murder is solved, a second horrific death adds to the complexities of one of Dalgliesh's most perplexing and fascinating cases.
"Brilliant. . . . A jewel in [James's] crown."—Pittsburg-Post Gazette
"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
P. D. James is the author of nineteen previous books, many of which have been adapted for television in the United States; her novel The Children of Men became an internationally successful film in 2006. 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, A Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. She lives in London and Oxford.