[Ebook] ➠ The Skull Beneath the Skin By P.D. James – Transportjobsite.co.uk

The Skull Beneath the Skin summary The Skull Beneath the Skin, series The Skull Beneath the Skin, book The Skull Beneath the Skin, pdf The Skull Beneath the Skin, The Skull Beneath the Skin 9b99dd5bd8 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 S Second Cordelia Gray Mystery Shows James At The Height Of Her Story Telling Powers San Francisco Chronicle


10 thoughts on “The Skull Beneath the Skin

  1. says:

    This is the second of only two Cordelia Gray novels the first being, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, published ten years previously, in 1972 When we catch up with Cordelia again, she is still running her detective agency, although most of her work consists of trailing cheating spouses, or tracing lost cats She has inherited a little money, so now has a comfortable, river side flat, which is a definite improvement.A sudden job opportunity, though, offers something a little interesting The actress, Clarissa Lisle, is planning a comeback She will be taking part in a private performance on a private island, owned by Ambrose Gorringe, owner of Courcy Castle However, Clarissa has been receiving poison pen letters and so, her current husband, Sir George Ralston, suggests Cordelia should accompany his wife, posing as her secretary companion to avoid upset and help his wife feel safer.Also on the island is Clarissa s previous lover, dying theatre critic, Ivo Whittingham, her dresser, Miss Tolgarth, her step son, the shy, young, Simon Lessing, who was caught up in Clarissa s enthusiastic whims, but is now, to her mind, becoming boring and a financial drain, her cousin, Roma Lisle, who wants money to keep her married lover interested, and Ambrose, plus his staff, including butler, Munter.Of course, everyone has secrets and Clarissa is the stereotypical actress, who is alternately demanding and cruel, as well as self centred and selfish As well as the cast of characters, the island itself has secrets, which go back to the war Indeed, much of this mystery seems rooted in the past and that is mirrored in the style of P.D James Personally, I enjoy her books and find her mysteries comforting and well written This is a fairly long book, but I always looked forward to going back to the story and never felt it drag.


  2. says:

    I had never read anything by PD James, but she s been on my shortlist of authors to read for a while now I think she first came onto my radar when I heard about her recent mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley which did not particularly interest me itself, since not even a murder mystery could make me give a crap about the Bennett sisters , but she s been a prolific detective author for decades This one, published in 1982, is obviously not one of her newer mysteries, but it caught my eye when I was browsing in a secondhand bookstore, and I decided to give it a shot It was the setup that convinced me to buy this one Private detective Cordelia Gray is hired by the husband of aging actress Clarissa Lisle, who has been receiving death threats in the form of literary quotations It doesn t seem particularly sinister, but Clarissa has an important performance coming up and the notes are affecting her career, so her husband calls Cordelia in to find out who is leaving the notes To do this, Cordelia pretends to be Clarissa s secretary and accompanies her to Courcy Island, where Clarissa is scheduled to perform in a production of The Duchess of Malfi, held in the theater of the castle on the island Also on the island Clarissa s cousin, a theater critic who has a history with the actress, her stepson from a previous marriage, and their host and owner of the castle If it sounds like the setup for a classic 1930 s detective story, that s very intentional I haven t read any of James s other work, so I don t know how this plot compares, but this book reads almost like someone challenged her write her own version of an Agatha Christie closed house murder mystery The resemblance to an old school detective story is so great, in fact, that I spent the first chapter thinking that it did take place in the 1930 s, and was slightly jarred when a character referenced an event in 1977 The book s similarities to a classic Agatha Christie novel are so frequent that it serves as a running joke throughout the story When the two police officers are discussing the suspects, this exchange happens And the butler, sir Thank you for reminding me, Sergeant We mustn t forget the butler I regard the butler as a gratuitous insult on the part of fate I realize the the story s close resemblance to a 1930 s mystery is intentional, and part of the joke, but the problem is that I generally read mysteries written and taking place exclusively during that era, and couldn t get used to the fact that this book was happening after Woodstock That being said, modern life doesn t intrude on the story too often the characters dialogue, possibly because they re all posh and British, sounds almost exactly the way 1930 s dialogue sounds, and they still do things like dress for dinner and sit around drinking claret served by a butler so if you want to pretend that the book is taking place in 1935, nothing is really stopping you aside from the rare reference to an event that took place in 1977 or something Putting my own personal preferences aside, this is a very well done mystery It s of a psychological thriller than a classic detective yarn, but there s still plenty of poking around crime scenes and interviewing suspects to satisfy the Christie fans Cordelia Gray come ON, tell me that isn t the name of Nancy Drew s plucky girl detective best friend who grew up in New York and brings her street smarts and tough girl charm to help with Nancy s investigations and excuse me I have a fan fiction to write is a good heroine, equal parts capable and self doubting This is the second installment of her adventures, and there are a lot of references to the first Cordelia Gray book, where she apparently investigated a murder with an older detective who trained her how to solve crimes, and frankly that sounds fun as hell, so I ll have to look that one up soon The ending is perfectly satisfying, with all the loose ends nicely tied up, although the final confrontation is a bit predictable early in the book, all the guests are getting a tour of the crypts under the castle, and the host is like, hey, everybody look at this trapdoor that leads to a cave where some guy was drowned a long time ago and I was like, well, I know how someone s going to try to kill our heroine now.But all in all, a good introduction to PD James and her work I liked the mystery, and I liked Cordelia time period non withstanding , and will definitely be on the lookout for of her adventures in the future.


  3. says:

    the novel appears to be PD James looking back at agatha christie by taking the basics of the classic murder mystery an enclosed and gothic setting, a finite number of suspects, stylized characters and then updating it with all of the intricate details, narrative complexity, and emotionally nuanced characterizations of a later period psychological thriller the scene in question is wonderful per the book jacket, a fairy tale castle on the sunlit island of Courcy the often self doubting but adept and intrepid Cordelia Gray is an appealing heroine the language is surprisingly bright and sparkling at least for a James novel despite the rather gleefully morbid title, this is an unusually bright toned offering from the author very enjoyable overall.


  4. says:

    Throwing in the towel on this one after slogging through 100 pages, nothing seems to be happening to move the plot story on Yes, James writes in elegant, literate sentences but that can t hide the fact that the content of them is just static filler Everyone is oh so earnest, and their conversation awash with poetic quotations from Yeats to Marlowe so show offy on the part of the author when it doesn t add to characterization or the plot The plot could have been fun the Golden Age tropes from detective fiction poison pen letters, amateur theatricals, a house party where everyone has a motive to kill, a butler though just feel anachronistcally out of place in the 1980s setting I can t help thinking that Agatha Christie would have introduced the suspects deftly and be well on the way to solving the crime after 100 pages while James is still faffing around describing room decor too much, too slow.


  5. says:

    I love PD James This one was not predictable I have to say that This was my book for waiting at appointments so it took me a while to read it I picked it up at the VA and am returning it there.


  6. says:

    I have always been curious about this book, with its awesome title out of T.S Eliot, and was glad to have the chance to read it while driving around although the cabin wind noise while on the highway means I may have missed some of it.The book is well written and well performed The reader is quite histrionic by which I mean the female characters raise their voices under emotional stress to an almost shrill level.The scene is Courcy Castle, a restored Victorian royal residence on a small island near Speymouth, wherever that is Private Eye Cordelia Gray is hired as a bodyguard for an actress who is performing in The Duchess of Malfi in a small theater there Not a spoiler to say the actress is killed just before her performance Hence this becomes a classic country house mystery, with everyone present a suspect There are enough red herrings and twists right up to the end, but without spoiling the ending, I don t think it will satisfy everyone If all mysteries ended this way, the genre would not be popular Still, if this upending of the genre is one last twist, I can enjoy it for once.


  7. says:

    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.


  8. says:

    A bit of a far cry from her later books The structure is there, but she makes some major leaps without bringing the reader along Having read mostly her later books, this makes a nice contrast to see how she s grown as a writer.


  9. says:

    Let s try to be quick about this .Cordelia Gray runs a detective agency whose main source of income is finding lost pets However, she s hired to accompany actress Clarissa Lisle for a weekend on the small island of Courcy, off the Dorset coast, for a vanity performance in the private theater there of The Duchess of Malfi.The fading actress has for years been receiving anonymous notes that read a bit like death threats No one suspects her life might be in danger in fact, there s suspicion that the manipulative Clarissa might be sending the notes herself but in due course she s found murdered Who among the collection of oddballs on the island for the performance could be the guilty party The setup s hugely artificial, of course, with all sorts of unlikelihoods being invoked to make sure the cast of suspects is a limited one, but that didn t bother me it s a frequent characteristic of classic mysteries I was reminded of the setting in James s much later novel, The Lighthouse Combe Island, off the northern Cornish coast rather than the southern Dorset coast, but near enough.I was reminded of The Lighthouse in other ways, too, most of them not good Lemme explain Many years ago I read a couple of James s early novels, was pretty bored by them, and gave up on her More recently I tried two or three of her later novels, which tend to be considerably longer why is this so often the case with modern mystery writers , and was bored by them too they tend to be grossly overwritten, drearily pompous and, besides, I can t stand the ghastly poet copper aristocrat Adam Dalgliesh, even though he s basically a rehash of Ngaio Marsh s Roderick Alleyn, whose company I quite enjoy.So recently, looking at the shelves and spotting I had a couple of James s early novels still unread, I thought it might be a good idea to give her another try after all, my tastes have changed over the decades and I might enjoy now what bored me then And these were a lot shorter than slabs like The Lighthouse and The Murder Room.But, oh boy, was my optimism misplaced All the same obnoxious self importance was here, too, even at this relatively early stage in James s career The opening chapter s quite jolly, but then we have a hundred or so pages of abject dreariness, during which James shows off her penchant for description or over description When a box of Victorian toys is mentioned lost the page number we have to have ten or twelve lines itemizing its contents details that are of zero interest to the plot or, for that matter, this reader The bloodless Cordelia wears a guernsey, because that s posher than her wearing a jersey When Cordelia arrives in the guest bedroom she s been allocated, its fixtures and fittings are described at such tedious length that I was well on the way to throwing the book at the wall But then at last the description of the bedroom ended Phew Lucky escape, wall Except then the text moved on to describe Cordelia s private bathroom at similar excruciating length .For a couple of score pages after the discovery of the murder, James remembers what the art of storytelling is supposed to be all about, and my spirits temporarily rose But it wasn t to last Back into the swamp I dove there s even a couple of paragraphs about bloody Adam Dalgliesh until finally I reached the protracted action sequence that serves as the book s grand climax and, while this lasted, I was romping through the pages Clearly the author could do the stuff when she wanted to why on earth did she spend so much of her writing time not doing it So much for my being quick.All in all, then, you ll not be surprised to learn that The Skull Beneath the Skin is headed for a library sale, as are the other P.D James books from my shelves I know lots of readers hold the author in high regard, and I m sure her work has sterling qualities that somehow I m missing, but my shelves are bulging with books I want to read So Page 232 is the one to skip.


  10. says:

    she he .


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