Read Cover Her Face by P.D. James Online


Headstrong and beautiful, the young housemaid Sally Jupp is put rudely in her place, strangled in her bed behind a bolted door. Coolly brilliant policeman Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard must find her killer among a houseful of suspects, most of whom had very good reason to wish her ill. Cover Her Face is P. D. James's electric debut novel, an ingeniously plotted mysteryHeadstrong and beautiful, the young housemaid Sally Jupp is put rudely in her place, strangled in her bed behind a bolted door. Coolly brilliant policeman Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard must find her killer among a houseful of suspects, most of whom had very good reason to wish her ill. Cover Her Face is P. D. James's electric debut novel, an ingeniously plotted mystery that immediately placed her among the masters of suspense....

Title : Cover Her Face
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743219570
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 250 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cover Her Face Reviews

  • James
    2019-05-05 04:54

    Back to basics! I switched from modern cozies and crime fiction to a supposed blast from the past. I remembered a few PD James novels I read in college as part of my mystery fiction independent studies and decided to start the series. As expected, very reminiscent of Agatha Christie but with a little more modern appeal. I enjoyed the characters and premise for a traditional whodunit!I also like the wrap up of all the main characters in the end, as well as that at least one of them is seen again in future novels (no spoilers here!).If you're a traditional mystery buff, or have an avid whodunit interest, you may be able to figure the culprit on your own, but rest assured, it's not as simple as X did it the candlestick in the library!Remember the movie Clue!!!

  • Shireen
    2019-04-23 00:57

    After my brain injury, PD James became a marker for me in my reading progress. Pre-injury I read every one of her books and enjoyed them tremendously for their good writing and good stories. After my injury though, with my reading ability fried, I couldn't read any of her books. Too many characters to follow, plots that meandered beyond my ability to follow, writing at a grade level higher than what I'd sunk down to... It was rather disappointing to see her new books come out over the years and know I wouldn't read them.And then I was enrolled in a research drug trial in March. I felt my cognitive abilities shift, and I suddenly realised I was reading more. I dared to try a PD James. I followed my rehab therapists' advice: read a book I'd already read, tis easier. And so I went all the way back to James's first Dalgliesh book.It felt quite familiar.I'd begun reading PD James in my teens, an age when I still reread books (sometime in my twenties I stopped rereading them because as soon as I'd read the first paragraph, the entire book would flood back into my memory). And so I'd probably reread Cover Her Face a few times years ago. Also, the story is reminiscent of a couple of Agatha Christie mysteries (which I continued to reread after my brain injury), making the plot familiar in several ways. Even so, I did have some trouble keeping track of the characters, and I only solved the mystery near the end, which is better than my usual not-solving-the-mystery-at-all track record since the injury. But the writing was demonstrably superior to many of the books I've been reading. It was rather satisfying to sink my teeth into a book fully of layers and complexities due to the author's good command of the language.I enjoyed it immensely.

  • Tea Jovanović
    2019-05-11 05:12

    Nažalost, kod nas je bila popularnija serija snimljena po romanima o inspektori Daglišu nego sami roman P.D. Džejms... :) Ko je još nije čitao neka požuri, mnogo je propustio :)

  • Susan
    2019-05-08 08:46

    I have not read the first Adam Dalgleish novel for some time, so it was a pleasure to return to P D James and her very first book. In some ways this is a very typical mystery. The Maxie family live in the big house, in somewhat genteel poverty, with the only full time staff member the loyal Martha. As well as the housework and cooking, Mr Maxie is bedridden, so Mrs Maxie employs Sally Jupp, an unmarried mother as a house-parlourmaid. She is convinced by Miss Liddell, the Warden of St Mary’s Refuge for Girls, that Sally will be a hard worker, but the arrival of sly, devious and attractive Sally causes chaos within the house. On the night of the Church Fete, held at Martingale, home of the Maxie’s, the young woman is killed.Enter Detective Chief-Inspector Adam Dalgliesh to investigate. We have a whole host of suspects and motives and the novel is, as you would expect, extremely well plotted. I found the way Sally Jupp was presented as both a sympathetic victim, and yet essentially a young woman that nobody seemed to like, cleverly done and there were plenty of twists and turns. This reads very much as a stand alone novel, although, as we know, Dalgleish was to become a much loved and long running character. It was a joy to embark on this series again and I look forward to reading on.

  • Faith
    2019-04-30 07:51

    It's been a long time since I read a book by this author, but I think I remember having liked them. Maybe the other books were better or maybe I have just outgrown my interest in mysteries, at least the British variety with tea cups, jam jars, jumble sales and small gossipy villages. Whatever the reason, I was really unimpressed by this book. Most of the suspects were introduced in tedious detail in the first chapter, but the murder did not occur until about the 25% point of the book. At that time Detective Adam Dalgliesh arrived on the scene, but he did very little "detecting" thereafter. He was barely in the book other than to conduct long interviews with the suspects and then, in the ultimate cliché, gather them all together in one room to declare the crime solved. The solution involved secret relatives and missing limbs. I had not guessed the criminal, so that's something in it's favor. I didn't really dislike this book, I've just moved on.

  • Jane
    2019-05-08 05:00

    Where I got the book: Audiobook on Audible.I thought it was about time I listened to the entire Adam Dalgleish series—I’ve read some of them but certainly none of the early ones. In this 1962 story you can see the tradition that goes back to the Golden Age of the detective story in the 1930s. All the clichés are there: the stately home, the nerve-ridden war hero, the lower classes kowtowing to the upper, the vicar a sort of go-between in terms of social status. Except that it wasn’t, of course—James updated her stately home mystery to portray a society shaken by (another) War and by the social upheaval that followed it. The staff at Martingale is reduced to a sort of housekeeper, Martha, with no butler in sight to do the dirty deed. Martha is aided by a housemaid, Sally Jupp, an unmarried mother who seems to take lightly what would once have been a cause of shame. The lower classes are decidedly uppity, with their carefully tended council houses and a distinct touch of attitude toward their betters. The money is all gone, the master of the house is dying, and standards are always just a step away from slipping disastrously down the cliff face. And yet the Maxies struggle on, holding the village fête in their grounds, giving dinner parties and doing good wherever they can—such as taking in Sally and her child, whose father is unknown.Manipulative Sally announces that she’s marrying into the Maxie family, but is found dead the next morning and the chief constable calls in the Yard, in the form of Dalgleish. We learn little about the detective, who comes across as rather two-dimensional, prone to saying “yes, we know all about that,” when a new clue is revealed (and if the police knew all about it, why wasn’t the reader informed, I’d like to know?) Dalgleish is admired by his sergeant and clearly thought a Sexy Beast by the family’s attractive widow, but I never really got a clear impression of what made him such a striking figure. I guess it took James a while to build him into the Sensitive Loner Dectective that sent readers’ hearts a-fluttering.Two factors in particular made this story seem very dated to me. One was the omniscient narrator, popping happily into the suspects’ heads without warning and in a very erratic fashion, as if the writer occasionally became tired of doing the storytelling and handed the job over to someone else for five minutes. The other, alas, was the voice of audiobook narrator Penelope Dellaporta, which was standard BBC refined actress—I’ve become so unused to hearing this voice that its plumminess tends to get on my nerves. Furthermore, when I was listening to the audiobook without earbuds, there were odd popping noises as if people were playing ping-pong in the background. It didn’t happen when I put my earbuds in—very strange.And, oh my goodness, every upper class character in the story was a resounding snob. Except, perhaps, the vicar, and vicars are, socially speaking, neither fish nor fowl. The descriptions of the lower orders’ houses were spectacularly condescending—was James playing to the sensibilities of her supposed readership, or was this how she actually thought? It seems almost impossible that English society was that hidebound just fiftysomething years ago.The story wasn’t bad, apart from the tendency the characters had to explain their actions very carefully in chronological order, helpful if you’re the sort of mystery fan who loves the timetable aspect of investigation but not very realistic. There were some nice twists, and the whole thing culminated, very satisfactorily, with the great detective gathering all the suspects together in one room and methodically explaining what happened, with further twists in the tale being provided by timely interruptions. All very mechanical, really, but interesting—you can see the straight line going back to Dorothy L. Sayers and forward to the writer P.D. James would become in her later life. Development of the Mystery Story 101.This methodical method of building up a story was a bit on the slow side, of course. But it’s a true portrait, I think, of a world that was being swept away even as P.D. James was writing. I’m looking forward to seeing her move into the 70s . . . although, of course, if I remember anything of the Dalgleish stories I read, she tended to adopt the closed-community scenario where people were sort of stranded in time.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-20 02:57

    Meh. P.D. James is a competent writer and puts together a reasonable mystery, but there's nothing exciting about it -- I felt like I'd read it before, honestly. The Kindle version has very bad formatting, too ("that" turns into "mat", for example); no one bothered to proofread it. None of the characters are particularly interesting to me -- again, I seemed to have read all about them before, in other crime novels.I think I had the same reaction to another P.D. James book, so maybe I just don't care for James' work.

  • trishtrash
    2019-05-12 01:11

    This was James’ first crime novel, debuting DCI Adam Dalgliesh who gets far less character padding or attention than the victim, suspect pool, or even his accompanying sergeant. I enjoy James’ character building enormously, it’s really her forte, and especially the way she often leaves Dalgliesh to the role of observer, concentrating on the crime rather than the draw of a serialised detective. In Cover her Face, none of the characters are overly likeable, but they are all very strongly presented, their actions, opinions and dialogue very human… if a little dated, in places. The Maxies have taken in Sally Jupp, single mother, and recent resident of a refuge for women in similar ‘trouble’, to be their maid. Sally proves to be ambitious, secretive and a trouble maker. When she is found dead, the family reaction is more affront than surprise. But the motive that seems obvious dangles just out of the reach of provability… only painstaking assessment of the family and guests’ movements and characters will winnow out the culprit. Good old fashioned detective work, in other words.I’ve read these out of order over the years, just now coming to the first book, and was surprised to find it so cohesive. It isn’t perfect; for a start this is written to be a puzzler, not a gripping page-turner, but James’ writing skills cover up any small flaws; she’s no less competent a storyteller at book one than book fourteen.

  • Jaksen
    2019-05-01 03:51

    PD Jame's first mystery novel, and a confusing one it is.Though I did enjoy it, one must quickly become accustomed to her very, very literary writing style. Two things stand out: long sentences and a somewhat confusing omniscient POV. There were moments when I thought: who is this talking? What? Whose head am I in? There's also the custom of placing quotation marks around thoughts, so very often I'd be thinking - what? Is She or He saying that aloud? However, Ms. James does conveniently write, 'his thoughts were,' or 'she thought,' etc.., but if you read quite speedily and are accustomed to quotation marks indicating spoken dialogue, well then, get with the program! This writer is an artist and one of the finest of her generation! So I did. I buckled down, read more slowly and found the book a delight. I'd originally read it about thirty years ago, but as I read, remembered most of it. A young, unmarried and uppity maid - mother of a child, no less! the horror! - is found dead in her bed. Her cocoa has been tampered with; her neck bears marks of strangulation. There are several members of the wealthy, entitled family she works for hanging about, not to mention two sort of live-in or visiting guests. (I love this about murders set in English country homes - they always have these hangers-on about who just mess up things in a lively and entertaining manner.)Of course Mr. Adam Dalgliesh - or Detective Chief Inspector - is called in to solve the case, and he does, quite handily. With lots of interviews, most of which makes everyone nervous and suspicious, and a bit of tidy detective work involving fingerprints, bolted doors, outer doors and who locked them up and when, a ladder, a young boy, the local vicar (naturally!) and a country doctor. It all makes for a lively and fascinating read.(I especially love the fascination of locked and unlocked doors when it comes to English country homes. There's often a lot of discussion about who has a key, who came home when, who 'locked up' or forgot to, and often why 'we' don't lock our doors because, of course, nothing ever happens out here or in this tiny village, and so on. This kind of discussion can go on for pages!)But read this book very slowly or you will get lost!

  • Matt Glaviano
    2019-04-24 08:48

    I like keeping a crime novel handy sometimes when I’m reading a nonfiction book. I tend to find fiction a bit more relaxing, and would prefer not to read a book like The Omnivore’s Dilemma (the other book I’m reading) before bed. This was James’ debut novel, and it reads quite assuredly for being such. A well constructed, if unsurprising, mystery. I don’t mean that the identity of the killer was unsurprising; I mean that, in general, the book stuck well within the confines of its genre. One thing I found notable – and quite liked – was the beginning of the novel. I enjoyed that James introduced us to her characters – and started the action – before the murder. She spent a fifth of her book setting us up – that was something of a surprise to me, and worked well. I’m sure I’ll read more P.D. James – but I’m in no hurry.

  • Miriam
    2019-05-02 00:45

    I see Dalgliesh is James' recurring detective character, but we don't get a strong personality here. The rest of the cast, on the other hand, is a bit more complex and developed than is standard for this sort of mystery. As usual I disliked them all, and the one that I found most interesting was on page the least. At least the romance was kept to a minimum.

  • Tony
    2019-05-03 04:01

    James, P. D. COVER HER FACE. (1962). *****. This was James’ first Detective Chief Superintendent Adam Dagliesh mystery, and marked her entrance into the field superlatively. I’ve always wanted to read these mysteries in order, but, unfortunately, read them as I found them. Some little pieces of data are given in each installment about Dagliesh that help you to know the character better, but does not affect the reading of the book at hand. In this case, there is a killing at Martingale, the ancestral home of the Maxie family. The current Mr. Maxie is on his death bed – and has been on the deline for several years – being taken care of by his wife, Mrs. Maxie, and the housekeeper, Martha, a long-time retainer. Mrs. Maxie feels the strain of both keeping up the manor and taking care of Mr. Maxie and so hires on a young girl, Sally Jupp, from the local home for unwed mothers to help out. Sally is a pert and efficient assistant around the house, but soon begins to get on everyone’s nerves by her superciliousness and air of secrecy. She is installed in an upstairs bedroom, along with her young son. Mrs. Maxie’s daughter, Deborah, begins to hate her because of her disdainful manner. Martha is very annoyed with her because she shows disprespect to her in numerous minor matters in the kitchen. Mrs. Maxie’s son, Stephen, a surgeon at a London hospital, is the only one who seems to take a shine to her. This, of course, alientates Catherine, Stephen’s assumed intendent. When Sally is found dead in her bedroom, both sedated and then strangled to death, there are no end of suspects. All of this has to be worked out by Inspector Dagliesh, which he does through great deductive reasoning. This is a mystery that is hard to put down. You have to read it through to the end. Highly recommended.

  • Bill
    2019-05-10 07:48

    I've previously read a couple of other PD James' Inspector Dalgleish mysteries before and enjoyed very much. I like how intelligent James writes. This is the first Dalgleish mystery and I must say I enjoyed as much as the others I've read. Dalgleish is almost a peripheral character in the story, James rather focusses on the other characters/ suspects and their activities, motivations as she develops the story. Basically, Sally Juup, a housemaid is found dead (strangled) in her bedroom. All of the family members are suspects. The story follows Dalgleish as he performs his policework, interrogating the family members, travelling around the area to discuss Sally's character and past with family members and other relations. But at the same time, the story also follows around the people from the estate, allowing us to see their motivations, their thoughts on the murder, their own investigations. It's an interesting way to present a case and I found the story well-written and interesting. There were some nice little surprises which added to the story. All-in-all, most enjoyable and I will be continuing my experiences with Inspector Dalgleish.

  • Katharine
    2019-04-20 04:45

    I'm beginning to think by some coincidence the very first PD James I read also happened to be the only interesting book she's ever written. Honestly, I would really like to like her, but I can't. Cover Her Face is her first novel and I wonder how she ever became successful this way. It suffers from all the flaws I've found pervasive in her other novels – boring descriptions, unlikeable characters, and zero suspense. The mystery plot has a lot of painstakingly crafted red herrings and clues, but I just didn't care enough to be interested in the solution. And I don't get the appeal of Adam Dalgliesh. Your star detective is supposed to have personality, so people want to read about him, you know. The only indication James ever gives that Dalgliesh is not a robot is that every now and then she'll have him think about his dead wife. But other than that, he is as flat as paper. The cover blurbs set him up as a rival to Ngaio Marsh's Alleyn, but um... being boring and mechanical is not actually the same as being cool and stoic. Sorry. Afraid I'm done with PD James. Done done done.

  • Deb
    2019-04-27 02:47

    This is a classic English mystery along the lines of an Agatha Christie story. There is the upper class family who lives in their family manor and is attended to by servants. One of these, Sally Jupp, was a meddlesome single mother and her death by strangulation is what brings Inspector Adam Dalgliesh into the the case. In typical fashion he interviews all the suspects, looks beyond the obvious solutions, and in a confrontation gets the killer to admit to the crime. Few other writers today capture the feeling of Christies mysteries, and P.D. James does a great job of that. But I found the pace slow as she spends a long time building up the backgroud before we get to the crime. The puzzle was also not as complex as Christie and it was easy to guess who the culprit was. Inspector Dalgliesh was an excellent sleuth, as the hints to his background were enought to be intriguing but not enough to answer all the readers questions. Which would make you want to read on through the rest of the series to find out more about him. On this narration, the reader did a good job, but not an excellent one.

  • Silvio111
    2019-05-10 02:57

    This is another of P.D. James' very early Dalgliesh novels. Much like UNNATURAL CAUSES, it displays a certain dated view of society no longer seen in the 21st century. Whereas it is displayed in UNNATURAL CAUSES in the author's attitude toward disability, in COVER HER FACE it emerges in the portrayal of an unwed mother as a sly, deceitful, and wicked person who happens to be physically beautiful, but is targeted by virtually everyone around her a sinner and a wretch from whom gratitude is expected. Of its time,perhaps, but still irritating.The fact that the said "wicked person" is actually quite clever and manipulative meets with its moral due in that this character is the murder victim.Having said this, James actually is more creative with this situation, and the plot turns several corners and holds quite a few surprises, so the result is not quite as ham-handed as the earlier book.A good mystery, to be sure, but noteworthy mostly in an anthropological way to see how P.D. James evolved over time.

  • Stef Rozitis
    2019-05-11 01:08

    Old school mystery puzzle with a limited field of suspects and you have to work out which one is the least likely so you can suspect them (lol that is not a spoiler it is just me being cynical). A weakness is the shifting POVs which can be used more ambiguously but I think in this one some of them disqualify themselves by too obviously being clueless about the possible guilt of others.The victim is well written, partly because of what can be read as the author's reluctance to slut shame (and a couple of times various characters observe that "everyone" sleeps around in any case). The few romances (especially the surprise one at the end) are less well written, are sort of a self-consciously "sophisticated" and "modern" (for 1974 which was the year I was born incidentally) that dates by 2016 and is still fairly misogynist.Oh and I am sure I have said this before but I find Adam Dalgleish sort of gross and irritating!

  • Stven
    2019-05-14 08:03

    I'm hovering between three stars and four and pick three simply because I know the later books in the series get better, and I need a way to go up! Adam Dalgliesh is my favorite P.D. James character, and though I have read many of the novels and seen most of the BBC productions featuring him, I had never actually read this 1962 book, the first in the series. It was very interesting to see the character introduced, and gratifying to find this an engrossing read, full of the sensitivity to motivations and subtexts -- as well as the overarching class consciousness -- expected from a fine British novelist. Dalgliesh's personal history is barely touched upon in a single paragraph, which I also found interesting. You wouldn't have guessed from his oblique treatment and the focus on storyline here that this would be the tale upon which P.D. James would found a dynasty. It is not a spectacular but a solid beginning.

  • Shannon
    2019-05-07 08:06

    Was able to finish this book but couldn't really care how it ended up - not one redeeming character and very little development of the Detective. I'm assuming this is because this is a series so why make me like the Detective and want me to read more about him and his cases. . .don't focus on him but rather the boring, selfish other 'suspects' and 'victim'. To be fair I should read at least one more in the series to see if it gets better (based on other reviews it sounds like it gets better). However, reading another in this series is far down on my list.

  • LindaJ^
    2019-05-01 08:01

    3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.The audio production was really poor. The narrator was fine but the sound was tinny. I got used to it but it sounded like it had been recorded in 1962 when written rather than 2008!None of the people I suspected might be the killer of maid Sally Juup turned out to be the one. The murderer was really a surprise and that was a good enough reason to round up! There is little action in this book and that's just fine. The murder occurs about a 1/4 of the way into the book, after we've seen a bit of Sally Juup and know she is probably a bit of a schemer but as the story goes on we find out how very much a schemer she was. Sally is the one murdered - just after she's announced that the young man of the house -- Dr. Stephen Maxie -- has asked her to marry him. Suspicion immediately falls on the people in the house when Sally was murdered -- Maxies (mother, son, and daughter), the Maxie's nurse, daughter Deborah's friend Felix, and Katherine, a nurse in love with Stephen Maxie. Now the Maxies own and live in the manor house. Sally Juup is their maid. Her parents were killed in the war and she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Sally got pregnant when she worked in London and goes to a "home" in her home town to have the baby and after he is born, goes to work as the live-in maid for the Maxies. In addition to being a schemer, Sally is very secretive. She tells no one who the father of baby Jimmie is. She takes a real dislike to Deborah (how dislikes her back) and just before she dies, is seen mocking her. The local police call in Scotland yard and Malcolm Dalgleish appears to investigate. He uncovers much intrigue. Eventually the potential suspects are gathered together and Dalgleish reviews the evidence and the suspects discuss and ask questions. One by one suspects are shown to not have done it until one is left. This was an entertaining detective story. I will have to read more P.D. James.

  • Leah
    2019-04-24 00:48

    A very enjoyable murder mystery.I've been curious about P.D James for a while now, so I bypassed my bulging 'Golden-Era' crime novel shelves and tried this second generation lady mystery author. On the whole, I wasn't disappointed.James writes well, engages the reader with the characters, and has some very strong opinions on the state of society as she saw it, which she was definitely not afraid to air. Some of the topics to get a tongue lashing from her included the morality of youth, unmarried parenthood, and 'good old' English cooking.This novel's greatest strength was the depth to which we got to know its characters, and James never made the mistake of introducing too many, or all of them at once. We get to know them slowly, spending a little time inside almost all of their heads, seeing the story from all angles - even the murderer's - and by the end we are invested in the situation. Agatha Christie often introduced the whole cast of characters immediately upon arrival at the old manor house, and then making them all very pale plot points with little to distinguish between them, leaving the reader (or at least, me) confused and bored. James has created just the right amount of suspects, enough to cast suspicion far and wide and still have time to delve into their psyches in some detail. The only let down here was that, having got to know all the suspects so well, the unmasking of the murderer was underwhelming; not because it was obvious (it never is to me), but because it was unsurprising.The novel's weakness, in my opinion, was the relative blandness of James's detective, Adam Dalgliesh. While this is his first appearance in fiction, and he therefore might be excused for not being fully formed, he put me in mind of Peter Robinson's DCI Banks - a generic third party with few personal thoughts. He slides through doors, asks quiet questions, and knows all about it after a day or two. I realise that Poirot or Lord Peter Wimsey are not realistic depictions of humans, and that possibly the creation of larger-than-life detectives was passe, but I can't get behind someone with no apparent personality. The point is, it could have been anyone solving that case - Dalgliesh did nothing special and showed no special crime-solving abilities. He had no little grey cells, so to speak.However, I enjoyed reading this book quite enough to warrant reading the next one.

  • Snort
    2019-04-22 04:42

    "Death Comes to Pemberley" so says P.D. James, but before risking any sensibilities, I thought it wise to dip a tentative toe into her first novel, in order to judge whether she may do Austin justice. Many will agree that "Pride&Prejudice" is such Perfection that I'm loathe to destroy it with inferior associations, which is why I have yet to embrace the blood-thirsty "Pride&Prejudice&Zombies" (despite my hearty appetite for the Walking Dead), and why it took me 7 years to watch the Knightley movie adaptation.I wish I discovered P.D. James earlier. There was a time when I was Agatha Christie's biggest fan, devouring every one of her novels, and yes, even the Tommy&Tuppence ones, so now you understand. There was then the despondent period after, when I mourned her limited oeuvre of 66 murder mysteries. P.D. James may have plugged that listless hole then, for both Christie and James employ the same deliberate slow prose and aura of regal British upper-class assurance. "Cover Her Face" also marks the debut of detective Adam Dagliesh, the Poirot/Marple equivalent. He too waits till the final chapter to gather all involved (in the study, preferably with a log fire), dissect every clue, reveal a couple of scandals and denounce the guilty, always to gasps of disbelief. Thus, you can understand my profound hurt and disappointment when I actually correctly guessed the murderer in this novel.None of the characters are particularly compelling. I have a soft spot for red-heads (Anne Shirley, Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, the Weasleys...) but the death of Sally Jupp ("...her flaming gold-red hair turned in a flash of sunlight") failed to incite any indignance whatsoever. Mrs Maxie was too remote in her grief to be personable, while Stephen skulked like an overgrown child. Deborah was quite the charmer, as was the dapper Felix, but unfortunately only in the most 2-dimensional way. Catherine would be a solid bore in real life, but really the only character fleshed out properly through her wistful, thwarted crush for Stephen.So yes, I wish I discovered P.D. James earlier, but that golden time has passed. An unappreciative 2 stars, because "Cover Her Face" did save me from intractable boredom during a recent trans-Tasman flight.PS: Pemberley, I am unlikely to come!

  • Bill Rogers
    2019-04-23 08:12

    I believe this was P. D. James's first detective novel, and it is an amazing piece of work for a debut. It reads like, and is, more of a novel rather than the simpler, sketchier, slightly dumbed-down style more common in the genre. Yet there is nothing highbrow or deliberately precious about it.The characters are well developed. The various conflicts and motivations of the characters are interesting and well developed as well.I found the character of Adam Dalgliesh to be refreshing. He comes to his first novel as a seasoned professional. He is not the stock British Amateur Gentleman Detective. There is no need to wonder how he managed to stumble upon the case; it's his job. The book is not about his quirks or his fashion sense, it's a mystery that is actually about the mystery. Perhaps because I'm binging on detective novels lately, this straightforward simplicity is refreshing.Sally Jupp is an interesting variant on the victim, also. She is not the innocent cannon fodder of most detective novels. In fact, I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that as I read my sympathies were less and less with her, in spite of her ending up dead.I was a bit disappointed in the conclusion of the book (view spoiler)[ because in the end it appears that all the detection was unnecessary; the solution of the crime would have made itself self-evident once a few encumbering side details were wrapped up(hide spoiler)]. That is the only reason I didn't give the book five stars. It's that well done.

  • Mo
    2019-04-25 00:44

    3 1/2 stars• Was this a terrifically plotted mystery? No• Was I satisfied by the ending? Not really• Was this book eminently readable? Yes• Did I enjoy the book? Yes• Will I read more of this series? Yes(view spoiler)[I did not figure out who had killed Sally… and I don’t know if Inspector Dalgliesh had either, or was just fishing. I prefer a mystery novel when there are very logical clues that lead to the resolution. I am always disappointed when a mystery is solved by what I call the “poof” method - in this case a confession. And I am left wondering how in the world Mrs. Maxie had the strength to so quickly subdue and strangle a young girl who was sitting up in bed, laughing at her. Yes, I know that Sally had been mildly drugged, but she certainly wasn’t unconscious!The book loses ½ a star for such an implausible ending!I like the fact that Deborah Riscoe will be showing up in subsequent books, presumably as a love interest for Adam Dalgliesh. That was rather a surprise for me, and I wondered where THAT had come from! I did think it was just thrown in there at the end… I guess to “leave the door open” for down the road. (hide spoiler)]I take heart considering that this was the first novel ever written by P.D. James. One has to assume that Ms. James got better as she continued writing additional books in this series. But I thought it was pretty darn good for a debut novel! Read with SBC book club August 2014.

  • Francis
    2019-05-18 09:01

    Ok, lets start with a murder, maybe in a locked room, yeah something like that, you know and then maybe the whole thing should have a closed in kinda claustrophobic feel to it, like in a country manor, yeah, I like that. Just for the fun of it, lets have it take place around a celebration or party or something like that so we can have at least five or six people around at the time. Oooh, I know, I know, lets give them all a motive for wanting to have done the victim in. Man, this is getting good. Better yet, maybe they should all have questionable alibi's, maybe we could throw in a few twist and turns to kinda shake things up and keep everybody on edge (call them red herrings maybe?) Ok, ok, and at the end I see this thing where all the suspects are gathered around in the same room while this detective guy kinda rehashes the whole story while each of them stares at the others wondering who the real killer is. OMG! the tension.Wow ...I can't stand it, lead me to a typewriter, I got to write this down, while it's still fresh, and before somebody else beats me to it!All right, all right, calm down, I know, its been done before, maybe more than once, but you know, you put P.D. James behind that typewriter and you could still get yourself a pretty good little story.So chill!

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-05-15 03:44

    I read this book EONS ago but had totally forgotten the plot, the mystery and the killer, so it was truly like reading it for the first time. Now I'm interested enough to reread more of my books by this author. If you haven't read it, go get a copy. It's a great book, a great mystery, filled with enough suspects and red herrings to keep the most avid mystery fan interested through the entire book. I thought I had it figured out but I was so off the mark it wasn't funny.brief summary, no spoilersSally Jupp is a very attractive, unwed mother who has been taken on as a maid in the Maxie household. Sally has come from a home for unwed mothers and lives at the house with her infant son. Every year the church holds an annual celebration (a fete); this year, the day after the proceedings finds Sally dead at unknown hands, behind locked doors. Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard must figure out who killed her, but there are many motives and many suspects to rule out before he can do his job.As I said, an awesome book, one I very highly recommend. Mystery readers, especially those who enjoy a good British whodunit, will really enjoy this one. It is NOT a cozy, so prepare to spend some time with it!

  • Daniel
    2019-05-21 02:00

    At long last, I picked up a P.D. James book. My Mother has talked about these books for years, and they remain some of her favorites (which is saying a lot, given the sheer number of books my Mother has devoured).This really worked for me. I love the prose and the narrative voice. The story passes through the perspective of various characters and each is written well. Some of the observations made about these characters are wicked and even humorous. The mystery itself has familiar trappings and a good number of knots for the detective to unravel. Speaking of the latter, Dalgliesh intrigues me, and I want to see more of him, especially since James uses him sparingly in this novel. I will pick up more from this series in the future.

  • Kate
    2019-05-21 06:11

    This is the first book I've read by James. I can see why it would appeal to certain people, perhaps NT types, who enjoy analyzing details and putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle to determine who done it and how and why, etc. I'm of the NF temperament and I want to read stories that look deep inside the characters. I love Louise Penny mystery novels because they do just that. In Cover Her Face, I felt like I didn't really know the characters. Not one of them engaged me. This genre has little appeal to me. James is an excellent story teller and writer for the right type of reader, it just isn't me. The most intriguing part of the book for me was at the very end with the hint of a future relationship between two of the characters.

  • Patricia
    2019-05-11 05:56

    This was my first PD James. Since I'm a fan of mystery, I thought it was time I read the mistress of the genre. I decided to start at the beginning with first in the Adam Dalgliesh series written in 1962. It took me a while to get used to the style, so accustom am I to mystery writers of the the 90s, like Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs, and Nevada Barr-- who write high energy modern crime drama. But I cut my teeth on Agatha Christie, so it was not long before I was in the swing of things. Cover her Face was quietly English. I enjoyed the slow rise of the detective work, no crescendo, but complete with novel twists and turns that kept me guessing. I'll read more of James, not in place of my typical escape mysteries but when I want to wrap my mind around murder.

  • Laura
    2019-04-23 01:00

    I enjoyed this visit back to the first mystery series I ever picked up in my late teens. Sometimes, it's a good thing that my memory is so poor, as this felt like a first-time read. I love the way James writes. She has a great sense of place, and is able to concisely communicate various people's states of mind amazingly well. She is also able to manage this equally well from a man's or a woman's point of view. The murderer was a surprise, and there were a couple of twists at the end I didn't see coming. The last chapter hints at a possible developing relationship between one of the characters and the (recurring) detective. I'll definitely be continuing on with this series, and hopefully revisiting the English countryside in the process.