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Crime/Mystery Series: Adam Dalgliesh

Commander Adam Dalgliesh was not unused to being urgently summoned to non-scheduled meetings with unspecified people at inconvenient times, but usually with one purpose in common: he could be confident that somewhere there lay a dead body awaiting his attention.
--The Lighthouse,
P. D. James

P. D. James's Adam Dalgliesh

About the Author

There is an "official" P. D. James web site--actually a sub-site of the Random House site--plus a few ohers, none offering much meat:

More interesting and useful to any seeking insights into James are some on-line interviews with her:

There are various thoughtful articles and critical essays around as well:

About the Character

Aside from occasional reviews of individual books or the BBC television series, there is alsmost nothing on line discussing Dalgliesh as a character; the closest are this one of just a few paragraphs and this blog entry.

(In case you came to this page you are reading from a search engine instead of through its site, I will here repeat the brief remarks on the main mystery/crime page that points here.)

James's novels are thoroughly realistic and correspondingly gritty. Dalgliesh (Commander is a police rank), is a consummate professional, cool and detached, yet with a private side (he is, in fact, a published poet). James pulls off the difficult trick of presenting noir realism in combination with an almost fierce moral posture, a clear line between right and wrong, good and evil. For, as she often notes, it is the distinguishing characteristic of the mystery tale that justice be served, and it is in that that such tales diverge from life: but we turn to them just because we want a vision of a world, however otherwise askew, in which when murder is done, justice can be seen and often--even if not always--also done.

The Books

There are so far a baker's dozen of Dalgliesh novels (there are no Dalgliesh short stories that I know of).

In these lists, the links are all to used-book searches for the title (via Abebooks). Some few can still be found in print new, but not many. As usual, the search results are sorted from lowest price up (note that, as always in used-book searches from this site, the price sort is by actual book price, not total shipped price, though each listing also always shows the true total shipped cost; occasionally, a slightly more expensive title will be slightly cheaper shipped--but the differences are never much and you can easily eyeball those cases.) Most titles represent a number of varying editions, from original hardcovers to late paperback reprints.

The Individual Novels

Her Other Detective

James wrote two books about a female privated detective, Cordelia Gray; Commander Dalgliesh makes what might be called "cameo appearances" in both books.

Omnibus Editions

There are several, unfortunately with considerable overlap. Many of them mix in a Cordelia Gray novel; I have included those, but separated off from the rest. As usual, none of them make any chronological sense. Finally, this list may be incomplete--information seems hard to find.

Dalgliesh-Only Omnibus Volumes
  • A Dalgliesh Trilogy
    • Shroud for a Nightingale
    • The Black Tower
    • Death of an Expert Witness

  • A Second Dalgliesh Trilogy
    • A Mind to Murder
    • A Taste for Death
    • Devices and Desires

  • Crime Times Three
    • Cover Her Face
    • A Mind to Murder
    • Shroud for a Nightingale

  • A P. D. James Omnibus
    Take care: there is another like-named James omnibus volumes with different contents; make sure which one you're looking at.
    • A Taste for Death
    • Devices and Desires
    • Original Sin

Dalgliesh Omnibus Volumes With Other James Works
  • Deadly Pleasures
    • The Black Tower
    • Death of an Expert Witness
    • The Skull Beneath The Skin (Cordelia Gray)

  • The Omnibus
    Take care: there is another like-named James omnibus volumes with different contents; make sure which one you're looking at.
    • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray)
    • Death of an Expert Witness
    • Innocent Blood (non-series)

  • P. D. James Boxed Set
    Take care: there is another like-named James omnibus volumes with different contents; make sure which one you're looking at.
    • The Black Tower
    • Shroud for a Nightingale
    • Unnatural Causes
    • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray)

  • Three Complete Novels aka In Murderous Company aka Murder In Triplicate
    Take care: Three Complete Novels will likely find other volumes with different contents; make sure which one you're looking at.
    • Unnatural Causes
    • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray)
    • The Black Tower

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