Cover Her Face by P D James: A Review by Warren Bull
Image from CSPeanut Gallery
First published in 1962, Cover Her Face was the first novel by P.D. James. In this first offering it is possible to see the qualities that made the author so respected and successful. Often with the first novel of good writers there are elements that show promise of what the author may later achieve. This novel, on the other hand, already demonstrates command of language and genre.
When a woman who has gone through a program for unwed mothers is hired as a servant for an aristocratic family, trouble begins to brew. The woman has a way of identifying and seizing upon other peoples’ weaknesses without calling attention to her actions. Things come to a head one evening when she announces that the male heir has proposed to her. The next morning she is found inside a locked room strangled to death.
This is the introduction of Detective Chief Inspector Adam Dalgiesh. The author deftly inserts information that leaves the reader wanting more time to spend with the character. The writing is smooth and engrossing. The plot is unpredictable and surprising. On its own without the author’s distinguished later career, this is a very good mystery.