The Skull Beneath The Skin

The Skull Beneath The Skin

P.D. James / Dec 07, 2019

The Skull Beneath The Skin 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 ta

  • Title: The Skull Beneath The Skin
  • Author: P.D. James
  • ISBN: 9780446353724
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 storytelling powers 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 storytelling powers San Francisco Chronicle.

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      Published :2019-09-13T21:36:39+00:00

    About "P.D. James"

      • P.D. James

        P D James, byname of Phyllis Dorothy James White, Baroness James of Holland Park, born August 3, 1920, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England died November 27, 2014, Oxford , British mystery novelist best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.The daughter of a middle grade civil servant, James grew up in the university town of Cambridge Her formal education, however, ended at age 16 because of lack of funds, and she was thereafter self educated In 1941 she married Ernest C.B White, a medical student and future physician, who returned home from wartime service mentally deranged and spent much of the rest of his life in psychiatric hospitals To support her family which included two children , she took work in hospital administration and, after her husband s death in 1964, became a civil servant in the criminal section of the Department of Home Affairs Her first mystery novel, Cover Her Face 1962 , introduced Dalgliesh and was followed by six mysteries before she retired from government service in 1979 to devote full time to writing.Dalgliesh, James s master detective who rises from chief inspector in the first novel to chief superintendent and then to commander, is a serious, introspective person, moralistic yet realistic The novels in which he appears are peopled by fully rounded characters, who are civilized, genteel, and motivated The public resonance created by James s singular characterization and deployment of classic mystery devices led to most of the novels featuring Dalgliesh being filmed for television James, who earned the sobriquet Queen of Crime, penned 14 Dalgliesh novels, with the last, The Private Patient, appearing in 2008.James also wrote An Unsuitable Job for a Woman 1972 and The Skull Beneath the Skin 1982 , which centre on Cordelia Gray, a young private detective The first of these novels was the basis for both a television movie and a short lived series James expanded beyond the mystery genre in The Children of Men 1992 film 2006 , which explores a dystopian world in which the human race has become infertile Her final work, Death Comes to Pemberley 2011 a sequel to Pride and Prejudice 1813 amplifies the class and relationship tensions between Jane Austen s characters by situating them in the midst of a murder investigation James s nonfiction works include The Maul and the Pear Tree 1971 , a telling of the Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 written with historian T.A Critchley, and the insightful Talking About Detective Fiction 2009 Her memoir, Time to Be in Earnest, was published in 2000 She was made OBE in 1983 and was named a life peer in 1991.


    596 Comments

    1. 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 w [...]


    2. 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)d 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 ad [...]


    3. The Skull Beneath the Skin looks back to the days when readers expected large dollops of philosophy and literary references along with their stories. This P D James novel contains references to John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (the play within a play), Nietzsche, Donne, Shakespeare, William Morris, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, E M Forster, Malory, Voltaire, Austen and Rattigan amongst others. Bosola: Other sins only speak; murder shrieks out.The element of water moistens the earth,But blo [...]


    4. Private investigator Cordelia Gray has been hired by Sir George Ralston to accompany his wife, Clarissa, to Courcy Island, where Clarissa is to star in a play. Cordelia’s mission is to keep the persistent poison pen letters away from Clarissa. They’ve already caused one meltdown on stage and Sir George doesn’t want another. Protecting Clarissa from the letters is one thing, but protecting her from death is something else. When Clarissa is discovered murdered prior to the performance, Corde [...]


    5. 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.


    6. This story, the second in the Cordelia Gray series, is set in the very Agatha Christie like fictitious island off the Dorset Coast. The gathering was for the performance of Clarissa Lisle in the Duchess of Malfia. Cordelia was responding to the death threat messages received by Clarissa when she is cast into the midst of a murder investigation. The book is saved by the wonderful descriptive text used by P.D.James reminiscent of the great crime writers of the between wars era.


    7. The Skull Beneath the Skin is the last PD James I'm going to read for a while. I will say that this was a lot more fun to read than The Black Tower. I found Cordelia Gray to be a more sympathetic detective character than Dalgleish, and the plot followed a little more closely in the style of a classic English house-party murder. The downfall of this one is that the theatrical setting is such a cliché, with the self-absorbed diva and her circle of followers – even to the mysterious and devoted [...]


    8. 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.


    9. I enjoyed reading this (on a plane ride) but was irked by two things: 1.) Cordelia was rather passive in her role as detective & didn't stand up for herself as much as I would have presumed she would & 2.) The reveal of 'whodunit' was anti-climatic to me. More of a, "Ohat's it? That's all?"


    10. ספר מתח בריטי. כמה אנשים נמצאים בטירה באי ואחד מהם נרצח וכו׳.סך הכול רענון מספרי המתח המודרניים.


    11. Publicado en lecturaylocura/la-calaveraLa calavera bajo la piel de P.D James. El recuerdo a una gran dama del crimenEl pasado 27 de noviembre del 2014 nos dejó Phyllis Dorothy James, mundialmente conocida por P.D. James. La británica, nacida en Oxford en 1920, fue uno de los mejores exponentes del género policíaco. En casos como este, con una dilatada carrera por detrás, con una cantidad razonable de títulos entre los que escoger, al lector que no conoce al autor siempre se le plantea la t [...]


    12. Slow to start with a decent buildup and a good conclusion. Figured out who the murderer was about three quarters of the way through but a decent enough finish. More like 3.5 stars will definitely try another PD James


    13. Very slooooow beginning for the first 180 pages (paper back 10-87) then it creeps toward a very unsatisfactory conclusion over 200 pages later. Not my favorite P. D. James.


    14. Cordélia est une détective privée anglaise. Elle a pour habitude de retrouver les animaux de compagnie perdus. La jeune femme est alors sollicitée par Sir George pour protéger sa femme Clarissa. En effet, la comédienne reçoit des lettres de menaces de mort. L'objectif est de mettre en péril sa carrière. Clarissa est invitée chez Ambrose, propriétaire d'un château victorien sur l'île de Courcy, pour faire une représentation afin de relancer sa carrière. A cette occasion, Cordélia [...]


    15. It's hard to know precisely how to grade a novel such as The Skull Beneath The Skin. James takes much of what she learned from composing twenty years of crime fiction and transplants these lessons onto Cordelia Gray, who is simply not as robust a creation as Adam Dalgliesh. What we get is a largely satisfactory composition that never quite gels, because Cordelia feels like more of a bystander than an active participant in the novel; she is on an island when bad things happen on that island, and [...]


    16. I won't lie, this book irritated me. In it, Cordelia Gray is asked to investigate who is making threats to kill a famous (well B-list famous) actress. We travel to an island with Gray and said actress, watch said actress give the remaining characters in the book enough reason to kill her (if mysteries to be believed), and die. Gray then does her best to work out whodunnit.The book irritated me no end. In and of itself it wasn't bad. It was just too damn similar to the only other Gray book out th [...]


    17. As usual, there is a lot going on in this book besides the mystery itself. James is wonderful at drawing pictures with words, pictures that include the scenery and personality of not only people but inanimate objects.Cordelia Gray has been hired as a bodyguard/personal assistant for a fading stage actress who has been receiving vaguely threatening letters for some time. She is due to perform in a private performance at the home of a friend of hers on an island off the coast of England. Essential [...]


    18. The second of the Cordelia Gray series by P D James, wherein Adam Dalgleish, her famous Inspector has only a passing mention. I liked the initial 3/4ths of the book – it was a very cozy read – a fading theatre artist who is giving a private performance at a remote island castle belonging to her friend. She is besieged by poisonous hate mails and is fearing her life, though no one believes that her life is in danger. Her current husband engages Cordelia Gray to be constantly with her and filt [...]


    19. I had no idea I'd read so much P.D. James. I could only remember reading two of her books, but I remembered the first half of this book so strongly that I'm starting to wonder if having these books on my shelf for so long meant that I have somehow absorbed the contents of her novels through osmosis. I really like Cordelia, so much so that I really want a happy ending for her. It's probably more realistic that despite her best efforts, her intelligence and her energy, she never gets the success s [...]


    20. This was a reread of a novel I didn't have any memories of. Cordelia is a wonderful character to walk along side as she tries to make sense of this very messy situation. An almost close off mystery, it takes place on an island, where everyone plays false and lies a little or a lot. The creepy factor is high but shown in a matter of fact way. That adds to the creepy factor. P.D. James makes the reader care about Cordelia and her motives to solve this mess. The resolution is a bit melodramatic. St [...]


    21. AD, Grey is not. A very atmospheric tale with a gothic feel. Once again, a secluded island is the setting. There is a murder obviously, and Cordelia solves it. Of course she gets into trouble first. I see her better as the finder of lost pets.





    22. No words can describe the feelings I have for this book. But I will give you a list of just a few reasons why I feel this way.1. A poor idea.- this was an experimental work, born from somewhere between trying writing styles and natural curiosity. P.D.James wanted to prove that, with classic tropes, you could write a book set in modern times. James, to say the least, should not have taken this risk. With only slight hints to the 80s setting that this story takes place in, you would think it was a [...]


    23. This book took me about a year to finish. Granted, I'm the type of person who reads three or four books at a time, bouncing around from one to another, but this book was so slow I had to crawl to the end. I usually finish books I love to read fairly quickly, but as you can tell from the stretch of time I took to read it, bringing myself back to reading this book after getting interested in others was grueling, to say the least.It seemed there was really nothing going on except strangers together [...]


    24. In the second half of The Skull Beneath the Skin I was engaged and didn't want to put it down, but despite that I didn't feel like it was that great of a mystery. The plot was quite uneven, with the murder not taking place until half-way through. The first half was slow and spent a lot of time on backstory of each character. I felt that Cordelia Gray, the private detective at the centerpiece of the story, was not that strong of a character. Although she does figure some things out, she doesn't a [...]


    25. роман в духе и в стиле Агаты Кристи. и даже написан так, что я все время ловила себя на мысли, что это никак не конец 20-ого века. может это такая среда, но диалоги у Кристи были более современными. начало зловещее, но сразу понятно, кто станет первой жертвой. каждый подозреваемы [...]


    26. Being a murder mystery fan, it's a bit difficult to surprise me at the end where the whole mystery is unraveled. The revelation was not a big shock, yet was surprising in its content and narration. The only downside of the book is it's overtly descriptive and no action happens till halfway through the book. Summing up, a good mystery



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