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Death in Holy Orders

on Sun 5 Nov - 18:26
Has anyone ever read "Death in Holy Orders" (2001) by P. D. James? It is a murder mystery set in a small, conservative institution training Anglican priests in Suffolk, England. Two minor characters are a handyman and his half-sister who have a steady sexual relationship. The sister justifies it by saying that since they are only _half_ siblings it is OK... They are caught, but surprisingly nobody seems to really mind - it is much more serious that the sister has stolen a consecrated wafer to be used in a Black Mass.
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Re: Death in Holy Orders

on Sun 5 Nov - 20:21
No, it doesn't sound familiar; did you feel it was well-written?
It doesn't exactly portray us as virtuous (considering the stolen wafer), but that's not unusual.
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Re: Death in Holy Orders

on Sun 5 Nov - 21:24
sleepingrain wrote:No, it doesn't sound familiar; did you feel it was well-written?
It doesn't exactly portray us as virtuous (considering the stolen wafer), but that's not unusual.

There are several murders and other far worse sins around... I found the book very interesting, but it has a tendency to wander into irrelevancies, such as a scene in which Commander Dalgliesh (the investigator) visits a solicitor's office. The office has nothing to do with the plot, but it is described in loving detail. Things like this cause the novel to almost reach 400 pages, a hundred of which could have been pruned.
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Re: Death in Holy Orders

on Tue 7 Nov - 0:06
Why did you find it very interesting?
I wonder why the author wrote it that way.
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Re: Death in Holy Orders

on Tue 7 Nov - 21:20
sleepingrain wrote:Why did you find it very interesting?
I wonder why the author wrote it that way.

I found it interesting because of the unusual setting. In her preface the author says that she "would not wish to discourage candidates for the Anglican priesthood, nor to suggest for one moment that visitors to such a college in search of rest and spiritual renewal are in danger of finding a more permanent peace than they had in mind". Imagine if Agatha Christie had done prefaces this way: "I would not wish to suggest that travellers on the Orient Express are in mortal danger..."
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Re: Death in Holy Orders

on Tue 7 Nov - 23:19
"A more permanent peace than they had in mind", well she has a sense of humour! You have a point though, they don't usually write them that way. I suppose it's considerate, in it's own way. And it is a different setting than most murder mystery novels.
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