December 2008 Indie Next List
“The scorpion tail of P.D. James' prose has lost none of its sting in this, her 17th novel. The setting is a lovely English manor in Dorset that has been converted to a surgical clinic, and the victim is a well-known investigative journalist who has come to the clinic. The suspects are as deeply complex as any characters James has created, and Commander Dalgleish exposes their motives with a surgical finesse. The Private Patient is intricate, novelistic, and engrossing.”
— Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
With all the qualities that P. D. James's readers have come to expect: a masterly psychological and emotional richness of characterization, a vivid evocation of place and a credible and exciting mystery.
When the notorious investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, books into Mr. Chandler-Powell's private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring, long-standing facial scar, she has every prospect of a successful operation by a distinguished surgeon, a week's peaceful convalescence in one of Dorset's most beautiful manor houses and the beginning of a new life. She will never leave Cheverell Manor alive. When Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder and a second death occurs even more complicated problems than the question of innocence or guilt arise.
"Brilliant. . . . A jewel in [James's] crown." —Pittsburg-Post Gazette
"No one is better than James at maintaining this tension between the cozy and the frightful." —The Washington Post
"[James is] a master. . . . Nothing is as it first appears." —The Boston Globe
"[I]intricately plotted and suspenseful.... James' clear-eyed, often sardonic prose describes rooms and people exactly as she sees them." —Providence Journal
"Elegant . . . compelling. . . . Continues the James tradition. . . . She comfortably tackles timeless concerns." —Chicago Tribune
"The ghost of literature past haunts P.D. James' newest novel. . . . The novel's pointed descriptions, its gothic settings, and its theme exploring the insidious legacies of family and class violence suggest Charles Dickens may have rested a hand on James' shoulder while she wrote this terrific literary mystery." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"James is a wonderful writer." —Chicago Sun-Times
"James is in excellent form. . . . [She] offers her readers intelligence, wisdom, dry humor, knowledge both deep and wide-ranging, humanity, compassion, understanding and a wonderful way with words. . . . James is one of Britain's greatest living writers." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch