Devices and Desires

Devices and Desires
Genre : Fiction
Published : 2 Aug 1989 - Faber & Faber, Penguin
A serial killer is on the loose in a remote area of the Norfolk coast. Overshadowing the bleak landscape and the lives of the local community is the Larksoken nuclear power station, run by the charismatic Alex Mair. Then a death occurs that makes it chillingly apparent that the mass murderer isn't the only killer at work in Larksoken. When Commander Adam Dalgliesh becomes involved in the hunt for the murderer, he finds himself caught up in the passions and dangerous secrets of the headland community.


Taut... Absorbing... Better than her best.

The New York Times Book Review

I have often thought of mysteries as the sorbets of literature, something light and tangy to clear the palate between more serious courses. The books of P.D. James, however are more substantial fare, fulfilling as well as delicious, and DEVICES AND DESIRES is no exception.

The Washington Post Book World

A masterful writer... DEVICES AND DESIRES seems to be that highly prized work- a terrific tale suspense and detection that also delivers the satisfaction of a mainstream novel.

The Wall Street Journal

Brilliant... wonderful. P.D. James does it again.

USA Today

Her stories are so engrossing that it is difficult to read slowly enough to pay attention to the remarkable writing. But in DEVICES AND DESIRES, she is so at the top of her form that to rush though would itself be a crime.

The Kansas City Star

Undiluted pleasure.


Vintage P.D. James... Devotees of Britain' s Queen of Crime will be enthralled... showcasing lyrical prose abounding with vivid imagery, suberbly delineated characters, and a labyrinthine puzzle... It' s impossible to resist this haunting, dark tale.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

We' re glued to P.D. James' s beautifully spun whodunit... The master' s shivering touch is intact.


A cleverly crafted book that readers may very well stay up all night to finish... She exposes the murderously repressed rage beneath the clam surface of typical middle-class Britishers.

Boston Herald

The greatest living mystery writer... weaves a dazzling array of psychological profiles into a gently ironic examination of human life and the ' relative value' we ascribe to it.


James at her best... a superb tale of murder.


DEVICES AND DESIRES may be her best yet... The plot is superb, with the larger moral issues of a nearby nuclear power station and the thickly interwoven lives of characters lending measured gravity to the sensational murder story. And the prose style is a dream.

The Seattle Times

Un-put-downable... P.D. James is never content with just a formulaic detective story. She takes the whodunit to deeper levels.

New Woman

James is one of Britain' s best writers in the genre... DEVICES AND DESIRES brings the classic whodunit as far as it can go.

The Detroit News

The best book she's written. It has literary merit that detective works seldom attempt... everything fits beautifully.

The Sacramento Bee

James once again gives us a convincing portrait of contemporary society, while at the same time she scrupulously observes - and smartly updates and complicates - all the mystery genre conventions.

San Diego Magazine

Demonstrates just how well James commands the English language... The complex plot unfolds into the usual Jamesian tangle of human relationships and subplots. The story takes shape as James unwraps each nuance of personality, each intricate piece of the puzzle.

Library Journal

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