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TheEerieCoterie
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"The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

For our January 2010 "Goremet" Selection, The NEW Eerie Coterie has chosen The Private Patient by P.D. James, who is also our featured author.  We will be selecting a new book on teh second Thursday of every month from her library of work and will be discussing each book on the home site - http://eerie-coterie.blogspot.com, as well as on this site.  Go to http://twitter.com/TheEerieCoterie to get quick updates and bit of news.

The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh Series #14) 

 The first Topic on our home site has already posted:

 

What are your thoughts on the first six chapters??  Any initial comments or feelings towards characters or situations?  What was your first initial response to Rhoda?  Sympathetic or aloof?  Why is privacy such an issue for Rhoda?  At this point no murder has yet occured and the main character of Adam Dalglieh has not arrived in the plot.  How well does James set up this detective tale?

 

Let us know your view.  Please comment to this post in regards to these questions.

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

The next series of chapter questions will appear on w/e January 23.  It will be a larger group of chapters since we need to get through each book in a four to five week period.  Any comments or questions not tackled in the initial posts can be asked by our followers, but only for the chapters in question.

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Thanks Becke -

 

That is really helpful.  I hope we get people involved and invested in one of the best authors out there.  I have read almost all of her books and there is so much to get out of them.  Her books are as literary as you can get in a mystery.  Have you read The Private Patient??  Any thoughts or comments on the first part of the book?? 

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becke_davis
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

To tell the truth, The Private Patient isn't my favorite of her books. It felt like she was taking the opportunity to get a few rants off her chest in the event it turned out to be her last book. As it turns out, her new book -- which is non-fiction -- is supposed to be fabulous, so she must be back on track.

 

As a mystery, she can't go wrong. It was something about the tone of the book I didn't like, at least in the first part. 

 

I love the Cordelia Gray books and for the most part I love all the Dalgleish books, too.

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

I always wanted her to do one book with both Cordelia and Adam as partnering detectives on a case.  I know he appeared in both her solo books, it would be really nice to see them in their own full-fledged case. 

 

I will be revealing the next P.D. James book on the second Thursday of every month.  Also, at the end of the run for this title maybe you can give the group here a more in depth review, since it was not one of your favorites.  It is good to get both sides of the coin.  Do you have a favorite James book??

 

Thanks again.

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becke_davis
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

 

 We featured THE PRIVATE PATIENT here a year ago. As usual, there were a lot of views but relatively few comments. It's why this isn't a traditional book club -- too difficult to do with a limited number of people joining the discussion. Here's the link: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/January-Feature-The-Private-Patient-by-P-D-James/m-p/...


Among my favorites:

 

Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh Series #4) 

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray Series #1)

 

The Skull beneath the Skin (Cordelia Gray Series #2)

 

The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh Series #5)

 

 

 

Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh Series #8)

 

 

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Thanks Becke-

 

I will take a look through the posts from last year.  Have you visited the site tied to this group??  If you feel like having a look see the address below.   We had such success with the initial group last year - it was geared more towards horror, but I took it in a new direction for 2010.  The Eerie Coterie was also featured on bninside, since it won an award for Above and Beyond.  Thanks again for your encouragement and help.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Thanks! I'll try to stop by but I'm a little frazzled right now. I've got a bunch of deadlines and I'm finalizing all the details for next month's romantic suspense blitz. I followed your link and checked it out, but I'll give it a closer look once things settle down. Hopefully others will join you, though!

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Here are the next set of questions featured on our home site.  Let us know your thoughts and hopefully you are enjoying this mystery.

 

 

As part one of the novel winds down, what are your thoughts on the large cast of supporting character??  The Manor staff?? Rhoda's insufferable friend Robin Boyton??  The doctor himself??  How do you feel about some of the people??  Likes or dislikes?  Let us know!!

 

What are your thoughts on the history of the Cheverell Stones found in the first book of the novel??  What are your initial thoughts on their significance - if any - on the plot so far?  How does Rhoda's take on hearing about the superstitious history of the stones design her character??  Give us your thoughts, please.

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

I have just finished reading Book One of The Private Patient and I wanted to give my own viewpoint at this junction.  As usual, P.D. James has executed a flawless set-up.  Lots of characters, each with their own pasts and hidden truths.  One thing that I wonder about at this point is what Rhoda herself was uncovering right before her operation??  She mentions having something she was looking into, but she was hazy after the operation.  With Book Two to delve into tonight it seems all so pointless as to why someone would kill Rhoda.  One thing is for sure, something is up with Robin - Rhoda's friend who is staying at Cheverell Manor both times she is there!

 

Also, what does everyone think about the historical significance of the stones and witchcraft??  Does anyone out there believe this fits more prominately into the plot of the novel or is just some dramatic background?

 

I look forward to everyone's viewpoints at this important part in the novel.  Either here or on our own homesite. 

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

With the arrival of Adam Dalgliesh, Kate and Benton-Smith we are treated to a delicious scene featuring the entire staff of Cheverell Manor - as they all tell their stories as to the events of the last twenty-four hours, up to the discovery of Rhoda's body. Also, what an intersting murder scene, yes?? Did you find it satisfactory or were you hoping for more?? We are in the second half of the book and the pace has indeed quickened. Do you find the speed up after the initial set-up, then murder is disconcerting?? Or do you find it more realistic, since investigating violent crimes need to be expediant?? As we wrap up Book Two of "The Private Patient" what are our thoughts on events so far?? How do you find the book outside of the parameters of detective fiction?? Is this a literary thriller or just a genre mystery??
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becke_davis
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

I did think the book started off very slowly, so I welcomed it when the story picked up its pace.

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TheEerieCoterie
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

I think the best detective stories push the realism to a point where real life invades fiction.  I the case of The Private Patient James gives you the slow progression of her murdered character's life unitl her death about 100 pages into the 348 page novel - brief glimpses into childhood, her job as an investigative journalist, her strained friendship with Robin - dull perhaps, but more realistic than any James Patterson thriller.  As Adam Dalglieh enters the scene the "heat is on" so to speak to get to the root of the problem.  The plot thickens and the pace quickens. 

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

I have recently finished Book Two and now the plot continues to roll forward, but with so much still unknown.  How do you feel about Adam Dalgliesh and the relationship he has with Kate and Benton??  Does he give Benton enough credit??  Near the end of Book Two all three recap the interviews and initial thoughts after the murder of Rhoda.  Kate finds it a comfort to spend the nights during an investigation with Adam and Benton.  Do you think she is ready to step into a higher role in the police??  Is Benton too opinionated or is his technique - though different from Adam's, maybe - useful to a detective?  Did it surprise you to learn how much Rhoda was worth and that she gives nearly all of it to her mother?? Soon they will interview Robin Boyton - what tale will he tell??

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

We are heading into the final stage of The Private Patient.  Robin has been found dead in a freezer and we learned that the person in the car on the night of the murder had once known Sharon Bateman and the sister she murdered, Lucy.  This is the final week to finish the book and there will be a blitz of conversation questions coming later this week and early next week.  Then the new "Goremet" book will be unveiled.  Want a clue as to the identity, here is a line from the book:

 

"Accepting a glass of sweet sherry and curling into one of the easy chairs, Mandy studied the paper."

Have a go and see if you can guess the next P.D. James "Goremet" title for February.

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Well, I finished with the book last night and I was not disappointed.  James once again succeeded in keeping the suspense going until the final pages of Book Four.  I am now opening up the site for comments and questions.  Rhoda Gladwyn and Robin Boynton were killed by Candace Westhall, but for different reasons.  Her attempt to kill Sharon Bateman made her realise what she had become, but if she succeeded she may have gotten away with the crime.  The complications with these four characters leads Adam to seek the truth even after all the players are dead.  Do you believe it was conceited of him to try to seek the truth when it would make no difference??  How did you find the ending??  Satisfactory or bittersweet??  Look to the next few posts to pose specific topics of discussion, but please participate and let The Coterie know what you thought of this mystery.

 

("There's this to say for life and breath, it gives a man a taste for death") - A.E. Housman

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Once of the main topics deals with the rumor that this was to be Adam Dalgliesh's final case.  It would appear that P.D. James has tied up the lives of Adam, Emma, Clara, Annie, Benton and Kate.  I found the ending to be bittersweet and less to do with Adam and Emma, than the characters from the case and how they moved on after the incidents at the manor.  Do you think James gave Adam a proper farewell??  Were there other things you would have liked to see James do for the ending, or the book in general??

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becke_davis
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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Have you read her latest book? G.M. Malliet talked about it when she visited in January, and so did one of the other featured authors -- Robin Burcell, I think.

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Re: "The Private Patient" by P.D. James (The NEW Eerie Coterie)

Yes, I actually finished reading it a few days ago.  As someone who is working on their first detective series I found her book Talking About Detective Fiction to be one of the most informative books on form and background on the genre.  I will always find Detective Fiction to be the bridge between the high end of literature and the frivolity of genre thrillers.  James has said it herself that, unlike other types of fiction, detective fiction is read for entertainment and for comfort.  We read these puzzles to find relief from the everyday and find comfort in looking for clues and catching the killer.  With these types of books we are faced with a reprehensible crime, but are relaxed by the order of things, that by the end the murderer will be caught.  It isn't a question of forensics or DNA databases getting the job done, but the historical figure of the police detective hearing what everyone says and filters the truth from the rubbish in between.  The Private Patient is a prime example.  Even though two murders and one attempt happen, by the end the mystery is solved - albeit not to Dalgliesh's satisfaction, since the murderer sommits suicide.  I did find the end very bittersweet, with more focus on the characters from the manor than on Dalgliesh/Emma or Kate.  I still thought it was really good but am already onto the February selection which will be announced tomorrow instead of next Thursday!! 

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