Death in Holy Orders, by P. D. James

What was it . . . about this place that made him feel that his life was under judgement?" Adam Dalgliesh wonders during a sleepless night at St. Anselm's Theological College, the setting of P. D. James's new novel. Not only James's durable detective but all of the other major characters in residence at the college during the week of a dramatic murder find their lives brought under judgment.

Setting has always been important to James, as has the Anglican Church. She is especially fond of the lonely, windswept coast of the North Sea, the locale of her isolated theological school. As the sea erodes the cliffs on which St. Anselm's is perched, so contemporary mores are eroding the tradition and prestige of the high-church Anglicanism the college and its warden, Sebastian Morell, represent. Archdeacon Crampton, pastor of an evangelical inner-city church and self-styled champion of ecclesiastical modernity, is the enemy of all that St. Anselm's represents.

 

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