A Certain Justice by P. D. James

‘A Certain Justice’ is the 10th Adam Dalgliesh novel by P.D. James and this series just seems to get better with each additional book.

Venetia Aldridge is a criminal defence barrister who loves to win – regardless of the guilt or innocence of the person she is defending. And, due to the amount of background research that Venetia carries out, she usually has a good idea if someone is guilty. So she is absolutely horrified when 4 weeks after successfully defending Gary Ashe on a charge of murdering his aunt, she discovers that Ashe and her socially inept, ugly duckling daughter Octavia are planning to marry.

Apart from Octavia, Venetia has managed to upset a lot of other people that she has come across with her uncompromising attitude. Several of the other lawyers and staff within Chambers have found themselves on the wrong side of Venetia, as well as her ex-husband and her recent ex-lover.

So, when Venetia is found at her desk, stabbed through the heart, and wearing a full wig doused in human blood, there is a long list of suspects for the murder.

Adam Dalgliesh investigates along with Kate Miskin and Piers Tarrant. As usual we get some excellent insights into the lives of the investigating team as well as the lives of the suspects as Dalgliesh and his team unravel the mystery of Venetia Aldridge’s death.


This was a very involved book and for me, the solutions to the various crimes were completely unexpected. P.D. James did an excellent job of setting up the atmosphere in this book – from the lives of the people involved and their daily struggles to the locations themselves – The Temple Chambers and the area of the Old Baily (which sounded like part of Diagonalley for Harry Potter fans), the decrepit house where Garry Ashe lived with his aunt and the desolate reed beds near Ipswich.

This was a very enjoyable novel and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series – ‘Death in Holy Orders’.


Book Published 1997


See a full list of books by P.D. James

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