My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After my brain injury, PD James became a marker for me in my reading progress. Pre-injury I read every one of her books and enjoyed them tremendously for their good writing and good stories. After my injury though, with my reading ability fried, I couldn’t read any of her books. Too many characters to follow, plots that meandered beyond my ability to follow, writing at a grade level higher than what I’d sunk down to… It was rather disappointing to see her new books come out over the years and know I wouldn’t read them.
And then I was enrolled in a research drug trial in March. I felt my cognitive abilities shift, and I suddenly realised I was reading more. I dared to try a PD James. I followed my rehab therapists’ advice: read a book I’d already read, tis easier. And so I went all the way back to James’s first Dalgliesh book.
It felt quite familiar.
I’d begun reading PD James in my teens, an age when I still reread books (sometime in my twenties I stopped rereading them because as soon as I’d read the first paragraph, the entire book would flood back into my memory). And so I’d probably reread Cover Her Face a few times years ago. Also, the story is reminiscent of a couple of Agatha Christie mysteries (which I continued to reread after my brain injury), making the plot familiar in several ways. Even so, I did have some trouble keeping track of the characters, and I only solved the mystery near the end, which is better than my usual not-solving-the-mystery-at-all track record since the injury. But the writing was demonstrably superior to many of the books I’ve been reading. It was rather satisfying to sink my teeth into a book fully of layers and complexities due to the author’s good command of the language.
I enjoyed it immensely.