I didn't think this book was one of her best. In it, James has detective Dalgliesh come up with a solution as to how the murder was committed without really telling us what led him to it. Then James has the murderer do all the confessing at the end. If you read lots of mysteries, you may see the hint as to who the murderer is, but even I didn't realize the hint was there until after the fact.
What was interesting is that, at one point, Dalgliesh complains about how mystery novelists 'solve' murders with hardy any evidence but still get full confessions from the murderers, but this is exactly what happens to him. If this parody is what James intended in this book, than I guess she succeeded.
I just read this review through twice and I don't think I'm giving the murderer away. Hopefully, you will be as surprised as I was.
Maurice Seton was a famous mystery writer--but no murder from his imagination could equal the ghastliness of his own death. When his grotesquely mutilated corpse is found in a drifting dinghy, ripples of horror spread among his bizarre neighbors. Now Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh and his aunt must discover the shocking truth about Seton's past.
Another Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh mystery. I love them.
'P.D. James's whodunnit is of a very high quality. From the moment a handless corpse in a neat city suit is found in a drifting dinghy off the East Coast, and we meet the ghastly members of a literary society, we're hooked'. Evening Standard