P. D. JAMES – Death of an Expert Witness. Inspector Adam Dalgliesh #6. Scribner’s, hardcover, 1977. Popular Library, paperback, 1977? Reprinted many times since. TV movie: “Death of an Expert Witness,” ITV/PBS, 1983, with Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgleish.

   What better place for a murder (fictional, of course) could there be than inside a police forensic science lab? Just imagine the opportunity to fiddle with the evidence! It comes as no surprise that this lengthy (322 pages) tale is filled to he brim with suspects, clues, and plenty of false trails.

   On the case is Scotland Yard’s Commander Adam Dalgleish, who seems more personally involved than usual with the other characters, all of whom, as in most of James’s fiction, are forever burdened with the twin weights of worry and misery.

   The ending could hardly be called a cheerful one, which is not wholly unexpected, but no self-respecting mystery lover should pass this one by.

–Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 2, No. 3, May 1978.