adam dalgliesh, an inspector and a poet

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Murder in Small Worlds

At the beginning there is always an introduction into a small world of its own. Maybe it’s a hospital or a school, a parish or a publishing house, a small museum … This environment is elaborated more and more during the novel … because there is a murder or maybe more than a single murder. The victim is part of this small world and the cause for its violent end of life is hidden somewhere in this environment. There are people, who are quite near to the victim and other people playing only a bit part – of course you don’t know about this at the start of the investigation.

Quite a lot of people are introduced in detail not only covering their present roles and lives, but also their past and special events of their past. Piece by piece this small world is described and step by step all the abysses and secrets are revealed. At the end … the murderer …

Dalgliesh appears on the scene to clarify the murder case and he is at the beginning totally unaware of whatever happens concerning the murder or happened in the past somehow in this small world of its own. He is quiet, perceptive and reserved, however, he asks a lot and of course the questions which are relevant. So bit by bit the truth behind all the action and the violence is uncovered.

Especially in the later cases Dalgliesh is confronted with more or less influential people in the background so that his superiors – or even the superiors of them – think that a careful handling of the case and the witnesses and the consequences might be necessary. For example when there is a corpse, which most of the involved people of their small world would like to finish with by declaring a suicide … when Dalgliesh soon learns that a shady business is successfully managed from the small world … that influential people are involved when pursuing their own private amusement …

Dalgliesh always uncovers anything related to the case. He is bound to finding the evildoer and bring justice to the victims. When in action he seems to be one of these classic gentleman detectives from the past … however, murder is a violent business and reality is harder even for Dalgliesh. So let’s say he is a gentleman, but amid a brutal scene of crime. Also these small worlds which at the beginning seem to be small paradises are confronted with reality which may destroy any idyll.

Dalgliesh has small team around for support and backing. Does he really need this team? Murder cases tend to become more complex during the decades and so he needs more information to be presented by his team when necessary and appropriate. Nevertheless he is finally the one who solves the mystery.

The charm of all the novels, however, is not only how Dalgliesh analyses the murder case and approaches the small world of its own, but also the description of these environments and the people in it, most of them thinking that all is fine, all was fine until now – even if some rough spot had to be hidden under the carpet – and that all will be fine in future. Unfortunately small worlds like to crash after violent acts …

At last: in his private life he is a poet and writes poems and these poems are published – an interesting facet of a police inspector.

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a faint cold fear thrills through my veins ... william shakespeare