Death of an Expert Witness

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9780571230044: Death of an Expert Witness

Dr. Lorrimer appeared to be the picture of a bloodless, coldly efficient scientist. Only when his brutally slain body is discovered and his secret past dissected does the image begin to change. Once again, Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh learns that there is more to human beings than meets the eye -- and more to solving a murder than the obvious clues.
From the Paperback edition.

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About the Author:

P.D. James is the author of nearly twenty books, most of which have been filmed for television. Before her retirement in 1979, she served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. The recipient of many prizes and honours, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. In 2000 she published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
From the Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
The call had come at six-twelve precisely. It was second nature to him now to note the time by the illuminated dial of his electric bedside clock before he had switched on his lamp, a second after he had felt for and silenced the raucous insistence of the telephone. It seldom had to ring more than once, but every time he dreaded that the peal might have woken Nell. The caller was familiar, the summons expected. It was Detective Inspector Doyle. The voice, with its softly intimidating suggestion of Irish burr, came to him strong and confident, as if Doyle’s great bulk loomed over the bed.
 
“Doc Kerrison?” The interrogation was surely unnecessary. Who else in this half-empty, echoing house would be answering at six-twelve in the morning? He made no reply and the voice went on.
 
“We’ve got a body. On the wasteland—a clunch field—a mile north-east of Muddington. A girl. Strangulation by the look of it. It’s probably pretty straightforward but as it’s close . . . ”
 
“All right, I’ll come.” The voice expressed neither relief nor gratitude. Why should it? Didn’t he always come when summoned? He was paid well enough for his availability, but that wasn’t the only reason why he was so obsessively conscientious. Doyle, he suspected, would have respected him more if he had occasionally been less accommodating. He would have respected himself more.
 
“It’s the first turn off the A142 after you leave Gibbet’s Cross. I’ll have a man posted.”
 
He replaced the receiver, swung his legs out of bed and, reaching for his pencil and pad, noted the details while they were still fresh in his mind. In a clunch field. That probably meant mud, particularly after yesterday’s rain. The window was slightly open at the bottom. He pushed it open, wincing at the rasp of the wood, and put out his head. The rich loamy smell of the fen autumn night washed over his face; strong, yet fresh. The rain had stopped and the sky was a tumult of grey clouds through which the moon, now almost full, reeled like a pale demented ghost. His mind stretched out over the deserted fields and the desolate dykes to the wide moon-bleached sands of the Wash and the creeping fringes of the North Sea. He could fancy that he smelt its medicinal tang in the rain-washed air. Somewhere out there in the darkness, surrounded by the paraphernalia of violent death, was a body. His mind recalled the familiar ambience of his trade: men moving like black shadows behind the glare of the arc-lights, the police cars tidily parked; the flap of the screens, desultory voices conferring as they watched for the first lights of his approaching car. Already they would be consulting their watches, calculating how long it would be before he could make it.
 
Shutting the window with careful hands, he tugged trousers over his pyjamas and pulled a polo-necked sweater over his head. Then he picked up his torch, switched off the bedside light and made his way downstairs, treading warily and keep ing close to the wall to avoid the creaking treads. But there was no sound from Eleanor’s room. He let his mind wander down the twenty yards of landing and the three stairs to the back bedroom where his sixteen-year-old daughter lay. She was always a light sleeper, uncannily sensitive even in sleep to the ring of the telephone. But she couldn’t possibly have heard. He had no need to worry about three-year-old William. Once asleep, he never woke before morning.
 
Actions as well as thought were patterned. His routine never varied. He went first to the small washroom near the back door where his wellington boots, the thick red socks protruding like a pair of amputated feet, stood ready at the door. Pushing up his sleeves over the elbow, he swilled cold water over his hands and arms, then bent down and sluiced the whole of his head. He performed this act of almost ceremonial cleansing before and after every case. He had long ago ceased to ask himself why. It had become as comforting and necessary as a religious ritual, the brief preliminary washing which was like a dedication, the final ablution which was both a necessary chore and an absolution, as if by wiping the smell of his job from his body he could cleanse it from his mind. The water splashed heavily against the glass, and rising to fumble for a towel, he saw his face distorted, the mouth hanging, the heavily lidded eyes half hidden by glistening weeds of black hair like the surfacing visage of a drowned man. The melancholy of the early hours took hold of him. He thought:
 
“I’m forty-five next week and what have I achieved? This house, two children, a failed marriage, and a job which I’m frightened of losing, because it’s the only thing I’ve made a success of.” The Old Rectory, inherited from his father, was unmortgaged, unencumbered. This wasn’t true, he thought, of anything else in his anxiety-ridden life. Love, the lack of it, the growing need, the sudden terrifying hope of it, was only a burden. Even his job, the territory where he moved with most assurance, was hedged with anxiety.
 
As he dried his hands carefully, finger by finger, the old familiar worry returned, heavy as a morbid growth. He hadn’t yet been appointed as Home Office Pathologist in succession to old Dr Stoddard and he very much wanted to be. The official appointment wouldn’t give him more money. The police already employed him on an item of service basis, and paid generously enough for each case. That and the fees for coroner’s postmortems provided an income which was one of the reasons why his professional colleagues in the pathology department of the district general hospital both envied and resented his unpredictable absences on police work, the long days in court, the inevitable publicity.
 
Yes, the appointment was important to him. If the Home Office looked elsewhere it would be difficult to justify to the Area Health Authority a continuing private arrangement with the local Force. He wasn’t even sure that they would want him.
 
He knew himself to be a good forensic pathologist, reliable, more than competent professionally, almost obsessively thorough and painstaking, a convincing and unflappable witness. The Force knew that their meticulously erected edifices of proof wouldn’t fall to pieces under cross-examination when he was in the witness box, although he sometimes suspected that they found him too scrupulous for complete comfort. But he hadn’t the easy masculine camaraderie, the blend of cynicism and machismo which had bound old Doc Stoddard so strongly to the Force. If they had to do without him he wouldn’t be greatly missed, and he doubted whether they would put them selves out to keep him.
 
The garage light was blinding. The overhead door swung up easily to his touch and the light splayed out over the gravel of the drive and the unkempt verges of silvered grass. But at least the light wouldn’t wake Nell. Her bedroom was at the back of the house. Before switching on the engine he studied his maps. Muddington. It was a town on the edge of his area, about seventeen miles to the north-west, less than half an hour’s drive each way if he were lucky. If the laboratory scientists were there already—and Lorrimer, the Senior Biologist, never missed a homicide if he could help it—then there mightn’t be much for him to do. Allow, say, an hour at the scene, and with luck he would be home again before Nell woke and she need never know that he had been away. He switched off the garage light. Carefully, as if the gentleness of his touch could somehow silence the engine, he turned on the ignition. The Rover moved slowly into the night.

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Descripción London Faber & Faber. Taschenbuch. Estado de conservación: Neu. Neuware - From P.D. James, one of the masters of British crime fiction, comes the seventh Adam Dalgliesh novel, set against the bleak fens of East Anglia. Death of An Expert Witness is a classic work of detective fiction packed with forensic detail, intrigue and suspense. When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the exhibits is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggatt's forensic science laboratory. But nothing could have prepared them for the brutal death of one of their own. When the senior biologist is found dead in his laboratory Commander Dalgliesh is called to the bleak fens of East Anglia, where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again. With a wealth of potential suspects and cautious forensic scientists quick to pass on the blame, Dalgliesh becomes embroiled in the complicated passions that lie hidden beneath the calm surface of the laboratory. From PD James, the bestselling author of Death Comes To Pemberley , Children of Men and Death in Holy Orders, comes an atmospheric and thrilling work of detective fiction set in a forensic laboratory on the bleak fens of East Anglia. This novel was adapted into an ITV television series in 1983 and starred Roy Marsden, Geoffrey Palmer and Ray Brooks. 320 pp. Englisch. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780571230044

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P. D. James
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Descripción London Faber & Faber. Taschenbuch. Estado de conservación: Neu. Neuware - From P.D. James, one of the masters of British crime fiction, comes the seventh Adam Dalgliesh novel, set against the bleak fens of East Anglia. Death of An Expert Witness is a classic work of detective fiction packed with forensic detail, intrigue and suspense. When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the exhibits is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggatt's forensic science laboratory. But nothing could have prepared them for the brutal death of one of their own. When the senior biologist is found dead in his laboratory Commander Dalgliesh is called to the bleak fens of East Anglia, where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again. With a wealth of potential suspects and cautious forensic scientists quick to pass on the blame, Dalgliesh becomes embroiled in the complicated passions that lie hidden beneath the calm surface of the laboratory. From PD James, the bestselling author of Death Comes To Pemberley , Children of Men and Death in Holy Orders, comes an atmospheric and thrilling work of detective fiction set in a forensic laboratory on the bleak fens of East Anglia. This novel was adapted into an ITV television series in 1983 and starred Roy Marsden, Geoffrey Palmer and Ray Brooks. 320 pp. Englisch. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780571230044

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