Innocent Blood by P. D. James: B

From the back cover:
Philippa Palfrey, adopted as a child, exercises her legal right to apply for a copy of her birth certificate when she becomes eighteen. Although she has always had a fantasy of being the illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic father and now dead mother, she soon learns the shocking truth about her parents—and finds that her mother is about to be released from prison.

With this knowledge, Philippa moves into an alien world that is to prove more dangerous and terrifying than any she could imagine. For there is someone else interested in her mother’s release—someone who has dedicated his life to seeking out and destroying her.

Innocent Blood is rather odd. The story is intellectually interesting, but not much beyond that. The characters aren’t exactly unlikable, but they’re very aloof and remote. By the time they experience something provoking a powerful emotional response, it’s hard to care very much.

Not a lot happens until the last hundred pages or so, where the man with a grudge gets closer to exacting his revenge. I was curious to see whether he’d succeed but again, not very invested in the fates of the characters. I liked how revelations about Philippa’s adoption precipitated the events of the novel’s conclusion.

The writing is quintessential James, complete with thoughtful insights and the exceptionally vivid physical descriptions of the characters that I love so much. I liked it, but I’m not sure whether I’d reread it. I don’t rule it out.

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