Two death cases cause unrest in St. Anselm, an elitist seminary at the storm and thunderstorm buffeted coast East Anglias. Since it is unclear if natural deaths or murder, Commander Dagliesh is sent to inquiries there. A brutal murder in the first night of his stay also dips the two other deaths in even more doubtful light. Together with his teammates Dagliesh starts his inquiry work, which starts under serious problems. Multilayered and confusing the life-stories of the persons involved overlap. Fathers, teachers, seminarists and lodging guests of St. Anselm are linked by their different life-stories in a various way with the destiny of the seminary, confusing, partly piquant personal relationsships existing between each other. The further the action progress, the more the individual characters present themselves: the reader learns details about the life-stories of the individual characters and the better one gets to know them, the more diffuse the possible motives of each individual appears. Very soon it is clear that the murders, the scene of the crime and the residents of the seminar are in some connection. The motives for the cruel crimes remain long in the dark, though.
When the inquiries threaten to proceed without some result last, a surprising turn brings about the dissolving of the deaths and the Aha experience. P.D. James turned out well a real masterpiece with “Death at a sacred place”. The action place, a seminary near a steep cliff by the sea storm surged around, contributes to the disastrous atmosphere as well as the many, partly odd, characters which seem more or less suspicious by their behaviors and life-stories to have committed the murders. Hate, envy, jealousy, love affairs and not at least a Commander proceeding with untroubled instinct and apparently unshakeable patience, helped by two assistants with very different characters, put this special feeling to this crime thriller, Death at a sacred place is thrill at its best, up to the last pages. Particularly recommendable, a must for every crime thriller fan.