An evil-tempered forensic scientist is put to death, putting many of his colleagues out of misery. Commander Adam Dalgliesh must exhume the secrets of Dr. Lorrimer's laboratory in order to lay bare the murderous motive hidden in one human heart.
Death of an Expert Witness led Newsweek to crown P. D. James "the new queen of crime."
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful: A book to sit up with all night, November 3, 2002 Reviewer: gft from Biloxi, MS USA P.D. James' work occasionally collapses under its own weight as the author strains to combine psychological novel with crafty murder mystery--but DEATH OF AN EXPERT WITNESS shows the writer at her best, creating a memorable setting in rural England, a host of very believable characters, and a complex plot, with all aspects of the work coming together in seamless fashion. Dr. Lorrimer is a forensic scientist employed at a police laboratory, well respected by the scientific community and a bastion of authority in the witness box. Unfortunately, he is also a singularly unpleasant man: bitter at being passed over for promotion, petty in his dealings with underlings, vindictive in his personal relationships. So it is hardly surprising when he is murdered--but the circumstances are something of a shock: he is clubbed to death in the middle of his own laboratory, a situation that seems to indicate one or more of his co-workers is involved. And Chief Inspector Dalgliesh has an abundance of suspects from which to select. James' detective Dalgliesh is a rather dour creation, and in some James novels he can become a tiresome companion--but here James balances his darkness against the demands of the overall novel to considerable effect. The result is a stylish, atmospheric work with an intelligent plot and a satisfying conclusion--a book to keep mystery fans sitting up all night. Recommended.