Adopted as a child into a privileged family, Philippa Palfrey fantasizes that she is the daughter of an aristocrat and a parlor maid. The terrifying truth about her parents and a long-ago murder is only the first in a series of shocking betrayals. Philippa quickly learns that those who delve into the secrets of the past must be on guard when long-buried horrors begin to stir.
"As a crime novel," wrote the London Times, Innocent Blood is "the peak of the art." "Flawlessly crafted...profoundly,...read more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: One of the best (crime) novels ever written..., August 28, 2002 Reviewer: markrobcol from Jersey City, NJ United States James is a great writer of detective/crime fiction. Her Adam Dalgleish series of novels are excellent, very readable and enjoyable. She surpasses herself with "Innocent Blood", this 'stand alone' (i.e. not part of a detective/crime series) novel of crime and revenge. James tells the story of a young adoptee who, upon her 18th birthday, applies for the right to see her birth certificate and learn the identity of her birth parents. She discovers that her mother is in jail, convicted of murder, but is soon eligible for release. Someone else is aware of the impending release -- the father of the murder victim -- is waiting to exact revenge. The character of the adoptee, her fantasies about her birth parents and her difficulties with her adoptive parents, is very well written. One aches at her adolescent self-assuredness which we suspect will lead her to painful revelations. The father of the murder victim seeking revenge is developed slowly and carefully so that one begins to wonder who is the criminal mind at work in the novel. His pursuit of his daughter's killer becomes the life-changing and animating event of his life. The birth mother/murderer/revenge target is less well drawn -- and justly so. The action of the novel is driven by the fantasies, resentments and expectations that her daughter and father of her victim have about this enigmatic woman. It's apparent that who she really is is ultimately and tragically immaterial to those who so desperately seek her. A great read and very well crafted and written novel. A must for crime fiction readers -- but a recommended read for anyone looking for a well-wrought compelling piece of contemporary British fiction.