01/12/1998 at 01:00 AM EST
by P.D. James
No one is wholly surprised when leading criminal lawyer Venetia j. Aldridge is found dead at her desk, blood ghoulishly poured over her barrister's wig. Half of London seems to have had a reason to do her in. She had turned out her lover, fought with her grown daughter, won the release of a psychopathic murderer and threatened to publicize the professional and personal eccentricities of her colleagues.
Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh, P.D. James's stalwart, poetry-writing investigator, has his work cut out for him. And his biggest problem, as he navigates the stuffy, winding corridors of British justice, is that many of his suspects are criminal lawyers. As usual, James's vivid characterizations inform this richly textured meditation on passion, morality and the law. And, as usual, A Certain Justice is a certain hit. (Knopf, $25)