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Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James

Shroud for a Nightingale (original 1971; edition 2002)

by P.D. James

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1,424285,301 (3.84)43
Title:Shroud for a Nightingale
Authors:P.D. James
Info:Seal Books (2002), Unbound, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:TBR 2012 & PRIOR

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Shroud for a Nightingale by P. D. James (1971)

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Seemed to drag on and on. ( )
  Elleneer | May 17, 2014 |
Excellent, very well-written, tightly woven mystery. Light reading but quotable! I am thrilled to have discovered P. D. James because there are so many more books to read by her! For more see http://booksandmiscellany.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/shroud-for-a-nightingale-thou.... ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Shroud for a Nightingale is set in a nursing school attached to a hospital outside of London somewhere. The school itself is housed in an old Victorian mansion on the grounds of the hospital which is acknowledged from the beginning to be a very poor building for the school. But for us as readers, it adds wonderful atmosphere. And when it comes to books, I'm all about the atmosphere.

During a teaching demonstration of how to insert a feeding tube, a student nurse is somehow fed poison instead of the milk she is supposed to be given and dies on the table. She is not a student that anyone will miss. When another student dies two weeks later, Inspector Dalgleish of Scotland Yard is called in.

The course of this investigation uncovers many, many secrets that the inhabitants of Nightingale House did not want coming to light but which of them was someone willing to kill for? This story has suspects, red herrings and motives galore. How Dalgleish sorts them out to find the killer is a top-notch detective story.

One of the themes of the book is how much people like power and what they will do to get and hold on to it. It's a fascinating study in how even small amounts of power over others can go to a person's head.

Compared to Agatha Christie, a P.D. James novel is a much denser, heavier read. Her books remind me of the turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner while Christie would be the pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I can pick up Christie and enjoy her books anytime at all. I have to decide to read a P.D. James. But her books, and this one in particular, are worth the time and effort. ( )
  Mrsbaty | Nov 4, 2013 |
An Adam Dalgliesh mystery surrounding a double murder in a nursing home-cum-training center. A typical whodunit. I find Dalgliesh better than Cordelia Gray mystery where book usually crawls.

This book too began at morbidly slow place, it didn't help that setting was a nursing home full of seemingly dull, spinster characters. But it got better, when narrative unfolds from POV of Dalgliesh, who is an experienced professional detective. However, other than mystery do not expect any thrill or excitement from the book. ( )
  poonamsharma | Apr 6, 2013 |
Nightingale House is where a group of third year student nurses live while they learn the art of nursing. During a routine inspection of the nursing school by the General Nursing Council a horrible death occurs. One of the students, Heather Pearce, who is playing the part of the patient during a demonstration, is internally fed bathroom disinfectant instead of milk and dies thrashing on the floor in front of a classroom. Jo Fallon was rostered to be the patient; however, she was taken ill at the last minute and Heather Pearce was a substitute. Was the victim supposed to be Fallon? A few days later, another nurse is found dead in her bed. This time Jo Fallon is the victim, and poison is the method. Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the murders.

Nightingale House is a great setting for a murder; it is surrounded by large trees, with a dark road thickly lined by trees leading from the hospital to the nurses’ home. The house itself is a Victorian monstrosity described as red bricked, castellated, overly ornate, with four huge turrets. This is one of P. D. James’ earlier works, and as she was a nurse during the WWII she is able to depict the life of a nurse from personal experience. The pecking order within the hospital hierarchy is described beautifully. Being an early work, it makes it possible to see how James started to develop her trademark style of allowing the reader to see why all the main suspects had a reason to kill, but SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE doesn’t let us into the mind of the suspects like she has with her later books. Dalgliesh is not quite as developed as a character as he is in later books, but the basics are there. I love P.D. James’s attention to detail – her descriptions bring the locations vividly to mind. There are lots of red herrings – I changed my mind a couple of times before I got to the end only to find I wasn’t even close. She never fails to produce clever, unexpected solutions, and a dramatically satisfying ending, and this novel is no different.

  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
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On the morning of the first murder Miss Muriel Beale, Inspector of Nurse Training Schools to the General Nursing Council, stirred into wakefulness soon after six o'clock and into a sluggish early morning awareness that it was Monday, 12th January, and the day of the John Carpendar Hospital inspection.
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Oorspronkelijke titel: Shroud for a nightingale.
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Book description
The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously, and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills.
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The mysterious and tragic deaths of two student nurses send Adam Dalgliesh, Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard, to hunt the vicious killer seeking refuge in the Nightingale House.

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