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The Murder Room by P. D. James

The Murder Room (edition 2004)

by P. D. James (Author)

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2,850543,018 (3.73)78
Title:The Murder Room
Authors:P. D. James (Author)
Info:SEAL BOOKS (2004), 640 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, england

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The Murder Room by P. D. James



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English (52)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
One of my reasons for picking up PD James is the consistent pattern of her novels. Once you get used to the style and the narrative, you pretty much know what to expect and well, get it.

In a nutshell:

The setting is a small elite museum in London, devoted to inter war years founded by a war veteran and carried forward by his children who act as trustees. However, when one of the trustees is murdered, suspicion falls on the siblings, volunteers and as investigation goes on, it brings to fore, the lives and motives of the characters.

But what is interesting is the how James has used this platform to show the class differences in her characters, in their thoughts and also their lives and use it as a dimension to the story. The character portrayal and keen observations make all her novels fascinating and well, this one falls in the same category.

What works:

A great setting and characters

Good suspense

What doesn't:

Limited use of direct speech could mean that reading it could get a bit monotonous at times.

I have never been able to guess the killer in her novels. The day I do, I may no longer read her. But that is unlikely to happen. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
I was quite disappointed, I'd only read a few other PD James some time ago and guess I didn't remember her style. It was very uneven, only one or two of the characters had any depth and that doesn't include Dagliesh. ( )
  TBergen | Jul 1, 2018 |
Comm. Adam Dalgliesh mystery — good twists + turns — unexpected.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh is already acquainted with the Dupayne--a museum dedicated to the interwar years, with a room celebrating the most notorious murders of that time--when he is called to investigate the killing of one of the family trustees. He soon discovers that the victim was seeking to close the museum against the wishes of the fellow trustees and the Dupayne's devoted staff. Everyone, it seems, has something to gain from the crime. When it becomes clear that the murderer has been inspired by the real-life crimes from the murder room--and is preparing to kill again--Dalgliesh knows that to solve this case he has to get into the mind of a ruthless killer.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 27, 2016 |
The puzzle in this was well worked-out and relatively believable. Touching that Adam Dalgliesh is finally apparently getting married. Suppose I am more attached to him than to some folks I see in real life. Also nice to know that an Old Person is actually writing better. ( )
  ahaehl | Jun 6, 2016 |
Written in 2003 this, the 12th in the Adam Dalgliesh crime fiction series by PD James, is preceded by an excerpt from TS Eliot’s poem ‘Burnt Norton’:
‘Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.’
Time is a theme layered throughout this book. Its setting is the Dupayne Museum on Hampstead Heath, so historical time is represented by the exhibits at the museum. Time, recently passed, is examined and re-examined as part of the murder investigation. Time future, is represented by the theme of Adam Dalgliesh’s love for Emma and his courtship of her, a path not easy or untroubled.
Like all Dalgliesh novels, murder happens within a tight community. The Dupayne Museum has a small community of owners, staff and visitors. At first glance the victims are not clearly attached to the museum, but this is a James novel: of course they are, we just don’t know how yet.
The murder doesn’t happen for quite a while as James takes her time introducing us to the circle of potential victims and criminals, their connection to the museum and their life outside it. There is an air of the past about it, as if it was written in the thirties, an antidote to modern fast-paced modern crime novels so in itself representing a portrait of changing crime fiction. Time is given to characterization, setting, motivation, and not to dramatic action scenes: more Christie and Sayers than James or Rankin.
In the course of reading ‘The Murder Room’, I considered why I enjoy reading detective novels and what I take from them. I like the mystery, the tension of the chase, the fitting together of disparate elements. I do not like violence, graphic sex or language. But most of all, I like the examination of human nature, the contradictions, the surprises, the privacy of the mind laid bare. PD James excels at all of this; she remains my favourite author of crime fiction, and Adam Dalgliesh my favourite detective.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Apr 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
The éminence grise of British detective fiction, James delivers another ruminative puzzler, generous in character, graceful in prose.
James writes with such ease and juggles her plots and characters with such control that none of this gets out of hand. . . Alas, James's efforts to inject suspense into Dalgliesh's romantic life are less effective. . .
There is no mistaking P. D. James's latest mystery for the work of a younger writer. . . Her characters are confused by euros and annoyed by mobile phones. . . Despite her elegiac frame of mind, Ms. James has not lost her taste for a good throttling.
It's a general rule of fiction that authors are happiest creating characters closest to their own age. This is because all fiction is broadly autobiographical. Male novelists in their early 20s create wincingly convincing teenagers but - by their 60s - are sketching adolescents who are merely embarrassing sexual fantasies. As an octogenarian novelist, James is showing similar difficulties of characterisation. . .
added by christiguc | editThe Guardian, Mark Lawson (Jul 5, 2003)
I've never really got Dalgleish. His combination of policing skill and artistic sensibility - he's an acclaimed poet - has always struck a false note for me, especially given that he's so emotionally constrained. . . In The Murder Room, even his detective skills are more assumed than demonstrated. Several people, Dalgleish included, comment on his ability to get people to tell him things. Yet in this book, you have no idea why. All he seems to do is enter a room, ask a question and the admissions come thick and fast. . . Once she does begin, though, she doesn't relent until the genuinely chilling climax. Patrician, eccentric, but still a delight.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Danielsson, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Demange, OdileTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keating, CharlesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seibicke, Christa E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
To my two sons-in-law
Lyn Flook
Peter Duncan McLeod
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On Friday 25 October, exactly one week before the first body was discovered at the Dupayne Museum, Adam Dalgliesh visited the museum for the first time.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141015535, Paperback)

Commander Adam Dalgliesh is already acquainted with the Dupayne Museum in Hampstead, and with its sinister murder room celebrating notorious crimes committed in the interwar years, when he is called to investigate the killing of one of the trustees. He soon discovers that the victim was seeking to close the museum against the wishes of both staff and fellow trustees. Everyone, it seems, has something to gain from the crime. When it becomes clear that the killer is prepared to kill again, inspired by the real-life crimes from the murder room, Dalgliesh knows that to solve this case he has to get into the mind of a ruthless killer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The Dupayne, a small private museum on the edge of London's Hampstead Heath devoted to the interwar years 1919-39, is in turmoil. The trustees--the three children of the museum founder, old Max Dupayne--are bitterly at odds over whether it should be closed. Then one of them is brutally murdered, and what seemed to be no more than a family dispute erupts into horror. For even as Commander Adam Dalgiesh and his team investigate the first killing, a second corpse is discovered. Clearly, someone at the Dupayne is prepared to kill, and kill again. The case is fraught with danger and complexity from the outset, not least because of the range of possible suspects--and victims. And still more sinister, the murders appear to echo the notorious crimes of th epast featured in one of the museum's most popular galleries, the Murder Room. For Dalgiesh, P.D. James's formidable detective, the search for the murderer poses an unexpected complication. After years of bachelorhood, he has embarked on a promising new relationship with Emma Lavenham--first introduced in Death in Holy Orders--which is at a critical stage. Yet his struggle to solve the Dupayne murders faces him with a frustrating dilemma: each new development distances him further from commitment to the woman he loves. The Murder Room is a story dark with the passions that lie at the heart of crime, a masterful work of psychological intricacy.… (more)

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