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Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James's formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 19 Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James's formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 1939, is in turmoil. As its trustees argue over whether it should be closed, one of them is brutally and mysteriously murdered. Yet even as Commander Dalgliesh and his team proceed with their investigation, a second corpse is discovered. Someone in the Dupayne is prepared to kill and kill again. Still more sinister, the murders appear to echo the notorious crimes of the past featured in one of the museum's galleries: the Murder Room. The case is fraught with danger and complications from the outset, but for Dalgliesh the complications are unexpectedly profound. His new relationship with Emma Lavenham -- introduced in the last Dalgliesh novel, Death in Holy Orders -- is at a critical stage. Now, as he moves closer and closer to a solution to the puzzle, he finds himself driven further and further from commitment to the woman he loves. The Murder Room is a powerful work of mystery and psychological intricacy from a master of the modern novel.


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Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James's formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 19 Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James's formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love. The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 1939, is in turmoil. As its trustees argue over whether it should be closed, one of them is brutally and mysteriously murdered. Yet even as Commander Dalgliesh and his team proceed with their investigation, a second corpse is discovered. Someone in the Dupayne is prepared to kill and kill again. Still more sinister, the murders appear to echo the notorious crimes of the past featured in one of the museum's galleries: the Murder Room. The case is fraught with danger and complications from the outset, but for Dalgliesh the complications are unexpectedly profound. His new relationship with Emma Lavenham -- introduced in the last Dalgliesh novel, Death in Holy Orders -- is at a critical stage. Now, as he moves closer and closer to a solution to the puzzle, he finds himself driven further and further from commitment to the woman he loves. The Murder Room is a powerful work of mystery and psychological intricacy from a master of the modern novel.

30 review for The Murder Room

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    An undercurrent in PD James Adam Dalgleish novels is that most people are lonely, living their life in neat, compartmentalised boxes & only occasionally coming out to interact with their fellow man. This was a wonderful mystery about murders at a fictitious London museum, The DuPayne. A lot of clever twists & turns (including a red herring that had me convinced I had guessed the murderer!)Maybe a little too much about the minutiae in the (mostly lonely and/or solitary) cha An undercurrent in PD James Adam Dalgleish novels is that most people are lonely, living their life in neat, compartmentalised boxes & only occasionally coming out to interact with their fellow man. This was a wonderful mystery about murders at a fictitious London museum, The DuPayne. A lot of clever twists & turns (including a red herring that had me convinced I had guessed the murderer!)Maybe a little too much about the minutiae in the (mostly lonely and/or solitary) characters' lives & I could have done without James getting on her soapbox about education, healthcare for the mentally ill & British social services, but future generations may be fascinated the way I am by the background information in Golden Age mysteries. I thought there were a few rough edges, but everything was explained most satisfactorially & (view spoiler)[the last chapter with Adam & Emma's love story was beautiful - especially the letter Adam wrote to Emma. Romantic & literary. Nice to have the sleuth in a mystery involved in a love affair that doesn't set my teeth on edge! (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Murder Room is all that a murder-mystery should be. Intriguing and clever mystery plot, an exciting story, an interesting set of characters, including the suspects, and well-balanced writing. After my previous disappointment, I approached this novel with caution and without expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised and am happy to find that, at last, this is one book in the series that I could claim to have truly enjoyed. In all the eleven preceding books of the series, I found some compl The Murder Room is all that a murder-mystery should be. Intriguing and clever mystery plot, an exciting story, an interesting set of characters, including the suspects, and well-balanced writing. After my previous disappointment, I approached this novel with caution and without expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised and am happy to find that, at last, this is one book in the series that I could claim to have truly enjoyed. In all the eleven preceding books of the series, I found some complaint or other which stopped me from fully enjoying their stories. This was true even for A Certain Justice which for me had the cleverest plot in the Dalgliesh series so far. But now with The Murder Room, I can say that series gave me at least one book to enjoy without a grumble. The murder-mystery was cleverly written, setting the story at a reasonably quick pace. The story was truly intriguing, burning the readers with impatience to know how things will turn out, who the criminal is and what was the driving motive. The criminal and motive were easy to guess, but James threw in some complications by introducing a few conflicting motives. Knowing James's style by now, I didn't waver in my conviction, but I admit that she certainly threw in some pretty intelligent twists and turns, and almost deceived us. A word must be said about the characters. It was a diverse set chosen from very different backgrounds. Their separate lives interested me. I was able to connect with many of them comfortably. Like in some of her other novels, James had not taken upon her to deliberately make her characters antagonistic or evil. She has balanced them well and has let her readers decide on who is who. That was something I found relieving. The writing was smooth and balanced, not too wordy, and not too much probing into the psychologies of the characters. James can be really tiresome with her detailed descriptions of places and characters and too much exposure to their inner minds. I've experienced that time and again, but mercifully, here we see somewhat more "tamed" writing without too much enthusiasm showed for details. I also found the writing to be quite sensitive which I truly appreciated. Now we come to our most important character - Commander Adam Dalgliesh. Personally, I think this novel is where Dalgliesh was portrayed in his best element. He showed a lot of his humane side here. His authority never slackens, but his tact and sensitivity to the suspects show a very patient and compassionate man. And the exposure into his personal life interested me nearly as much as the murder-mystery. After knowing him for months, I'm truly happy that he finally found love! :) The Murder Room is the best murder-mystery of the Dalgliesh series so far, and I sincerely hope that James will keep this form and that the rest of the books in the series will be equally enjoyable.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I struggled to finish this book. It wasn't just that it was not to my taste (and I read a lot of crime novels). It certainly is not, as it says on the tin, 'Classic, guaranteed to delight all crime addicts.' We're introduced to commander Dalgliesh in chap 1-2. There then follows 8 or 9 chapters devoted to the background of all the potential culprits – straightforward info-dumping on a mighty scale. The narrative ground to a halt while we get background background background. Then the murder occur I struggled to finish this book. It wasn't just that it was not to my taste (and I read a lot of crime novels). It certainly is not, as it says on the tin, 'Classic, guaranteed to delight all crime addicts.' We're introduced to commander Dalgliesh in chap 1-2. There then follows 8 or 9 chapters devoted to the background of all the potential culprits – straightforward info-dumping on a mighty scale. The narrative ground to a halt while we get background background background. Then the murder occurs and the detective trudges us round to each character again asking questions – as formulaic and enlightening as a game of Cluedo. The story repeatedly introduced characters or storylines and then dropped them. The detective hopes a relationship with a woman will prosper – then we don't hear of the woman again for 300 pages, and then only briefly. Next, a couple of detectives snipe at each, and then we learn nothing more of their rivalry. A character is introduced in chap 1-2 and then only appears fleetingly several hundred pages later. None of these characters/storylines impinge on the plot. Disappointing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    I read this almost cover to cover. An intriguing mystery with lots of red herrings and suspects. There. Are also clues in the text which I complete missed. The Dupayne museum on Hampstead Heath with its murder room of murders past. The dysfunctional Dupayne family. Marcus, Caroline and Neville. Odd staff. A gruesome murder and Adam Dalgliesh on the case. The build up to the murder is well done and everyone appears to have a motive for murder. Ryan, the Dupayne’s, the curator, Tally, Muriel, a my I read this almost cover to cover. An intriguing mystery with lots of red herrings and suspects. There. Are also clues in the text which I complete missed. The Dupayne museum on Hampstead Heath with its murder room of murders past. The dysfunctional Dupayne family. Marcus, Caroline and Neville. Odd staff. A gruesome murder and Adam Dalgliesh on the case. The build up to the murder is well done and everyone appears to have a motive for murder. Ryan, the Dupayne’s, the curator, Tally, Muriel, a mystery man and a few odd visitors to the museum. In the end if is all neatly wrapped up. I also liked the four motives for murder are loathing, lucre, lust and love. The sub plot love story was unnecessary.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder… I am, to be honest, finding P D James mo The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder… I am, to be honest, finding P D James more hard going than I had anticipated although, to be fair, it may be reading the series one after the other, which is highlighting some of the more annoying aspects of her writing – including a wealth of detail about everything. James sets the scene minutely; from musing on what even minor characters feel, to the objects on a mantelpiece, it can, frankly, become a little too much irrelevant information. That said, I do like her writing and this was an interesting setting, with a good cast of characters. Unusually, this novel also shows a little more of Dalgliesh personally, as he years romantically for Emma Lavenham, who he met in the previous book. I look forward to reading the whole of the series, but I do feel that these mysteries could be shorter and have gained, rather than lost.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    Yet another impressive chapter in the Dalgliesh series by P.D. James. I did see the film years ago but only brief snatches of it played in my head while reading the book. So you know it must not have been memorable to me. This one was full of impressive twists and turns. Only two more full Dalgliesh novels for me after this one and the short story collections.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    A reasonable enough mystery, but not top-notch, and with a very contrived feel. What are the chances that an innocent motorist leaving the scene of a copy-cat crime would just happen to say the exact same words that the murderer in the original crime did? The whole book has a similar air of unreality. I have written in previous reviews of PD James’ books that she has a tendency to go on about particular social issues in an annoying way, in book after book. To this list I will now add drinks. What A reasonable enough mystery, but not top-notch, and with a very contrived feel. What are the chances that an innocent motorist leaving the scene of a copy-cat crime would just happen to say the exact same words that the murderer in the original crime did? The whole book has a similar air of unreality. I have written in previous reviews of PD James’ books that she has a tendency to go on about particular social issues in an annoying way, in book after book. To this list I will now add drinks. What people are drinking occupies a lot of the book. We have to know all about why the team is drinking decaff. We are taken to a world where people refer to instant coffee almost exclusively as “Nescafé”. Similarly, no one talks about benefit as such, only specifically Jobseeker’s Allowance. But James clearly doesn’t know as much about how things work as she thinks she does. No museum allows free entry to people on JSA but not to people on Income Support. Anyway, back to the social issues. Some examples: Hobby horse #1: Housing In every one of the Dalgleish series I have read, we hear all about Kate Miskin’s previous housing. “Wasn’t it ambition that had lifted her from that barricaded seventh-floor flat in an inner-city block to a flat which had once seemed the height of achievement?” Loyal readers of the series will be astonished to read this quote. It does not mention the name of the building! That must surely be a first. But don’t worry. It gets mentioned several times in the rest of the book. We also get a lot (and I mean a lot) of time spent describing the posh houses vs. the hovel that the people on benefit live in. A lot. Guess what? The people on benefits are slobby and dirty. The others are neat and fastidious. And they don't drink Nescafe. Hobby horse #2: University admissions This is banged on about time and time again. I will give two examples: Kate: “What about that Oxford degree in theology?” Piers: “I’ve explained that. It was the easiest way to get into Oxbridge. Now, of course, I would just transfer to a deprived inner-city state school and with luck, the government would make Oxbridge take me.” Mrs Faraday: “University was obviously out of the question, even one at the bottom of the league tables where they’re so desperate to keep up the numbers that I’m told they’ll take people who are barely literate.” (OK, so this is true.) Other silliness: Kate Miskin sees a baby, described as “wearing a short frilled dress in pink cotton with an embroidered bib of daisies and a white knitted cardigan.” Using her incredible deductive powers, “Kate thought that it must be a girl." In summary, the idea behind the book was alright. It just wasn't implemented very well. It strained the possibilities of coincidence and lacked any sense of credibility. And also, PD James can be quite annoying. I'm sure she has, bottled up in her somewhere, a book along the lines of Eats Shoots and Leaves that allows her to drone on about housing and coffee and benefits and university and schools and god knows what else, at great length. It's in there somewhere, but it's just escaping bit by bit into every book she writes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    My first P. D. James book. The detective and main character of this murder mystery, Commander Adam Dalgleish, has appeared in many of P. D. James' other books and though this story is bookended by his continued desire for a romance with a woman named Emma who also appeared in a previous story, being unfamiliar with Dalgleish's other cases does not distract or detract from the enjoyment of this one. James' writing style is of literary caliber and her plotting superb. I was completely unable to fig My first P. D. James book. The detective and main character of this murder mystery, Commander Adam Dalgleish, has appeared in many of P. D. James' other books and though this story is bookended by his continued desire for a romance with a woman named Emma who also appeared in a previous story, being unfamiliar with Dalgleish's other cases does not distract or detract from the enjoyment of this one. James' writing style is of literary caliber and her plotting superb. I was completely unable to figure out who the murderer was because several characters seemed to have motives and a couple just looked like they could have done it. The characters are described in a 112-page exposition (BOOK ONE: The People and the Place) before anyone gets killed. The place is the fictitious Depayne Museum on the fringes of Hampstead Heath in London, an institution devoted to British history between the two World Wars. The Murder Room, which is within the museum, is devoted to exhibits about and artifacts from notorious murders that took place during those years. The stage is set, and the three heirs of the Depayne family are due to sign a new lease on the museum their father began. According to the terms of his will, his two sons and his daughter must all agree to sign or the museum will be forced to close its doors. Two of the heirs are closely involved with the work of the museum and are passionate about keeping it open. The third is adamant about its being closed. The people who work inside the museum and on the grounds outside also have their thoughts and feelings. One of the siblings has just been made the new museum director by the trustees, and he wants to cut the staff. In a few days the decision about that must be made. You may well imagine that something's got to give. The plot becomes intricate and we find that most of the characters have a secret of one kind or another, mostly unrelated to the case, that they don't wish to come out. Who's really telling the whole truth here? Which things would push someone to murder? More tricky to work out here than in many cases.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Formulaic, but still entertaining as all get out. Dalgliesh and Co. are called upon to figure out who's using some famous murders from the 1920's and 30's as templates for a series of murders in and around a small niche museum near Hampstead Heath. As is usual with a whodunnit from James, there is no shortage of acerbic, depressive and agnostic/atheistic suspects to choose from. Nor is there any doubt that each of these suspects (and for that matter, the detectives) will have their homes (both ext Formulaic, but still entertaining as all get out. Dalgliesh and Co. are called upon to figure out who's using some famous murders from the 1920's and 30's as templates for a series of murders in and around a small niche museum near Hampstead Heath. As is usual with a whodunnit from James, there is no shortage of acerbic, depressive and agnostic/atheistic suspects to choose from. Nor is there any doubt that each of these suspects (and for that matter, the detectives) will have their homes (both exterior and interior) described in minute detail -- leading this reader to suspect that James is a thwarted home decorator... Regardless, James once again gives good value to readers who enjoy police procedurals in merrie old England. *** Added brownie points go to Dalgliesh for channelling his inner Captain Wentworth of Persuasion fame as his stilted love affair with Emma Lavenham marches on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder… I am, to be honest, finding P D James mo The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder… I am, to be honest, finding P D James more hard going than I had anticipated although, to be fair, it may be reading the series one after the other, which is highlighting some of the more annoying aspects of her writing – including a wealth of detail about everything. James sets the scene minutely; from musing on what even minor characters feel, to the objects on a mantelpiece, it can, frankly, become a little too much irrelevant information. That said, I do like her writing and this was an interesting setting, with a good cast of characters. Unusually, this novel also shows a little more of Dalgliesh personally, as he years romantically for Emma Lavenham, who he met in the previous book. I look forward to reading the whole of the series, but I do feel that these mysteries could be shorter and have gained, rather than lost.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ryburn

    Love James's detective fiction which is more literary than some of the "literary fiction" I find on book store shelves today. Her prose has that reliability that I crave in a novel. Similar to Dickens, really, I can just sit back, read, enjoy, and trust that at no point will she affront me with bad sentence structure, awkward dialogue-jargon attempting to sound "realistic," or even the occasional punctuation malfunction. Flawless. And completely enjoyable. That her subject matter happens to be m Love James's detective fiction which is more literary than some of the "literary fiction" I find on book store shelves today. Her prose has that reliability that I crave in a novel. Similar to Dickens, really, I can just sit back, read, enjoy, and trust that at no point will she affront me with bad sentence structure, awkward dialogue-jargon attempting to sound "realistic," or even the occasional punctuation malfunction. Flawless. And completely enjoyable. That her subject matter happens to be murder doesn't tarnish this experience for me at all. This particular novel comes immediately after Death in Holy Orders in which Adam Dalgliesh met and fell for Professor Emma Lavenham. This novel presents a continuation of their story, but their romance is marginal subplot at best. No one could justly accuse James, or her detective hero, of mixing personal and professional lives. He compartmentalizes well, perhaps, too well. Still their reunion (or union, dare I hint) at the end is nicely written. I particularly liked the reference to Captain Wentworth. James has claimed Austen as a literary influence, so this is a lovely homage. Fits James's character, too. Commander Dalgliesh doesn't pen his missive on the sly while eaves-dropping on his beloved's whispered confessions to someone else; he composes his carefully a week earlier against the possibility of the worst (which he thinks may have happened at this novel's closing). Almost like the careful, conscientious murderer, thinking ahead of the possible contingencies. Perhaps a danger of his professional expertise? Personal and professional lives may blend more than one supposes...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lainie

    Good lord, this was excruciating. I picked a murder mystery by a well loved author to chase my previous read, which had been the opposite of a page turner. What a disappointment. I realize this is only one of many PD James novels, but it gave me no incentive to try the others. Super slow build, an author who tells you instead of showing you, with interminable descriptions of interiors, faces, gardens, and clothing, none of which are anywhere near relevant to the plot. At some point, I had to sta Good lord, this was excruciating. I picked a murder mystery by a well loved author to chase my previous read, which had been the opposite of a page turner. What a disappointment. I realize this is only one of many PD James novels, but it gave me no incentive to try the others. Super slow build, an author who tells you instead of showing you, with interminable descriptions of interiors, faces, gardens, and clothing, none of which are anywhere near relevant to the plot. At some point, I had to start skipping over the details of each newly introduced character's facial features, hair and eye color, eyebrow shape, and cheekbones. And what a surprise: doing so didn't cost me points in seeing the killer's identity from a mile away. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that PD James dictates her stories; she appears to love the sound of her own voice. If you love formulaic murder mysteries with an upper class British accent, and you need a book that doesn't tug at you when you set it aside, this might be for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This is the second P. D. James book that I read and the book that turned me into a fan. While it is true that James spends a large amount of time setting up her characters, I like that. I enjoy it because when a death occurs, it feels like a death and not a plot point. Too often in murder mysteries the death is forgotten. The victim is simply an agent to get the plot moving. James' never forgets, or lets the reader forget, that someone who had a life died. This is the second P. D. James book that I read and the book that turned me into a fan. While it is true that James spends a large amount of time setting up her characters, I like that. I enjoy it because when a death occurs, it feels like a death and not a plot point. Too often in murder mysteries the death is forgotten. The victim is simply an agent to get the plot moving. James' never forgets, or lets the reader forget, that someone who had a life died.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    ** Spoilers ** Pretty yawny and dull with the usual pompous writing I now associate with PDJ from her middle books onwards. Not even the sudden uncovering of a posh people's swingers club can liven things up! Kate continues to feel awkward about her working class background; PDJ is on a soapbox about how state school students get into Oxbridge no matter how illiterate they are; and quite why a supposedly ace police team of a commander, two detective inspectors and a sergeant are needed for a murd ** Spoilers ** Pretty yawny and dull with the usual pompous writing I now associate with PDJ from her middle books onwards. Not even the sudden uncovering of a posh people's swingers club can liven things up! Kate continues to feel awkward about her working class background; PDJ is on a soapbox about how state school students get into Oxbridge no matter how illiterate they are; and quite why a supposedly ace police team of a commander, two detective inspectors and a sergeant are needed for a murder in a small museum, is never made clear. We have the usual churn of hundreds of pages of backstory as well as minute descriptions of every piece of furniture in every room we enter - and the murderer confesses again at the end, a theme through many of PDJ's mysteries. And just in case the motive for a murder seems unbelievable even with a pull-it-out-of-the-bag revelation, James adds a second motive on top, equally unsubstantiated by everything we've already read. And has there ever been a more stilted and repressed love affair than the absurdities of Dalgleish and Emma? He has to cancel a date at the last minute and rather than call her to apologise he writes her a note and posts it from London to Cambridge. And without them ever having kissed or slept together, he proposes marriage in another ridiculously self-conscious letter... and waits at the end of the train platform while Emma reads it - talk about arms-length love! Slow, plodding, and about four times the length that the story requires (I skipped all the minutiae of described wallpaper and artworks - originals, natch! Oh, and no-one has bookshelves of paperbacks only leather-bound, gold-toolled tomes - urgh), as usual Dalgleish and team just miraculously know who the murderer is but have no evidence - lucky so many of them confess, then, in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Larry Bassett

    You have to be patient for the murders to come on This is my first PD James and it is very English. It did seem like we had to go through all the characters slowly until the first murder. I guess this is part of the series and the lead detective has a history of prior stories. I do not know if it would've been more enjoyable if I would have been dollar jumble of that prior history. The investigative unit is a special one dealing with sensitive information although the details of that information You have to be patient for the murders to come on This is my first PD James and it is very English. It did seem like we had to go through all the characters slowly until the first murder. I guess this is part of the series and the lead detective has a history of prior stories. I do not know if it would've been more enjoyable if I would have been dollar jumble of that prior history. The investigative unit is a special one dealing with sensitive information although the details of that information were not clear to me for most of the book Intel one of the individuals involved in the mystery turned out to be a member of the House of Lords. There was a somewhat subtle aspect of the story suggesting that a positive character was not necessarily connected with the social status of an individual. A common or could be more commendable then aristocrat. There were plenty of highfalutin characters in the book with questionable aspects.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emilia Barnes

    I think that, though it isn't absolutely necessary, it would have helped were I more familiar with Dalgliesh and some of the other characters, for this one. The lack of proper context made some aspects of the novel (which I would have otherwise enjoyed) slightly difficult to follow/sympathise with. Other than that, P.D. James has her style of writing - it's a beautiful style, she's a very good writer, but it's detailed to the point of pedantism, and features a lot of perspectives, which might no I think that, though it isn't absolutely necessary, it would have helped were I more familiar with Dalgliesh and some of the other characters, for this one. The lack of proper context made some aspects of the novel (which I would have otherwise enjoyed) slightly difficult to follow/sympathise with. Other than that, P.D. James has her style of writing - it's a beautiful style, she's a very good writer, but it's detailed to the point of pedantism, and features a lot of perspectives, which might not appeal to everyone. It's therefore a little self-indulgent. My own tastes run rather in the opposite direction: When a writer takes me on little side-tracks and puts me in heads of people I don't care to know that well, I feel sort of like when I'm waiting for someone to arrive for an appointment and they are terribly late. My patience is short, and I feel like someone is playing fast and loose with my time, which I don't appreciate. It's otherwise a competently put together story, with enough of a body count to satisfy the most blood-thirsty of crime readers.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I think I'm too much of a snob for good old mystery novels, but nope, I become intrigued and immerse myself in them. After reading The Murder Room for a literature discussion group I found myself checking out five other mysteries by P.D. James. Whodunits are fun! 10-07-2013. I'm glad it's been seven years since I read Murder Room. I don't feel quite so embarrassed to say that I didn't remember anything about it until the scene of the first murder ... and even that reminisence doesn't bring the re I think I'm too much of a snob for good old mystery novels, but nope, I become intrigued and immerse myself in them. After reading The Murder Room for a literature discussion group I found myself checking out five other mysteries by P.D. James. Whodunits are fun! 10-07-2013. I'm glad it's been seven years since I read Murder Room. I don't feel quite so embarrassed to say that I didn't remember anything about it until the scene of the first murder ... and even that reminisence doesn't bring the rest of the plot to mind. I'm as much in the dark as if I'd picked it up for the first time! That's okay - I'll just enjoy it again, this time with a better feeling for who exactly Commander Adam Dalgliesh is.

  18. 4 out of 5

    L.M. Krier

    It's a mark of the high quality of P D James' writing that I was prepared to wait until p130 (of the French translation in hardback) for the first body. Although this is a twenty-first century murder mystery, there is such a wonderfully old world quality about the writing, it could almost be a Christie. That's due in no part to the strong characterisation of lead policeman Commander Adam Dalgliesh, the impeccably polite and restrained policeman-poet. It's easy to imagine him working alongside Mis It's a mark of the high quality of P D James' writing that I was prepared to wait until p130 (of the French translation in hardback) for the first body. Although this is a twenty-first century murder mystery, there is such a wonderfully old world quality about the writing, it could almost be a Christie. That's due in no part to the strong characterisation of lead policeman Commander Adam Dalgliesh, the impeccably polite and restrained policeman-poet. It's easy to imagine him working alongside Miss Marple. His stiff formality could make him a bit of a cold fish but in this volume, we see a somewhat unexpected romantic side to him which is rather endearing. The plot revolves around a private museum which contains a murder room, with exhibits from historical crimes. The three siblings who run it need to sign to renew a lease on the property to keep it open for future posterity. Only one of the three is no longer interested and feels it should be shut. Unsurprisingly, this leads to a modern crime, mimicking one of the older ones in the exhibition. Other deaths follow, not always the ones the reader might be expecting. There's rather a clever twist involving the title of the third section of the book. For those who like graphic and frequent violence and a classic police procedural, this may not fit the bill. It's more quietly cerebral, though all the cleverer for it. Four stars from me, without hesitation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    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. 4* An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray, #1) 4* The Skull Beneath The Skin (Cordelia Gray, #2) 4* Innocent Blood 3* The Child 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. 4* An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray, #1) 4* The Skull Beneath The Skin (Cordelia Gray, #2) 4* Innocent Blood 3* The Children of Men Adam Dalgliesh series: 4* Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1) 4* A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2) 4* Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3) 5* Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) 5* The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5) 5* Death of an Expert Witness (Adam Dalgliesh, #6) 5* A Taste for Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7) 3* Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh, #8) 5* A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10) 4* Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11) 4* The Murder Room (Adam Dalgliesh, #12) 3* The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14) TR Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9) TR The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh, #13)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Locke

    If you're looking for a murder-y type crime book, you can do no better than PD James. This was my second PD James read; I now proclaim myself a fan. The Murder Room is crime fiction that I would put beside any piece of literary fiction out on bookshelves. The writing is complex and nuanced; characters are fully and beautifully realized, and James portrays them all with the utmost sensitivity and respect. The London setting made the book a wonderfully fun read for me, as did Adam Dalgliesh's burg If you're looking for a murder-y type crime book, you can do no better than PD James. This was my second PD James read; I now proclaim myself a fan. The Murder Room is crime fiction that I would put beside any piece of literary fiction out on bookshelves. The writing is complex and nuanced; characters are fully and beautifully realized, and James portrays them all with the utmost sensitivity and respect. The London setting made the book a wonderfully fun read for me, as did Adam Dalgliesh's burgeoning romance. I left feeling totally satisfied.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book took me some time to get into as James is heavy on description and detail and I just wanted her to get on with the story. She won me over though somewhere around two-thirds of the way through. I began to appreciate what at the beginning I found annoying. She definitely has her own style of writing and I can see why she has such a large fan base. My husband likes all of her books that feature Inspector Adam Dalgleisch, the Scotland Yard detective who solves the crimes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really liked this at the beginning, the character development especially, but once the murder investigation kicked off I lost some interest. I think Dalgliesh was so seldom in this book I didn't know who he was as a person. I wasn't impressed with some of the techniques James used to unfold the mystery. I wasn't a fan of this but I didn't hate it either. I really liked this at the beginning, the character development especially, but once the murder investigation kicked off I lost some interest. I think Dalgliesh was so seldom in this book I didn't know who he was as a person. I wasn't impressed with some of the techniques James used to unfold the mystery. I wasn't a fan of this but I didn't hate it either.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jerry B

    Pleasing but "slowish" 16th novel from great British writer... PD James, "a", if not "the", grand dame of English mystery literature, has given us yet another in the Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh series. Fundamentally police procedurals, James' novels typically employ very solid character work and evocative scene setting to channel our thoughts and imagery along many more lines than just the "whodunit" plot at hand. Making some allowances for our author's 83 years of age, we find some o Pleasing but "slowish" 16th novel from great British writer... PD James, "a", if not "the", grand dame of English mystery literature, has given us yet another in the Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh series. Fundamentally police procedurals, James' novels typically employ very solid character work and evocative scene setting to channel our thoughts and imagery along many more lines than just the "whodunit" plot at hand. Making some allowances for our author's 83 years of age, we find some of the familiar setup work and drawing out of personas as in her earlier writing. But the plot per se is like a long and somewhat tiring game of "Clue"! Set in an obscure DuPayne Museum, dedicated to art, literature, and criminal murder activities of England between the two world wars (talk about a narrow niche), we soon become all too familiar with the limited cast of players, almost for sure one of whom is the villain, presuming some crime is in the offing. It takes a full 100 pages or so before a murder occurs to get things moving, and before it's over, a second murder and a third attempt happen before the perpetrator is ID'd -- who then makes things easy with an almost immediate confession. A mysterious driver leaving the scene is one of a few red herrings not cleared up til near the end. And a small sub-plot involving Adam's fledgling romance with college prof Emma, and whether marriage is on the horizon, is almost as compelling a mystery as the central story, despite the very few pages devoted to it. We feel this is a good book but not the best of the author's efforts. The middle book gets really dry, yet Adam's love life difficulties could have added a lot of fun and human interest had it been given more air time. Some of the familiar sidekicks, especially faithful Kate Miskin, seemed to get shorter shrift than usual somewhat to our dismay. While we are more than glad to see PD back, and generally enjoyed the "Murder Room", this book leads us to fear there may not be too much pizzazz left in the aged pen.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Listened to in audio format. The Murder Room is the fourth book I have listened to in the Commander Dalgleish (AD) series. When I first started listening to these books I thought the descriptions of places and people were too long and tedious. Now I am on my fourth book in the series and I have totally changed my mind. This series is so much more than a police procedural, the language is beautiful and the characters so very English. There is always a build up to the murder so you get to know the vi Listened to in audio format. The Murder Room is the fourth book I have listened to in the Commander Dalgleish (AD) series. When I first started listening to these books I thought the descriptions of places and people were too long and tedious. Now I am on my fourth book in the series and I have totally changed my mind. This series is so much more than a police procedural, the language is beautiful and the characters so very English. There is always a build up to the murder so you get to know the victim and possible suspects first. I am glad that AD has found a love interest in Emma Lavenham. She does not appear in the book much but it appears that the course love is not running smoothly. I look forward to listening to The Private Patient which is the last I own in the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Khris Sellin

    Fun police procedural, marred only by the author’s insistence on describing every room everyone walks into in excruciating detail. I think she wants to make sure, if any of her books are made into TV movies (have they been? I don’t know), the set designer will know exactly what kind of throw cushions to buy. Also, it was kind of a Scooby Doo ending, and I’m still not sure I totally understand the murderer’s motive.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    RTC on here and The Pewter Wolf A slow start (character development of victim and circle of suspects who work or who are involved in the Dupayne Museum), but once the first murder happened, this moves as a nice pace, building to a nice, gripping crescendo. Though at times, the writing is a tad much for my taste, I am very intrigued to try more of her novels (I have, I think, four other novels on my kindle and one collection of short stories to read). RTC on here and The Pewter Wolf A slow start (character development of victim and circle of suspects who work or who are involved in the Dupayne Museum), but once the first murder happened, this moves as a nice pace, building to a nice, gripping crescendo. Though at times, the writing is a tad much for my taste, I am very intrigued to try more of her novels (I have, I think, four other novels on my kindle and one collection of short stories to read).

  27. 4 out of 5

    A.K. Kulshreshth

    One of the many books that blur the line between "genre" and "literary" fiction. As other reviewers have commented, it takes a long time for the first dead body to appear. The setting and characters are developed at a leisurely pace. One of the many books that blur the line between "genre" and "literary" fiction. As other reviewers have commented, it takes a long time for the first dead body to appear. The setting and characters are developed at a leisurely pace.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

    The Murder Room by P.D. James Knopf, 432 pages, hardback, 2003 The small Dupayne Museum, on the edge of a large area of parkland, Hampstead Heath, in North London, houses exhibitions devoted to life in Britain between the two World Wars. Although the museum draws relatively few visitors, it does have one perennially popular attraction, the Murder Room, containing exhibits related to the most notorious murders of the period. Old Max Dupayne, its founder, willed that his three children — Neville, Caroline a The Murder Room by P.D. James Knopf, 432 pages, hardback, 2003 The small Dupayne Museum, on the edge of a large area of parkland, Hampstead Heath, in North London, houses exhibitions devoted to life in Britain between the two World Wars. Although the museum draws relatively few visitors, it does have one perennially popular attraction, the Murder Room, containing exhibits related to the most notorious murders of the period. Old Max Dupayne, its founder, willed that his three children — Neville, Caroline and Marcus — should have unanimously to agree any important decision related to the museum, and what could be more important than that its lease is due for renewal? This is, in effect, a decision as to whether or not the museum should continue to exist, which Neville alone among the three feels strongly it should not. Then Neville is murdered gruesomely in the museum garage, in a manner reminiscent of one of the killings celebrated in the Murder Room. Commander Adam Dalgleish and his officers of Scotland Yard's Special Investigation Squad are immediately called in; the crime is sensitive because one of the museum's staffers is a sleeper for MI5 — hence the prompt involvement of the SIS as opposed to a more routine squad. Before their investigation is done, another apparently copycat murder victim will be discovered — this time right inside the Murder Room itself — and many secrets will be laid bare. The first 110 pages or so of this novel are taken up with a section called "The People and the Place." During this section almost nothing of relevance to the novel's plot takes place that could not be covered elsewhere in a few paragraphs. What we are treated to are, more or less, vastly expanded versions of the character notes that many writers make preparatory to undertaking a novel, so that they may ensure consistency of background and of behaviour. In the hands of a defter and more graceful writer than James, this long preamble might nonetheless be absorbing; however, James has always had a somewhat lumbering, drab prose style, so that for large tracts of this section one has the feeling of being subjected to some sort of literary endurance test. And then, a few pages before the section's end, the plot starts. This transition, however, does not curb James's urge to dollop further frequent bucketsful of exposition into her text. It seems at times that virtually every stray thought of, particularly, Dalgleish and his sidekick Miskin must be qualified by a ponderously long paragraph or three of explanation as to why they had this thought. It took a long time for me to work out why James should be indulging in this sort of apparent padding — this almost obsessive level of amplification of each action or thought — but finally I realized that it was because she was having difficulty getting her characters to come alive on the page. All these extraneous passages were attempts to conceal this; they were substitutes for characterization. Almost the sole character in the book who really does live and breathe is the museum's housekeeper, Tally; the rest, Dalgleish included, are essentially cyphers — collections of often stereotyped attributes rather than real people. By the end of the book, the cumbersomeness of James's prose begins to work in her favor, in that by then a slow but unstoppable momentum has built up. It's arguably worth persisting with The Murder Room until that happens, but I suspect many readers will have abandoned the novel before then. This review, first published by Crescent Blues, is excerpted from my ebook Warm Words and Otherwise: A Blizzard of Book Reviews, to be published on September 19 by Infinity Plus Ebooks.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dana Clinton

    Yesterday I composed most of a good review for The Murder Room (P.D. James), then lost it when I tried to insert a French accent!! My computer doesn't indicate whether I have the number lock on or not, and that little problem can lead to deleted work, zut alors! So let's try again! I have read other mysteries in this series and really love the way P.D. James writes. Her books are well constructed and written with flair as well as creating believable characters. I adore the asides and the literar Yesterday I composed most of a good review for The Murder Room (P.D. James), then lost it when I tried to insert a French accent!! My computer doesn't indicate whether I have the number lock on or not, and that little problem can lead to deleted work, zut alors! So let's try again! I have read other mysteries in this series and really love the way P.D. James writes. Her books are well constructed and written with flair as well as creating believable characters. I adore the asides and the literary references, even when I don't understand every one. In this book, we have a series of murders (the chapter titles will let you know that immediately, so it isn't a spoiler), all happening in or near the Dupayne Museum, a museum devoted to the years in Britain between the two world wars. There are rooms devoted to all aspects of life at that time (social norms, literature, etc.) and including a room where the most famous of headline murders have been put on display with newspaper accounts and concrete articles relating to the crimes. The museum was the brainchild and love of a man whose three children inherited it and are not all in agreement as to its future. There is a host of other characters associated with either the museum of one of the three siblings, and sometimes both, with satisfying discoveries as you read along. One of these is Tally Clutton, who is the general housekeeper for the museum and lives in an adjoining cottage. She has a very simple outlook on living: "She was not, he knew, naïve, but now she was smiling, her face untroubled. Whatever her private morality, if it went no further than kindness and common sense--and why the hell should it?--what else did she or anyone else need?" Even though a suspect, I felt drawn to this calm thoughtful woman who abandoned a life she didn't want to lead to live alone in her beloved little cottage and build her independent but joyous life. Another quote I continue to ponder is: "The consolation of imaginary things is not imaginary consolation." Where does the power of our consciousness override logic to allow us to be consoled?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    The Murder Room of the title is located in the Dupayne Museum in London, and commemorates some of the most fantastic and lurid murders in history. Through a chance meeting, Adam Dalgliesh visits with an acquaintance, but is called back soon after to investigate a series of murders. The first murder is one of the members of the Dupayne family, who were named as trustees in their late father’s will, with the caveat that any decisions regarding the museum have to be unanimous among the three surviv The Murder Room of the title is located in the Dupayne Museum in London, and commemorates some of the most fantastic and lurid murders in history. Through a chance meeting, Adam Dalgliesh visits with an acquaintance, but is called back soon after to investigate a series of murders. The first murder is one of the members of the Dupayne family, who were named as trustees in their late father’s will, with the caveat that any decisions regarding the museum have to be unanimous among the three surviving children. Dr. Neville Dupayne is the first victim, and is burned to death in his car in the museum garage shortly after a meeting where he voted to close the museum, to the dismay of his sister and brother. Shortly after the first murder, another body is discovered in a trunk in the Murder Room. Now Dalgliesh has to figure out what, if anything, these two events have in common, and/or what the motive(s) was. By the time he and his team have started to figure it out, one of the main witnesses, the cleaning lady at the Dupayne, who lives in a cottage on the grounds, is nearly killed by the murderer. As usual, James makes the story suspenseful, colorful, and creepy. The characters are occasionally stereotypical, but nearly always have a slight twist to make them memorable. My only problem with the story – and it’s likely that I’m the only one who cares – was that towards the end, the housekeeper’s cat, who was tortured by the murderer, disappears and we never learn whether or not he returns to her safe and sound. These are the kinds of things that bother me – if something horrible is going to happen to an animal as part of the story, I want closure on that aspect as well as the other threads. I mostly read this book while I was at work, and found it amusing when someone passed by, saw the title and told me it was a “terrible thing to be reading here.” (I work at a penitentiary historic site.)

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