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P.D. James a Mind to Murder

 Unrated   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Since 1983, fans of P.D. James have relished the sumptuous TV adaptations of the mystery author's complex detective novels. For the most part, the books have been shepherded to the small screen with great care, and the casting of actor Roy Marden as Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh has been seen as nothing less than a masterstroke. The one complaint that could be leveled against the producers is the seemingly random order in which the books have been filmed. A Mind To Murder, James' second Dalgliesh novel, was the eighth adaptation for television in 1996. This trend has played more than a little havoc with the chronology and character development laid down on the printed page. A Mind To Murder underwent more changes from page to screen than any previous adaptation, but remains gripping and thought-provoking taken on its own merits.
Once again, Roy Marsden assumes the mantle of the poetry-writing, introspective Dalgliesh, and his performance here is riveting and intense as usual. This is no ordinary investigation, as events in the story will affect him personally on several levels. The tense opening scene sees Dalgliesh lose a young member of his team in a hostage crisis. Three months later, he and his team are dispatched to the remote Steen Clinic to invesigate a murder, an odd assignment considered they are the Metropolitan Police. Dalgliesh will learn the reason for this assignment, and stumble across some unnerving secrets relating to the death of his colleague earlier in the tale - secrets that lay submerged within the stated function of the clinic, which is to treat the addictions and depressions of the rich and the powerful...
The members of the large cast are all marvelous, and the production values are extremely high.
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Format:VHS Tape
One interesting fact about this video, is that no writing credits are given for the adaption of P D James book that this is based on. Viewers should not expect this adaptation to be a faithful reproduction of the original. Even the murderer is different! But I'm not going to tell the prospective buyer who it is, so they will need to buy it and find out for themselves. Having stated these facts, I still found this video an excellent and enjoyable experience. As expected, Roy Marsden again puts in another solid performance and portrays Dalgliesh as no other actor can. The supporting cast is top class, with Cal Macaninch giving a wonderful performance of a highly disturbed young man. The murder victim, has no friends and lots of enemies. The Steen Clinic for the emotionally disturbed, depressed, alcoholic clients, and its staff all have the potential for a 'A Mind to Murder' and Dalgliesh is handed the unenviable task of trying to find the culprit. The final scene has the potential to submerge the viewers and leave them literally breathless. An excellent production, full of intrigue, pathos, and of course the action packed, unusual conclusion.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mind to assess PD James May 3 2004
By jammer
Format:DVD
"A Mind to Murder" is based on James' second (1963) novel, video-taped in 1996. Having never read her novels, but after repeated critical viewings of this and related TV productions, this reviewer reluctantly concludes that James' work is unfortunately not in the same league as that of other prominent mystery writers whose work has been moved to the small screen.
James' major writing flaw is that she frequently (almost always?) begins with the key murder having taken place. With no well-considered and interesting introductory characterizations and interplay in advance of the main events, we never get to enjoy the delicious anticipatory speculation (like one gets in a Christie) as to who is going to "get it", when, and maybe even who's next and why? (But then Christie was a grand master of the art!) There is no opportunity to engage with the victim before the crime. We cannot witness in time sequence the suspect interactions: their sizzling and fascinating cross-dialog, their threats, their hates, their MOTIVATIONS, building up to the point of murder. Subsequent to the murder, no prior suspect characterizations exist upon which to build. There are no delicious denouements where scenes are replayed showing what "really happened." With James, what we get is nothing more than a dry formulaic recitation of the relationships and circumstances that lead to the murder, presented retrospectively in a series of boring, dull he-said-she-said talking head exchanges amongst Dalgliesh and a horde of strangers, including his assistants of the moment. With none of these can one even remotely identify. Hanging over all of this like a wet blanket is James' cold, impersonal style, best characterized in Roy Marsden's authoritarian (he-who-must-be-obeyed?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking tale with excellent performances Aug. 25 2000
By David J. Koukol - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Since 1983, fans of P.D. James have relished the sumptuous TV adaptations of the mystery author's complex detective novels. For the most part, the books have been shepherded to the small screen with great care, and the casting of actor Roy Marden as Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh has been seen as nothing less than a masterstroke. The one complaint that could be leveled against the producers is the seemingly random order in which the books have been filmed. A Mind To Murder, James' second Dalgliesh novel, was the eighth adaptation for television in 1996. This trend has played more than a little havoc with the chronology and character development laid down on the printed page. A Mind To Murder underwent more changes from page to screen than any previous adaptation, but remains gripping and thought-provoking taken on its own merits.
Once again, Roy Marsden assumes the mantle of the poetry-writing, introspective Dalgliesh, and his performance here is riveting and intense as usual. This is no ordinary investigation, as events in the story will affect him personally on several levels. The tense opening scene sees Dalgliesh lose a young member of his team in a hostage crisis. Three months later, he and his team are dispatched to the remote Steen Clinic to invesigate a murder, an odd assignment considered they are the Metropolitan Police. Dalgliesh will learn the reason for this assignment, and stumble across some unnerving secrets relating to the death of his colleague earlier in the tale - secrets that lay submerged within the stated function of the clinic, which is to treat the addictions and depressions of the rich and the powerful...
The members of the large cast are all marvelous, and the production values are extremely high. As a James fan, I usually enjoy the adaptations, and tend to balk at overt changes made from the printed page. In this instance, though, my grumbles are minor thanks to the strength of the performances and some neat little flourishes which add zest to the proceedings. Dark and fascinating.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story of mind games as well as murder! July 5 2000
By Wendy Laing - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
One interesting fact about this video, is that no writing credits are given for the adaption of P D James book that this is based on. Viewers should not expect this adaptation to be a faithful reproduction of the original. Even the murderer is different! But I'm not going to tell the prospective buyer who it is, so they will need to buy it and find out for themselves. Having stated these facts, I still found this video an excellent and enjoyable experience. As expected, Roy Marsden again puts in another solid performance and portrays Dalgliesh as no other actor can. The supporting cast is top class, with Cal Macaninch giving a wonderful performance of a highly disturbed young man. The murder victim, has no friends and lots of enemies. The Steen Clinic for the emotionally disturbed, depressed, alcoholic clients, and its staff all have the potential for a 'A Mind to Murder' and Dalgliesh is handed the unenviable task of trying to find the culprit. The final scene has the potential to submerge the viewers and leave them literally breathless. An excellent production, full of intrigue, pathos, and of course the action packed, unusual conclusion.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roy Marsden Defined the Character Sept. 12 2008
By Rob Walton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
While the miniseries-length TV productions of the P.D. James Dalgliesh stories (e.g. "Death of an Expert Witness," "Shroud for a Nightingale") provided more time for plot and character development, this 101-minute adaptation of "A Mind to Murder" exhibits far better production values than many of the earlier entries. It's not the best in the series, but it's still great fun to watch for those who enjoy the British whodunnits. Roy Marsden defined the lead character, setting a high bar for the fine actor Martin Shaw, who took over the role in 2003's "Death in Holy Orders." Marsden's Dalgleish is a calm, thoughtful man who remains in control even while the bodies are dropping around him and the suspects grow weirder and weirder. He infuses the character with a quiet but tough decency.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great performances March 29 2005
By E. Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This adaptation is quite short, under 2 hrs. So the pacing is quicker and story necessarily a more direct than the other 6 hr adaptations. The acting is really nice though, and this is one of the adaptations that I have watched multiple times for that reason. The ending is over the top, but I loved it. I hope they paid that poor actor a lot to do the ending scene! You'll have to see it to see what I mean.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another PD James June 13 2014
By Irene E. Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Which was fun to watch. I love James Marsden. He is perfect for the part of the Inspector and the story is so much fun to watch it unravel. You have to like British Mysteries to appreciate it but I think you will enjoy the whole series
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