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Shroud for a Nightingale [Paperback]

P.D. James
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 29 2010
An Adam Dalgliesh mystery by an award-winning, internationally acclaimed novelist.

Two student nurses lie dead, the great hospital nursing school of Nightingale House is shadowed with terror, and a secret medical world of sex, shame, and scandal is about to be exposed. It is the job of Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to probe even deeper into the macabre mystery and unmask a killer who operates as skillfully as a surgeon -- before the epidemic of evil gets completely out of hand.


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Review

“The reigning mistress of murder…Her vivid, compelling whodunits over almost a quarter of a century have made P. D. James one of the world’s leading crime writers and a worthy successor to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.” -- Time

“Marvellously transcends the mystery genre…Few other mystery novelists can claim such complexity of characterization and density of setting, where every detail seems perfectly realized.” -- Toronto Star

“P. D. James is a remarkable writer.” -- Ruth Rendell

“P. D. James is simply a wonderful writer.” -- The New York Times


From the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

“The reigning mistress of murder…Her vivid, compelling whodunits over almost a quarter of a century have made P. D. James one of the world’s leading crime writers and a worthy successor to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.” -- Time

“Marvellously transcends the mystery genre…Few other mystery novelists can claim such complexity of characterization and density of setting, where every detail seems perfectly realized.” -- Toronto Star

“P. D. James is a remarkable writer.” -- Ruth Rendell

“P. D. James is simply a wonderful writer.” -- The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi-Layered and Complex Feb. 16 2012
By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Detective Chief-Inspector Adam Dalgleish is investigating the suspicious deaths of two nursing students at Nightingale House. Given the time and circumstance of both poisonings, it appears that a fellow student or one of the nursing instructors had something to do with it, or did they?

As usual, P.D. James weaves subtle clues into complex relationships that take time to reveal, but with this book, I didn't mind. Although I found the narrative too plodding in Cover Her Face, it works much better in Shroud for a Nightingale. It could be that the characters's relationships had more depth and intrigue than in the earlier book. Certainly, the pall James slowly casts over Nightingale House makes the setting more intriguing. Also, there is better control over point of view in this book. I didn't learn much more about Dalgleish, but as James fans know, it's the deliciously slow revelations that make her plots and characters so appealing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery writer. June 29 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
PD James' well worth re-reading all her Dagleish and company books. Still an awesome series of mysteries. I hope she lives and writes forever!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A Murder occurs during a nurses training demonstration. From that moment, you will be committed to the story. This story is a wonderful classic British who-dun-it. But it is so much more than that. Like all P.D. James novels, you'll find yourself caught up by the characters as layer by layer their good and bad intentions are revealed. The author never designs her novels with cardboard characters. Each player is complex, usually with faults, but so human and fallible, they are never one dimensional villians. This book stands out among all of her novels for two reasons. One is the atmosphere she creates, the claustrophic tense nurses training house, surrrounded by storms, driving rain, and falling tress. This all contributes to the high tension maintained throughout. The second reason is the mystery's solution. One of her most shocking and intense endings This is an outstanding book. If youre lucky...read it while snowed in with the phone lines down, and refuse to let the world outside interrupt theis intense and wonderful reading experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of James' best July 20 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Adam Dalgliesh investigates the murders of two young student nurses at Nightingale House, the former by intra-gastric poisoning, the second by nicotine poisoning. His detective work leads him into a chilling world of deception, long-buried secrets, repressed sexuality, and blackmail among an almost exclusively female list of suspects.
This is James at her most provocative, her most intriguing, and her most thrilling. The plot is one of her most brilliantly conceived--not only are there plenty of well-laid clues and red herrings, but the murderer's true identity comes as a surprising twist. James' plot construction is even more sound than usual--everything fits perfectly. But anyone who reads a James novel knows that there's more to her books than just a satisfying mystery. She offers the reader a lot to think about--the motive behind the murders is both shocking and thought-provoking, and Dalgliesh is written with great sensitivity and complexity as a human being! . His subordinate, Sergeant Masterson, is a rather unsavory but interesting character, and the suspects are all extremely well-developed and vividly drawn. The setting, a dark, lonely nurse training school with a frightening history, creates atmosphere and adds suspense to an already suspenseful plot.
Read this book--you won't be disappointed.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terror at Nightingale House Sept. 15 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
With her fourth Adam Dalgliesh novel, "Shroud for a Nightingale," P. D James ventured into new and dark territory, both in terms of the mystery and underlying themes.
The first three novels in the Dalgliesh canon were, for the most part, traditional mystery novels with characters who you sensed were complex human beings, but who were never fleshed out entirely, as if to do so would be violating the "rules" of the detective story.
With "Shroud for a Nightingale," however, P. D. James introduced us into the dark world of Nightingale House, where nurses, nursing students, physicians, and patients suddenly find a double murderer in their midst.
This is the first of P. D. James's novels in which the characters' pasts are truly made to bear on the present. By the end of the novel, we are terrified at the bounds of loyalty and deception to which our fellow human beings are capable.
The terror in "Shroud for a Nightingale" is there from the start, as the first victim-to-be meets a demise that, simply put, is worthy of a horror novel. Such horror, when expressed in James's elegant prose, becomes even more frightening.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing Feb. 1 2001
By Elizabeth Hendry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shroud for a Nightingale is a well-written, well-plotted mystery that will keep you guessing. A young student nurse dies during a training exercise, another is found dead in her bed. The first could have been the result of a practical joke gone bad, the second, a suicide. Or they both could be murder. P.D. James will keep you guessing until the end as to the truth about these deaths and the truth about the nurses, the doctors, the instructors at this very deadly hospital.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not her best Aug. 6 2002
By Tia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting work, though not one of James' best (I recommend "The Black Tower" or "The Skull Beneath the Skin" for that). The setting was great, a spooky Victorian mansion converted into a nursing school - this choice of location provided plenty of atmosphere and a restricted list of suspects.
The plot was well constructed, with the clues spaced just right, although I feel that James did cheat in a couple places. I dislike her tactic of having a character ask a question of another character, then not letting us see the answer, in order to keep from us information that the protagonist now knows. She did that in at least one place here and I find it annoying. The loose ends are tied up neatly and there's a surpising and very well done epilogue.
The characterization is where James falls down a bit. This is one of her early Dalgliesh books, and I think it shows, as most of the characters are more sketches than real persons. A big revelation about one character's past, near the end of the book, comes as something of a "so what?", since we don't really care about the character. Nurse Goodale was the only one I felt really stood out as a person. Even Dalgliesh seems to swing between supercilious and nasty, and he doesn't come off as a character a reader would care to spend more time with.
These flaws aside, I'd glady recommend this to any fan of the series, although it's not a good introduction for a non-fan ("A Mind to Murder" is perhaps best for that). Not on par with her best, but pretty good overall.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cunningly written novel March 26 2005
By antonis_st - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel from the first writing era of James is a masterpiece itself. It starts quite straightforward with two deaths and continues with unceasing suspense. The writer places Dalgliesh very well among the numerous characters of the story, trying to reveal all of their secrets. Interesting substories are being uncoiled as the reader moves forward. The pages whisk fast. You can never be sure about the killer or the motives underneath. Until the very end, the killer is being skillfully hidden by James. One could say that finishing the book lets the reader think about how far human relationships can go.
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