- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Faber And Faber Ltd. (July 1 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571218229
- ISBN-13: 978-0571218226
- Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,546,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Murder Room Paperback – Jul 1 2003
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'Each new book gives pleasure not just for macabre crimes or ingenious solutions, but its intensity of experience'. Malcolm Bradbury, Mail on Sunday
About the Author
P. D. James served in the forensic and criminal justice departments of the Home Office, until her retirement in 1979. She was made a Life Peer in 1991. Her many detective novels include Cover Her Face, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, Death of an Expert Witness, A Taste for Death, Original Sin and A Certain Justice, many of which have been adapted for television. She lives in London.
Top customer reviews
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I confess that I am a great fan of the Adam Dalgliesh series, but The Murder Room seems to be particularly pessimistic about human nature. Almost everyone associated with the museum seems dysfunctional, damaged, pathetic or nasty, whether the roots are childhood trauma, lack of affection in their family, overweening hubris or either victims or practitioners of egotistical self interest. The Dupayne siblings are a case in point; they are individually and collectively dysfunctional and unsympathetic. There is the obligatory (for a British mystery novel) quota of the arrogant rich and powerful, who regard any police interviews as intolerably invasive into their private lives. The only relief is Dalgliesh’s love relationship with Emma, though this is far from secure.
Nevertheless, the plot is complex, intricate and fascinating, as the crime appears to be a copy cat murder based on the content of the Murder Room itself. Furthermore, there are all sorts of secret machinations of the characters, such as the curator being a MI5 mole, one of the volunteer staff a former paratrooper and spy during the second war, and the involvement of a member of the House of Lords. The conclusion is rather abrupt, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The story is set in an eccentric little museum in London and the Murder Room houses exhibits relating to murders committed during the 1920's and 1930's. The focus is on a trunk that once contained the body of a murdered girl. The family who owns the museum is divided over whether to close it or continue to operate it, but some of the activities in the museum are more - shall we say "unusual" - than others and many people would be negatively affected if it closed.
Introducing characters in a mystery novel is difficult to do well, but James does it better than anyone. The reader is never left trying to remember if Neville was the doctor or the curator. She also introduces us to the peripheral characters who are affected by the crime, fleshing each one out rapidly, but leaving a clearer impression than most writers make with their main characters.
This is a mature writer, still at the peak of her power to draw readers into strong stories and to make them care about characters who may be a little off-beat, but never the usual caricatures of the English. There is a richness of texture in this book. The investigators, chiefly Adam Dalgleish and Kate Miskin have gained some maturity and a measure of understanding of themselves as well as their suspects.
I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a classic English mystery.
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Most recent customer reviews
P.D James has done it again. I think this is the 18th time she's done it. She is an extremely talented storyteller with prose like honey!Read more