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The Murder Room [Paperback]

P D James
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Sep 2004
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (9 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141015535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141020426
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 11.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Product Description


"The Murder Room scintillates from the start … gleams with inventive sparkle." -- Scotland on Sunday

"P D James’s new offering is another masterpiece of detailed characters and beautifully-drawn plots." -- Oxford Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Commander Dalgliesh investigates a horrible death at the Dupayne, a private museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath, dedicated to the years 1919-1939. One of the museum galleries displays exhibits from the most notorious murder cases of those inter-war years, and now a modern killer is at work, the crimes uncannily echoing the cases on display. All the people at the Dupayne - the trustees, the staff and the volunteers - have the means and the opportunity for murder. One of them has the ruthlessness to kill and kill again. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of PD James' most enjoyable books 22 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Adam Dalgliesh is called in to investigate the murder of one of the trustees of the Dupayne Museum.
This is one of PD James' most enjoyable books, because the characterisation is so good. Time (and pages!) are taken to set the scene and introduce the characters. It is time well spent as the characters are easily distinguishable, believable and sympathetically written. The plot is that of a typical British who dunnit. It is easy to read, but what sets this book apart from the standard crime novel is the quality of the writing, which was superb. A book not to be missed by anyone enjoying good British crime fiction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Little Mystery in The Murder Room 21 Jun 2004
Seldom has such wonderful writing been attached to such an unmysterious mystery. I found myself wishing that Ms. James had skipped the mystery and just written a novel about the characters. The result would undoubtedly have been much more satisfying.
Commander Adam Dalgliesh finds himself unexpectedly invited to visit an oddball museum, the Dupayne, which specializes in England between the two world wars. The founder has provided rare first editions of top novelists and representative paintings by the better artists of the time. Maintained as a private institution by the founder's children, the museum's most popular feature is the Murder Room, where the most infamous murders of the period are displayed. There's tension in the family though, as one of the children wants to have the museum closed.
Soon thereafter, Dalgliesh has to call off a date with delicious Emma Lavenham, whom he met in Death in Holy Orders, to begin investigating a suspicious death at the Dupayne. MI5 wants to protect one of its own from being discovered so sensitivity is needed. Everyone on the team is quickly struck the resemblance of the crime to one that is featured in the Murder Room. What's the connection? Is there a copy cat at work here?
The book's greatest strength is its powerful description of the Dupayne and those who serve it. You will feel like you have been to the museum and met the people there. The book has an extended beginning that gives you more than the usual detail about the most important characters. I felt like I had been invited to tea with them, and had a chance to settle into the story at a very leisurely pace. Of the major characters, both Ms. Tally Clutton, the housekeeper, and Dr. Neville Dupayne, son of the museum's founder, were quite memorable and convincing.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not her strongest, but still excellent stuff 23 Aug 2003
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
One morning, by chance, Commander Dalgleish has opportunity to visit the Dupayne, a small private museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath. It deals with the inter-war years, 1918-1939, and its most renowned exhibition is The Murder Room, a display of artefacts and information on the most notorious murder cases of the day. However, within a week Dalgleish will have cause to return to the Dupayne, but not for recreational purposes this time. This time, he will be investigating a brutal murder.
Dr Neville Dupayne, one of the three trustees of the museum, it being passed on to him and his brother and sister upon the death of their father, is found dead in a burning car near the museum, in a scenario exactly mirroring one of the cases featured in the bizarre Murder Room. And there is no lack of people with a motive, for the Dupayne is coming up for renewal of it's lease which, under the conditions of their late father's will, must be signed by all three trustees or become void, and Neville is the only one who refuses to sign. Yet there are several people whose futures have a strong stake in the future and continued running of the museum...
Then, mere days later, another body is found, once again killed in an identical manner to one of the cases from the Murder Room...
Perhaps not quite James's strongest novel, this is still a very good book, and will undoubtedly follow on the immense success of her last, Death in Holy Orders. As a novel, it is traditional in its form, but with James that means nothing, certainly not that you are in for anything like a "cosy" mystery.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 16 Dec 2003
By Valerie Fletcher Adolph VINE VOICE
This is another classic P. D. James mystery novel. At an age where many writers would be happy to lay down their pen (or switch off their computers) she still comes up with enthralling stories, vivid characters and plots full of surprises. Her acute observation of the human mind, foibles and reactions has sharpened with time.
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too much scene setting
Published 9 days ago by Peter Myerscough
2.0 out of 5 stars The Murder Room (or not)
This is the second PD James cd I have bought and this was worse than the first, I listened to it on a trip to Cambridge and by the time I got home and after 4 cd s still no murder. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars First time reading her
Finding it a hard read to get into, time not always available but reading it can see the plot unfolding. Can't say too much as i'm still in it
Published 5 months ago by Bob P
3.0 out of 5 stars P D James
Not an author I had read often, I found the story interesting, my only complaint being it dragged out a bitt.
Published 6 months ago by Jean Naysmith
5.0 out of 5 stars AUDIO CD
Unabridged, excellently read by Michael Jayston.
We have listened to several of these Audio CD's on long car journeys.
Brilliantly written by P.D.James,of course.
Published 9 months ago by Briony Holyoake
5.0 out of 5 stars The murder room
Got it wrong again, I was sure I had cracked it in the first couple of chapters, as always I was wrong, wonderfully story, well read LOVED IT!!
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. E. C. Lovesey
5.0 out of 5 stars The Murder room
Up to her usual outstanding standard to keep you on the edge of your seat to the very end unforgettable.
Published 10 months ago by Christine Coley
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read...
I started reading this one about 4 days ago and have finished it in 4 chunks and enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed it because it was about the people who worked at the clinic more than... Read more
Published 10 months ago by C. FULLER
3.0 out of 5 stars that somes it up its OK
Was I impressed, not really it lacked that get up and go. I found I was not picking it up to read at every oportunity.May be because I had down loaded it to my tablet
Published 11 months ago by Mr. L. J. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
I also have the d.v.d starring martin shaw, so when I read the book, I can visualise mr shaw as well. lovely
Published 11 months ago by jilldawson
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