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on 28 April 2017
P D James at her best; well written; interesting characters some familiar from previous novels; well plotted with twists and turns and surprises. The reader needs to keep their wits about them.
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on 20 March 2017
Excellent read. Beautifully written, as always, and gripping. Her books are a joy.
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on 29 December 2015
Ingenious puzzle with an enthralling climax. One of the best in this superior series, with an even more agonizing finale than most.
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VINE VOICEon 23 December 2010
The Murder Room is a first class production, brilliantly told, by Michael Jayston, who again excels, in conveying a good plot with a twist at the end. The Audio book containing twelve cd's, is presented in a sturdy plastic case which is more preferable and durable than the usual paper version. It is excellent value and I would recommend it.
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on 24 September 2017
completely satisfied
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on 4 October 2013
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.
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on 23 May 2017
Good
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 June 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. Although the other major characters received a fair amount of attention, they did not come alive for me. Several minor characters received loving attention from Ms. James. I found myself wishing that their story lines had been more important.
The mystery is vastly too easy to solve. You can start from any one of six or seven different directions, and come to the right conclusion.
I found myself wondering why anyone would have written such an obvious mystery. A police procedural would have been a better structure for this story. The only reward for finishing the last five-eighths of the book is to find out a number of secrets and how Dalgliesh makes up for the broken date with Emma.
I certainly enjoyed the book, but it is the least favorite of mine within the Adam Dalgleish series of mysteries.
After finishing the book, I thought about whether anyone would have enjoyed Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None if the murderer had been apparent after the first death. I think not.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2003
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. Content within the boundaries of the genre, she finds those limits not limiting at all, instead using them as foundations and support for an incredibly worthy novel that tells us much about the human condition and the society we, in England at least, live in. It is impeccably written (of course), socially interesting, with a strong sense of morality, and I doubt that there is a writer at work today who can more subtly but fully evoke a setting. Too, the eerie nostalgia of the museum itself is mirrored beautifully in both the story and the narrative prose itself.
Her characters are incredibly strong, they slink from the page fully-formed and ready for our judgement. They range from the sympathetic to the cold, from calculating to warm. Never are any of them less than human.
In the end, she presents a solution that is very satisfying not for that it is a bolt form the blue, but for that it is entirely sensible. She has you working out complicated solutions to the mystery, then presents you with an entirely plausible one that you never really even considerd, which is an admirable trait indeed in a world of fiction that is far too full of gratuitous unreality.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 November 2004
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. Content within the boundaries of the genre, she finds those limits not limiting at all, instead using them as foundations and support for an incredibly worthy novel that tells us much about the human condition and the society we, in England at least, live in. It is impeccably written (of course), socially interesting, with a strikingly strong sense of morality, and I doubt that there is a writer at work today who can more subtly but fully evoke a setting. Too, the eerie nostalgia of the museum itself is mirrored beautifully in both the story and the narrative prose itself.
Her characters are incredibly strong and she draws them with almost astonishing subtlety; they slink from the page fully-formed and ready for our judgement. They range from the sympathetic to the cold, from calculating to warm. Never are any of them less than human.
The Murder Room doesn't quite dazzle with brilliance like novels by Ruth Rendell, Peter Robinson, or even some of James' other books, but it is still an outstanding example of its genre, and it certainly proves that only British novelists can write perfectly about Britain. It leaves foreign imitators languishing by the wayside. It's an intelligent, very literate book which should please all her fans and lovers of such novels. In the end, she presents a solution that is very satisfying not for that it is a bolt from the blue, but for that it is entirely sensible. She has you working out complicated solutions to the mystery, then presents you with an entirely plausible one that you never really even considered, which is an admirable trait indeed in a world of fiction that is far too full of gratuitous unreality.
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