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on 6 December 2002
An excellant and compelling read. The author seems to be able to write an incredibly complex novel - and keep the reader hanging on until the end. Working in a hospital myself, it is obvious that the story was very well researched and brings back the old memories of Schools of Nursing! As the plot thickens, I think that even the most seasoned of crime readers would not be able to solve this one alone!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Originally published in 1971, this is the fourth Adam Dalgleish novel from the pen of P.D. James. Two trainee nurses are killed in quick succession at a country training hospital, one in front of all her class mates. Dalgleish of the Yard is called in to solve the murders. A simple set up, but James' writing and plotting makes this an absolute joy. The story is multilayered, with a plethora of well drawn characters who may or may not have done it. We follow Dalgleish and Sergeant Masterson as they peel back the layers of obfuscation to get to the root of the mystery. James throws in a few red herrings, and by the end of the bok I had been convinced at one time or another that every single main character had done it. There was a point I was even starting to suspect Dalgleish!

James writes in an erudite fashion and with an obvious love of language. There were a couple of times I had to get a dictionary as her vocabulary is far greater than mine! She draws characters and situations vividly, and in a few of the big set pieces I was hanging on the edge of my chair. Her characters, and the way she describes their thoughts and motivations, are beautifully put across. Dalgleish in particular is a great creation, and it is interesting to see him through both his own eyes and those of people around him. It's a well written mystery which I was sorry to come to the end of.

Michael Jayston's reading is simply masterly. I have to confess to having been a fan of his since I saw him playing the Valeyard in Dr Who more years ago than I care to admit to. His voice is deep and full of colour, with a richness that makes this reading so easy on the ears. He manages to distinguish each character with just a slight inflection of his voice, not having to resort to any outrageous vocal contortions or accent. He has a rhythm that neatly builds up the tension, and is in turns light and dark as the action dictates. When reading Masterson's dancing interrogation I was halfway between pity for the lady and laughing at the ridiculousness, there were also times when he really made me feel the tense and frightening atmosphere. It's not many narrators who can get me so emotionally involved in an audiobook. It's a voice I could listen to all day.

The set is on 8 CDs, held in a spindle case. The reading clocks in at over 8 hours. It's an excellent reading of an excellent book, 5 stars.
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on 1 August 2008
The Adam Dagliesh novels could be divided into two periods- an earlier one and more recent one. The earlier novels are shorter, have a wonderful period quality and are, one the whole, darker and colder. The more recent ones are a lot more interested in Adam Daglieshs love life and show the detective in a far more humane and happy light. One could wonder if this change in the great detective reflects the quiet consolations of later life and family for the author- certainly the newer novels are all dedicated to her loved ones.

With that in mind- its very easy to put this novel into the darker and colder earlier period. The novel opens on a dark wet midwinter's morning when a nursing school inspector prepares to leave the dubious comforts of her little flat to visit a training school in the country. We are quickly introduced to an antiquated style of hospital with the matron, sisters and primadonna consultants that are (alas?)no more. Certainly, there is no mention of managers, targets or mrsa; and one gets the impression that the floors of the hospital are clean enough to eat your dinner off. The nurse training appears remarkably practical and devoid of the over emphasis on protocol and science that has ruined the NHS. The nurse training inspector watches the students insert a nasogastric tube into one of their colleagues as part of a demonstration. Unfortunately someone substituted the milk that was meant to be given to the volunteer with detergent. The young student dies in some considerable pain. The investigation that follows carefully dissects the apparent order of the hospital and instead portrays a sad cold lonely world with deeply damaged healers that live in an uncomfortable proximity together- the ultimate institution.

Dagliesh is at his most unsympathetic in this novel. Its is even difficult to imagine how he could ever be a poet- such is the coldness of his characterisation. He certainly shows little humanity and appears to be as difficult to his subordinates as to those under his investigation. Yet if he is cold his assistant is sociopathic. Despite this the novel flows with the author's usual ease. The ending is rather cold and brutal and there is little redemption.

Alongside the murder, this novel evokes a changing time in the medical system and the authors talents lie as much in the evocation of social history as in crimewriting. James seems to rather relish the future direction of the health service as the novel ends but for those of us who are stuck with the current one can only think of those seemingly less complicated days with some envy.
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This is the fourth book in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I have recently been re-reading these novels and, although I have enjoyed the previous books, this certainly represents a seeming increase in ability and confidence in the writing and storyline. “Shroud for a Nightingale,” is set in a nurse training school and P D James worked for the NHS for many years, so it is an environment she would have been extremely familiar with.

The story begins with Miss Muriel Beale, an Inspector who is setting out for the day of the John Carpendar Hospital inspection. Her first impression, on arriving at the impressive Nightingale House, is that it is highly unsuitable for a nurse training school. However, the inspection begins with a demonstration by the student nurses and, during this, there is a death. When another student nurse is killed, Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the crimes.

This is an assured mystery, with a closed community and a great cast of characters; from the arrogant surgeon, Mr Stephen Courtney Briggs to super efficient matron, Mary Taylor and the Sisters and Nurses who live and work in Nightingale House. There is little privacy in Nightingale House and Dalgliesh soon gets to hear of the affairs, petty squabbles and secrets that abound in the hospital. As he delves into the past of the inhabitants of Nightingale House, he uncovers the truth, and James gives us an assured, intelligent mystery with a great range of suspects and motives.
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Originally published in 1971, this is the fourth Adam Dalgleish novel from the pen of P.D. James. Two trainee nurses are killed in quick succession at a country training hospital, one in front of all her class mates. Dalgleish of the Yard is called in to solve the murders. A simple set up, but James' writing and plotting makes this an absolute joy. The story is multilayered, with a plethora of well drawn characters who may or may not have done it. We follow Dalgleish and Sergeant Masterson as they peel back the layers of obfuscation to get to the root of the mystery. James throws in a few red herrings, and by the end of the bok I had been convinced at one time or another that every single main character had done it. There was a point I was even starting to suspect Dalgleish!

James writes in an erudite fashion and with an obvious love of language. There were a couple of times I had to get a dictionary as her vocabulary is far greater than mine! She draws characters and situations vividly, and in a few of the big set pieces I was hanging on the edge of my chair. Her characters, and the way she describes their thoughts and motivations, are beautifully put across. Dalgleish in particular is a great creation, and it is interesting to see him through both his own eyes and those of people around him. It's a well written mystery which I was sorry to come to the end of. 5 stars.
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Originally published in 1971, this is the fourth Adam Dalgleish novel from the pen of P.D. James. Two trainee nurses are killed in quick succession at a country training hospital, one in front of all her class mates. Dalgleish of the Yard is called in to solve the murders. A simple set up, but James' writing and plotting makes this an absolute joy. The story is multilayered, with a plethora of well drawn characters who may or may not have done it. We follow Dalgleish and Sergeant Masterson as they peel back the layers of obfuscation to get to the root of the mystery. James throws in a few red herrings, and by the end of the bok I had been convinced at one time or another that every single main character had done it. There was a point I was even starting to suspect Dalgleish!

James writes in an erudite fashion and with an obvious love of language. There were a couple of times I had to get a dictionary as her vocabulary is far greater than mine! She draws characters and situations vividly, and in a few of the big set pieces I was hanging on the edge of my chair. Her characters, and the way she describes their thoughts and motivations, are beautifully put across. Dalgleish in particular is a great creation, and it is interesting to see him through both his own eyes and those of people around him. It's a well written mystery which I was sorry to come to the end of. 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Shroud for a Nightingale" is set in a college of nursing during the 1970s and the focal murder occurs whilst a student nurse is playing the part of a patient in a medical procedure for training purposes. The plot is up to P D James's usual standard and the perpetrator is well and truly "shrouded" until the last throes of Scotland Yard's investigation led by Adam Dalgliesh. Many of the clues come from the complex web of relationships revealed by the rather tortuous investigative interviews. The interviews in particular are inclined to meander a bit, and, as a consequence together with the rich narrative contribute to the overall pace of the novel being rather slow. The illusive motive and perpetrator remains a well-kept secret right until the end of the book, and, for that reason it will probably hold your attention despite the pace.

This audiobook comes on a set of 8 CDs read by Michael Jayston and runs for just under 10 hours. Michael Jayston's style is clear and involving making this audiobook ideal for listening in the car.

A worthwhile read but not P D James's best, although the bar is set very high and it still represents a rewarding listen. Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I admit to preferring later Adam Dagliesh stories rather than the earlier ones, I find his early character doesn't age well, he's still a skilled detective but is more uncaring in his approach and very blunt. Well, this was written in 1971 and if Life on Mars has taught us anything it's that detectives in the seventies were a very different breed (joke!)
As with many of PD James's novels, she goes into a lot of detail and depth on all characters and settings which while reading is lovely, however when listening, as in the audiobook I'm reviewing, then occasionally the detail goes on a little bit too long and I found myself switching off ever so slightly
It is read by Michael Jayston and if I'm honest I could listen to him read the Yellow Pages. He is reading quite a few of PD James's books and each one is honoured because of this
The plot is good, but as I said earlier I prefer the later ones (for a more recent hospital based Dagleish story look towards the a Private Patient) this is a 42 yr old novel and sadly at times, it feels like it!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The flaws of this reading are the author's, rather than those of Michael Jayston, who reads with great clarity and a sense of dramatic pace, but without exaggerated character differentiation in the voices: this can be a danger when there is, as here, a lot of dialogue. PD James writes beautifully, with effective descriptions of setting and character, and she controls the developing mystery with great skill and very real tension.

My problem lies with the investigation element which focuses on interviews a great deal: these are not as well handled as other aspects of the narrative and can seem over-long and, at least to this listener, a little testing of patience. Frankly, it seems more than a little old-fashioned, however truthful to the detection process in such cases. I was involved enough to finish, but had I been reading, rather than listening, I think there would have been sections where I was skimming a little, obviously not a possibility on audio. Not three stars (merely OK) and not really four, though I'm sure connoisseurs of the novelist will find much to enjoy in this format.
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on 9 June 2001
Another Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Two bodies are discovered over a week at a nurse training school. Staff are all reluctant to become involved with the police, who appear to have found no motive. Then it is discovered that one of the murdered student nurses was involved in blackmail.
I enjoyed this book more than most by the author, and would recommend it as a first book, if you've not read P.D.James before.
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