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Shroud For A Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh #4)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  18,541 Ratings  ·  335 Reviews
The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously, and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all il ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published 1989 by Penguin (first published 1971)
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May 01, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Leon Panetta
Student nurses are dropping dead at the Nightingale nurse training school. Does someone there harbor a secret past? (Hint: yes.) Published in 1971, this is James's fourth novel, and of these, her most robust and satisfying. It feels miles away from her earlier, Christie-esque stylings. You wouldn't find a passage like this in any of her first three, for example:

She had given him a depressing glimpse into the stultifying lack of privacy, and of the small pettiness and subterfuges with which peopl
Jun 25, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard of P.D. James before but had never read any of her works, and I didn't really know she wrote mysteries. So I was quite pleasantly surprised by Shroud for a Nightingale--so much so that I've since read another James and am onto a third.

Shroud is a great caper, written in the 70s. I think it's aged extremely well; in fact, I think the whole plot and setting is made all the more creepy and ominous by the somewhat antiquated medical procedures that figure prominently in the plot. I defy
1971, #4 Supt. Adam Dalgleish, Scotland Yard, Nightingale House, just outside London. Nursing students living in a creepy old hospital building find murder and lots of intrigue; erudite, old-fashioned closed-community/manor house style mystery but with interesting modern (~1970) twists and a bit of then-relevant British history; classic cosy police procedural.

Nursing "sisters" are an alien breed to most US folks, but if you've read or watched a lot of British-set mysteries you'll have a bit of u
Jul 10, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
My grandmother left this for my mother to read, and bored, I started it waiting for her in the car. Boredom, too, is the only reason I can give for my finishing it -- I was mesmerized by how entirely uninteresting it was, both the story and the literary style.

I don't read mysteries, and essentially all of my related presumptions are based on Cluedo and The Westing Game, but even compared to those, Shroud for a Nightingale is kind of a dud. So two student nurses are killed, the Scotland Yard is c
Nov 11, 2016 Siv30 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adam-dalgliesh
מפקח הסקוטלנד יארד, אדם דלגליש, חוזר לפענח תעלומות מוות בבית נייטנג'ל. מוסד הצמוד לבית חולים בו מתמחות אחיות.

שתי אחיות בתהליך התלמדות נרצחות: התר פירס, מתה מוות ביסורים בעת הדגמה של תהליך הזנת מטופל. מישהו החליף את בקבוק החלב החם, בבקבוק רעל. היא מחליםה את גוזפין פאלון שבאותו היום חולה.

אולם, מספר ימים אחרי נמצאת גופתה של גוזפין פאלון. כוס הויסקי שהיא נהגה לשתות לפני השינה הורעלה.

אדם דלגליש החוקר הידוע, מגיע לזירה ונחשף לסודות מהעבר, שקרים ורמאויות. וברקע גם יחסים מיניים של דיירי הבית בין אם בתוך
Είναι η 5η περιπέτεια του αστυνόμου της Scotland Yard (και ποιητή) Adam Dalgliesh και η δική μου πρώτη γνωριμία μαζί του. Με συνόδευσε ως ομιλόν βιβλίο αρκετές μέρες στις μετακινήσεις μου.
Η συγγραφέας γνωρίζει καλά το νοσοκομειακό περιβάλλον και αποδίδει με ακρίβεια το κλίμα που επικρατεί. Πιο καλά δε γινόταν! Το νοσοκομείο John Carpender περιγράφεται θαυμάσια!

Ο Οίκος Αδελφών του νοσοκομείου στεγάζεται σε ένα οίκημα, μία πρώην κατοικία που φέρει βαρύ το τίμημα του παρελθόντος εξαιτίας κάποιων γ
Dec 31, 2016 Esme rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I waver between 3 and four stars. PD James writes masterful mysteries that are intelligent and interesting. But those are the only levels on which they will effect you. I don't find myself relating or particularly liking the protagonist- he's very intelligent and you can respect him, you just don't care that much- you don't get attached to the recurring characters. I honestly don't think you are supposed to really. I think PD James set out to write exactly the type of mystery I described in the ...more
tom bomp
Dec 21, 2012 tom bomp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, english, fiction
At several points the main character is discussing the case with his assistant and, despite the fact they've already talked about the evidence and what they think and he's the current viewpoint character and we follow both of them through everything important they do, their important deductions are covered up with sudden reported speech, like "he said what had happened, his assistant said yes that's obvious". Like are you *kidding* me how lazy can you get

The book is OK enough but the denouement
Katherine Clark
I am rereading P. D. James' Dalgliesh series and am a bit disappointed with it. Apparently, nostalgia had made the series appear much better than I remembered. Oh well. In the midst of reading my second Colin Dexter novel, I realized that I found it boring, so when I received Shroud of the Nightingale in the mail, I eagerly read it, only to discover that while I thought I had read all of the Dalgliesh series, I had actually missed this one. I give this book 3 stars because of the first half of t ...more
Dec 24, 2008 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#4 Adam Dalgliesh British mystery, in which the Scotland Yard detective and his team are off to a nursing school to investigate the untimely death of two nursing students--both dead by poison of different types a couple of weeks apart. One was administered during a demonstration of gastric feeding during an inspection by the General Nursing Council, when Nurse Pearce, playing the role of the patient has her stomach dissolved by a caustic substance added to the milk feed. The second death of Nurs ...more
A nursing school inspection ends horribly with the death of a student during a demonstration of intra-gastric feeding tubes. This gruesome beginning is compounded with a second student death, and the local police are exchanged for the Yard’s Inspector Adam Dalgliesh whose implacable determination to get at the truth is welcomed by the nursing staff with varying degrees of coolness.

I’m not sure where in the series this one falls, but this Dalgliesh novel was just a bit too staid and dated to hold
Keith Davis
I believe it was Red Skelton who said that to be a writer you have to be a close observer of human nature, but not so close that you start to hate everyone. P.D. James seems to frequently drift across the line into hating everybody. The men in James' world tend to be pompous, self-absorbed, preening narcissists, but they are almost nice compared to the women. The women are often petty, manipulative, mean-spirited and deliberately cruel.

Shroud for a Nightingale is about a series of murders at a
Nov 20, 2012 Rania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
Well, it was a good book i read it with excitement and it kept my interest till the end. It was nicely written not tiring or boring at all. Also a thing that i really liked is the way the writer described the different personalities without being subjective and the fact that all these different personalities were interacting with each other throughout the book with all king of intresting behaviors that you do not usually find in most books.

i would also like to point out that Mrs P.D. James was 9
Good, verging on very good, although a bit too mannered and slow. Very deep psychological portrayals of the characters provide the big win. The plot was nicely convoluted, although the denouement wasn't much of a surprise.

This was among the books listed on an ancient "all-time bests" newspaper clipping I found in my files. I think anyone who is a fan of mysteries should probably have already read it, right?
Nov 11, 2014 springsnotfail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I was reading this, and it was all about par for the course for PD James - you know, unpleasant people, beautiful writing, OTT foreshadowings of horror to come, rather odd emphasis on period architecture - when suddenly it was all UNEXPECTED DANCE COMPETITION SURPRISE NAZIS. I would never have thought that any author could make the revelation of surprise Nazis during a tense and angry tango incredibly depressing, but PD James managed it. Well done.
Mary Corbal
Nov 15, 2015 Mary Corbal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impresionante, merecería más estrellas.
James has raised the stakes in the 4th Dalgliesh mystery, with murders more frequent and more brutal than in the previous books. As in the first three novels, the case hinges on information the reader simply cannot surmise from the clues in the book. In fact, there are probably enough clues here to figure this one out, at least in terms of motive, if not the identity of the murderer. But as I work my way through the Dalgleish mysteries, I'm finding that I don't make a huge effort to solve the ca ...more
Stef Rozitis
Granted this book is older than me, so the dated stereotypes and gender roles within it partially lose their sting. I tried to read it that way, in its historical place as a very psychologically outdated book (as I do with Agatha Christie for example and still derive some enjoyment) but it still rankled even so.

The story itself is quite ingenious, it has the right amounts of twists and turns, complexities and red herrings. The stumbling block for me is character and in particular my inability to
Michael A
I commented last time how PD James, even though she seemed to "get" the puzzle mechanics of this kind of mystery writing and could show us how superficial the genre is through self-reference, needed to find a style of her own to make any kind of mark. The problem is that Christie blazed so much ground that writers have to deal with her legacy in this particular style of mystery. Back then, it was enough to have a stimulating guessing game with the author. But in this day and age, how do you keep ...more
Valerie Penny
Feb 22, 2014 Valerie Penny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL, known as P. D. James, is an English crime writer and a life peer in the House of Lords. She was born in August 1920.

This is a book my mother gave me many years ago. I probably read it then, but had forgotten the story, so when I cam across it, I read it again.

Nightingale House is where a group of third year student nurses live while they learn the art of nursing. There is a routine inspection of the nursing school by the Gen
Oct 18, 2013 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective-novels
I enjoyed this. P D James is a remarkably consistent writer, so if you like closed community whodunits, lots of twists and turns and false alibis – and I happen to do so - this is your novel. Otherwise you’ll find it slow and ponderous.
It is set in a nursing training home in the late sixties. Its description of nursing is inadvertently a bit of social history itself, for I think nursing training has changed dramatically since those days. The story is slow starting, not withstanding the grisly mu
Jun 06, 2014 Alger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best of James, not even the best of her Dalgliesh stories, but a solid mystery in the classic vein. The surprise is how James pulled off a very traditional plot line with remarkably few tricks in an environment and with a cast that is believably inhabiting 1970. For comparison, look at Agatha Christie from this same period. All of her characters continue to inhabit a 1930s world, or are decrepit oldsters confused by the kids and their crazy sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Elsewhere in the ...more
Leslie Kay
Actually, I'd give this a 3 1/2. I enjoyed reading my 1st P.D. James mystery novel, but also found it a little slow and not overly exciting. I thought the base of the story was interesting, I like Detective Adam Dalgleish and even more, I like how the story weaves characters lives together, and that every action has a counter action. I'll take this 1970's mystery novel over the unbelievable, gruesome and violent thrillers that are out now any ol' time.

Favorite Quote:

"You're not a thief. You st
Jun 29, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The initial murder is horrible, particular for anyone with any kind of medical phobia. The book opens with a visit to a nursing school attached to a hospital. Several students are demonstrating their learning using a fellow student as a model when things go horribly wrong. As always seems the case, one murder leads to another and Dagliesh finds himself looking to link the murders and examing the stories and alibis of multiple suspects from a large pool.

The students and some of the staff have the
Bill Rogers
Dec 09, 2013 Bill Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miss Muriel Beale, Inspector of Nurse Training Schools to the General Nursing Council, thought that Nightingale House was a poor place to educate new nurses from the moment she first saw it. She didn't like the ornate, creepy old mansion which had been somewhat remodeled to serve as a school. She didn't like it on sight, and that was even before she watched the first murder victim die.

Adam Dalgliesh has another tough case to solve, but I think he solves it fairly this time. I can see how the evi
An enjoyable British mystery. I haven't read the rest of the books in this series, but P.D. James can be relied on for top notch writing and careful portrayals of her characters. Unfortunately, they are often largely dislikable characters. The book is full of arrogant, self-important men (including the Detective) and scheming blackmailing women. Still, the setting in a creepy nurse training school was excellent.

The reader for this version, Penelope Dellaporta, did a fine job with the narration.
Jan 19, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short take:

This is the reading experience I want from a Dalgliesh story! The crime is simple, while its resolution is buried beneath layers of personal histories intertwined by the inchoate intermingling of chance and human intent. Dalgliesh works his way through the suspect pool and the story slowly, deliberately comes into focus. "Shroud" is a great mystery read.

More thoughts:

Again, James sticks to a rural location, here pinning events to a nursing school that lends a nice creep factor to t
Alex Watkins
Jul 29, 2009 Alex Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't work at mid-century hospitals
Shelves: mystery, 2009
This was really good, I had never read one of the many Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, only P.D. James' miscellaneous books Children of Men and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (which does have Dalgliesh come in later). It was not my stereotype of a mystery novel, which I'm not really sure what I have in mind, but is something that I feel like I wouldn't like. The book is very cerebral, setting up timelines and alibis, so much so that it was a bit hard to keep track. I loved the end though, very exciting ...more
Sep 27, 2013 Natasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is the fourth book in the Adam Dalgliesh series and probably my least favourite so far, compared to the other stories it just seemed never ending.

It should've been interesting and exciting, set in a big old spooky hospital, with nurses being murdered but there was just something missing. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't particularly like any of the characters or if the story was just a bit dull, but I could've quite happily stopped reading half way through and not been bothered about
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Shroud for a Nightingale 1 2 Jan 05, 2013 05:24PM  
  • The Way Through The Woods (Inspector Morse, #10)
  • The Old Fox Deceiv'd (Richard Jury, #2)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • Artists in Crime (Roderick Alleyn, #6)
  • Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)
  • Murder Being Once Done (Inspector Wexford, #7)
  • A Killing Kindness (Dalziel & Pascoe, #6)
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P.D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of over twenty books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office. She served as a magistrate and as a governor of th
More about P.D. James...

Other Books in the Series

Adam Dalgliesh (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1)
  • A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2)
  • Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3)
  • The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)
  • Death of an Expert Witness (Adam Dalgliesh, #6)
  • A Taste for Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7)
  • Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh, #8)
  • Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
  • Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)

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“He didn't want her; he wanted me. Well, you know how it is."

Dalgliesh did know. This, after all, was the commonest, the most banal of personal tragedies. You loved someone. They didn't love you. Worse still, in defiance of their own best interests and to the destruction of your peace, they loved another. What would half the world's poets and novelists do without this universal tragicomedy?”
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