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The Murder Room (Adam Dalgliesh, #12)
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The Murder Room (Adam Dalgliesh #12)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  7,053 ratings  ·  424 reviews
Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James’s formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love.

The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 1939, is in turmoil. As its trustees argue over whether it should be closed, one of them is brutally and mysteriously m
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 22nd 2003 by Knopf Canada (first published 2003)
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I struggled to finish this book. It wasn't just that it was not to my taste (and I read a lot of crime novels).

It certainly is not, as it says on the tin, 'Classic, guaranteed to delight all crime addicts.'

We're introduced to commander Dalgliesh in chap 1-2. There then follows 8 or 9 chapters devoted to the background of all the potential culprits – straightforward info-dumping on a mighty scale. The narrative ground to a halt while we get background background background. Then the murder occur
Formulaic, but still entertaining as all get out.

Dalgliesh and Co. are called upon to figure out who's using some famous murders from the 1920's and 30's as templates for a series of murders in and around a small niche museum near Hampstead Heath.

As is usual with a whodunnit from James, there is no shortage of acerbic, depressive and agnostic/atheistic suspects to choose from. Nor is there any doubt that each of these suspects (and for that matter, the detectives) will have their homes (both ext
A reasonable enough mystery, but not top-notch, and with a very contrived feel. What are the chances that an innocent motorist leaving the scene of a copy-cat crime would just happen to say the exact same words that the murderer in the original crime did? The whole book has a similar air of unreality.

I have written in previous reviews of PD James’ books that she has a tendency to go on about particular social issues in an annoying way, in book after book. To this list I will now add drinks. What
Good lord, this was excruciating. I picked a murder mystery by a well loved author to chase my previous read, which had been the opposite of a page turner. What a disappointment. I realize this is only one of many PD James novels, but it gave me no incentive to try the others. Super slow build, an author who tells you instead of showing you, with interminable descriptions of interiors, faces, gardens, and clothing, none of which are anywhere near relevant to the plot. At some point, I had to sta ...more
Sarah Ryburn
Love James's detective fiction which is more literary than some of the "literary fiction" I find on book store shelves today. Her prose has that reliability that I crave in a novel. Similar to Dickens, really, I can just sit back, read, enjoy, and trust that at no point will she affront me with bad sentence structure, awkward dialogue-jargon attempting to sound "realistic," or even the occasional punctuation malfunction. Flawless. And completely enjoyable. That her subject matter happens to be m ...more
I think I'm too much of a snob for good old mystery novels, but nope, I become intrigued and immerse myself in them. After reading The Murder Room for a literature discussion group I found myself checking out five other mysteries by P.D. James. Whodunits are fun!

10-07-2013. I'm glad it's been seven years since I read Murder Room. I don't feel quite so embarrassed to say that I didn't remember anything about it until the scene of the first murder ... and even that reminisence doesn't bring the re
This is the second P. D. James book that I read and the book that turned me into a fan. While it is true that James spends a large amount of time setting up her characters, I like that. I enjoy it because when a death occurs, it feels like a death and not a plot point. Too often in murder mysteries the death is forgotten. The victim is simply an agent to get the plot moving. James' never forgets, or lets the reader forget, that someone who had a life died.
Pleasing but "slowish" 16th novel from great British writer...

PD James, "a", if not "the", grand dame of English mystery literature, has given us yet another in the Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh series. Fundamentally police procedurals, James' novels typically employ very solid character work and evocative scene setting to channel our thoughts and imagery along many more lines than just the "whodunit" plot at hand. Making some allowances for our author's 83 years of age, we find some o
James, P.D. THE MURDER ROOM. (2003). *****. Again we meet up with Commander Adam Dalgliesh as he solves the mysterious deaths of two different victims at a museum. The museum is the Dupayne, a museum dedicated to the years between the wars, with rooms celebrating different aspects of their history. There is an art gallery, a library, and – most importantly – a room devoted to the most notorious murders of that time. This room, obviously, was called the Murder Room. The museum was founded by Max ...more
Jennifer Locke
If you're looking for a murder-y type crime book, you can do no better than PD James. This was my second PD James read; I now proclaim myself a fan. The Murder Room is crime fiction that I would put beside any piece of literary fiction out on bookshelves. The writing is complex and nuanced; characters are fully and beautifully realized, and James portrays them all with the utmost sensitivity and respect. The London setting made the book a wonderfully fun read for me, as did Adam Dalgliesh's burg ...more
This book took me some time to get into as James is heavy on description and detail and I just wanted her to get on with the story. She won me over though somewhere around two-thirds of the way through. I began to appreciate what at the beginning I found annoying. She definitely has her own style of writing and I can see why she has such a large fan base. My husband likes all of her books that feature Inspector Adam Dalgleisch, the Scotland Yard detective who solves the crimes.
Khris Sellin
Fun police procedural, marred only by the author’s insistence on describing every room everyone walks into in excruciating detail. I think she wants to make sure, if any of her books are made into TV movies (have they been? I don’t know), the set designer will know exactly what kind of throw cushions to buy.
Also, it was kind of a Scooby Doo ending, and I’m still not sure I totally understand the murderer’s motive.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Rogers
The Dupayne Museum only has exhibits about the years between the World Wars. To the annoyance of the more serious members of the staff, the most popular exhibit by far is the Murder Room.

As the name suggests, the Murder Room contains photographs and relics of famous murders and murderers of the era. For example, there is an exhibit about Alfred Rouse. Rouse, so it is claimed, wanted to fake his own death. So he picked up an anonymous hitchhiker and burned the man to death in Rouse's own car. Na
2.75 stars. I was encouraged by the TOC, "the people and places," "first victim," "second victim," "third victim"... oooh, three victims! Let's get going! Half the book before the first murder (and the last victim is sort of a freebie). I like a drawn-out prose-y style, but every chapter introducing a new character seemed to first begin with an architectural preamble of the sorts of people who had lived in the character's neighborhood 50 years ago... It was like having a real estate agent repeat ...more
Oh I shouldn't give this a four star but I do admire P.D. James so much. She is writing with the same extraordinary skill and high literary standard as ever and she is over eighty. Her books have the unmistakable British patina and her references are cultured as well as up to date. I donm't know how she does it. So her mysteries are a bit formulaic. What mysteries aren't? She has created a couple of the most memorable detectives in the history of mystery fiction. Kudoes to her. I recommend this ...more
My second Dalgliesh mystery. I do enjoy the setting up of the murder and the author's imagery. I picture everything so perfectly my mind. These are a good solid read.
Dull dull dull. A formulaic tale of the police interviewing one bland suspect after another, the appearance of each one meticulously described, even if they exist only for a couple of pages. Not even the addition of a secret club for posh orgies (the 96-geddit?-club) could spice up the book. Through the course of two murders (and another attempted), the police investigate through banal dialogue, occasionally the narrative cuts to their own, as well as the suspects' equally banal love lives (or l ...more
P D James along with M C Beaton and Agatha Christie must surely be amongst the traditional royalty of crime writers. Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL, known as P. D. James, was an English crime writer. She rose to fame for her series of detective novels starring police commander and poet Adam Dalgliesh. She was born in Oxford, England on 3, August 1920 and died there on 27, November 2014. She is is the author of twenty books, most of which have been filmed a ...more

Commander Adam Dalgliesh is already acquainted with the Dupayne--a museum dedicated to the interwar years, 1919-1938, with a room celebrating the most notorious murders of that time--when he is called to investigate the killing of one of the family trustees, Dr Nevil Dupayne, burned in the garage in his Jaguar, petrol thrown on him and set afire, burned instantly. He soon discovers that the victim was seeking to close the museum against the wishes of the fellow trustees and the Dupayne's devoted
This is my second book by P.D. James. I had read, Death Comes To Pemberly first. I liked this book, but the detail became rather boring. She took us through the items, and meaning of the items of the museum more than the characters. We never really did find out much about the murder victim. There was certainly a lot of pages ,in between his murder, and the next. The truth is, the back ground she gave us was more about Max, who was the founder of the museum, than anyone. The story between Emma, a ...more
Michael Bradley
I've been working my way through the Adam Dalgliesh series for the past two years. And, it is no surprise that I am not done yet since P.D. James has written fourteen novels about the New Scotland Yard detective. I recently finished book number twelve, which is called The Murder Room. In Adam Dalgliesh, James has created a truly complex character with an intricate and compelling backstory that has made this series interesting to work through. Dalgliesh is not only a detective in New Scotland Yar ...more
My first P. D. James book. The detective and main character of this murder mystery, Commander Adam Dalgleish, has appeared in many of P. D. James' other books and though this story is bookended by his continued desire for a romance with a woman named Emma who also appeared in a previous story, being unfamiliar with Dalgleish's other cases does not distract or detract from the enjoyment of this one.

James' writing style is of literary caliber and her plotting superb. I was completely unable to fig
One of my reasons for picking up PD James is the consistent pattern of her novels. Once you get used to the style and the narrative, you pretty much know what to expect and well, get it.

In a nutshell:

The setting is a small elite museum in London, devoted to inter war years founded by a war veteran and carried forward by his children who act as trustees. However, when one of the trustees is murdered, suspicion falls on the siblings, volunteers and as investigation goes on, it brings to fore, the
As always, James crafted a rich mystery. She took time to develop her characters so that no one felt "stock." Her detective, Adam Dalgleish, is a fully-fleshed person - a widower, a Detective Inspector, and a published poet. this books deals with the violent death of one member of the surviving Dupayne family. Years before the father of this family spent much time and money devoted to creating a museum on the interwar years (1918 - 1939) - literature, science, music, visual arts, even murders (h ...more
Katherine Clark
I was torn about the number of stars (I always am-stupidly anal) and decided on 4 because the book several times truly took me out of myself. After one such chapter, I actually could not recall for several moments what day of the week it was. That is some powerful writing magic. This second reading of James' work has been difficult. The books I thought I loved so much turned out not to be as good as I remembered them, until I got to the last few. She is an extraordinary writer. I love her depict ...more
a solid read. great for mornings on the elliptical. sure, perhaps not the most challenging of books, but as mysteries go, i enjoyed it, and who can resist a murder set in modern day england? plus the writing's pretty decent for what some could consider a beach read.
Read for book club =- I don't think this was one of the best Dalgliesh mysteries. First of all the entire beginning was pointless and too contrived. The character that introduces Dalgliesh to the museum never show up again and it was just too contrived that he visits a museum for the first time a week before murders. What difference did it make the the had been to the museum before? Why couldn't he be called to check out the murder and someone from the museum explains the murder room?

Also, it se
Love this book. Absolutely love it. Author's writing style not only entertaining but humorous even in light of the Dante-esque evils chronicled within. Richard Walter and Frank Bender are amazing. Diametrically opposed in many ways but respected and passionate colleagues to the end. Vidocq Society. Really? What rock have I been living under to have never heard even the is name until reading this book (much less their incredible selfless labors on behalf of victims of these cold-case crimes)?? We ...more
Maria McLaughlin
I feel bad putting this below 3 stars. (Especially as this is my first book of 2015) I greatly enjoy PD James and her other works that I have read. However, I was incredibly disappointed, which is the best word to describe my whole reading experience. It is certainly readable but not enjoyable. The climax did get me a little anxious, but the motives were unrealistic, unexplained and mostly ridiculous and plot full of pesky coincidences.

Like I said, the plot of the mystery was unengaging. This,
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P. D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of 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 the BB
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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)
  • Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4)
  • 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)

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“It had always been a part of his job which he found difficult, the total lack of privacy for the victim. Murder stripped away more than life itself. The body was parceled, labelled, dissected; address books, diaries, confidential letters, every part of the victim's life was sought out and scrutinized. Alien hands moved among the clothes, picked up and examined the small possessions, recorded and labelled for public view the sad detritus of sometimes pathetic lives.” 4 likes
“All the motives for murder are covered by four Ls: Love, Lust, Lucre and Loathing.” 4 likes
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