A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2)
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A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh #2)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  4,721 ratings  ·  232 reviews
The second book to feature Scotland Yard investigator Adam Dalgliesh, A Mind To Murder is a “superbly satisfying mystery” (Chicago Daily News) from bestselling author P.D. James.

On the surface, the Steen Psychiatric Clinic is one of the most reputable institutions in London. But when the administrative head is found dead with a chisel in her heart, that...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 5th 2001 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 1963)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
here's a little story for you...

so a famous San Francisco lobbyist - a lively raconteur, a darling of the media, and an infamously debauched homosexual - had a birthday celebration. because this was a man who helped build the careers of many politicians, his birthday party was a rather public affair and was heavily attended by the local glitterati, including our illustrious mayor. this turned out to be an exceedingly unconventional event: activities included the carving of satanic symbols on va...more
Daniel
I tried to read this one night in a single sitting and only succumbed when I woke up with the book in my hand, still propped open by my thumb. But for an early hour demanded by work, I would have put on a pot of coffee and finished the job with relish.

I like Dalgliesh, and though I have only read the first two volumes in James's series of his exploits, I have already witnessed interesting layers in his personality. His melancholic nature is par for the genre; however, other traits pull him out o...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
I read this book many, many years ago and was looking for a quick read recently when it fell out of my wardrobe and landed at my feet. Decision made. This was first published in 1963 and it still holds up really well as a great murder mystery. It gives me a new found admiration for P.D. James, that she can still hold her own in this genre, after so many decades of writing and against so many new authors. She is still one of the best - no contest. This is an Adam Dalgleish police procedural myste...more
Judith
Written in the 1960s, this mystery offers a glimpse of the time along with the progression of a case.

The Steen Psychiatric Clinic is a small clinic dedicated more to neuroses than psychoses. Its doctors offer different types of treatment, from Freudian analysis to Lysergic Acid treatment. (At first I thought that this latter meant treatment for those who have used LSD. Instead, it is the use of LSD in overcoming inhibitions and getting to the root of problems. This treatment involves giving a do...more
Becky
I was already a P.D. James fan after reading Cover Her Face, so one can imagine that I would be intrigued to learn that her second novel in the Adam Dalgliesh series is about a murder in an outpatient psychiatric clinic.

Initially, I was a little bit disappointed. I don't really like it when mystery authors use the same tropes repeatedly (MILD SPOILERS AHEAD), and there were a couple of elements in the beginning of the novel that were strikingly similar to the first one. For example, there is a...more
Roger
SUMMARY: The Administrative Officer (read that as manager) of a government run outpatient psychiatric facility in London is murdered. Scotland Yard investigator Adam Dalgliesh is given the case. The circumstances are such that the killer must still be in the building by the time the police arrive. Which means the killer must be one of the staff.

RATING: 3.51 out of 5 rounded up to a 4.

COMMENTS: It was an okay book. It was too good for just a 3, but for me it doesn't deserve a 4. But since I can o...more
Stacy
Though I greatly enjoyed the first of this series of P.D. James, I didn't think this book quite lived up to her talent. There was something repetitive about the characters - Frederica Saxon for example seemed a carbon copy of Deborah Riscoe in her first book. The plot was still well written and the mystery was interesting, but it just didn't have the same strength for me overall. However, that said, it is still a very well written and unique type of mystery. I like how P.D. James goes beyond the...more
Filip
As usually, I had a problem with deciding how much stars should I give this book. While the start-to-corpse time wasn't long - it was in facet REALLY short, the first batch o interrogations was a bit too long, with too much focus on hours, time etc.

Then the book became much better as the investigation continued and we got a glimpse into the lives and psychology of the characters. Then we found out who the murderer was and it was so obvious that I was really disappointed.

And then the ending chang...more
Fanficfan44
My first P.D. James read. I don't know if it is indicative of all the others. I like the sleuth Dalgliesh, interesting and logical character. I really don't know how I feel about the mystery. It seems like the misdirection (red herring plot) worked better than the actual resolution and the killer seemed rather obvious in any case. Interesting aspect was the accepted use of LSD in psychiatric care. The sleuth and his actual investigation was well written, but the secondary characters seemed flat...more
Michelle
Favorite quotes: Being precariously marrid was the Worrikers' main emotional preoccupation and one they were unlikely to relinquish without a struggle.

If the strain an miseries of the marriage became greater than the expense, the inconvenience and the trauma of a legal separation, then yet would part.

His marriage to Valda had been doomed from the start, as any marriage must be when husband and wife have a basic ignorance of each other's needs coupled with the illusion that they understood each...more
Abbey
1963, #2 Inspector Adam Dalgleish, a psychiatric clinic, London; classic police procedural, still entertaining, narration pretty good. This reread via Overdrive - 1985, Chivers Audio Books, read by Roy Marsden
The Office Manager of a posh clinic gets herself brutally murdered in its basement and suspects abound as Dalgleish works to peel away the layers of semi-truth and falsehoods that surround the setting, the victim, and her co-workers.

You can see the debt James owes Marsh here, as Adam uncha...more
Nancy Oakes
not nearly as enjoyable (imho) as "Cover Her Face," but still an okay read. I've noticed in these two that while Dalgliesh gets onto a certain clue that sends him right to the murderer, there really isn't much here about investigative technique or something that he does especially to solve the crime. Oh well.

brief summary, no spoilers
The scene of the crime is the Steen psychiatric clinic, and the victim is the administrative head of the place, a miss Bolam. She is killed in the records room with...more
Tiff
So... this book left me feeling angry. Very angry. The type of angry you feel when you were promised something good and then it turns out the good stuff was just a red herring and that the real solution is just sea cucumber. Yes I am talking about the plot of this book.

Basically Miss Bolam is murdered and no one knows why anyone would murder her. She wasn't popular but she wasn't murder worthy which was all fun for me because I love a good murder story where they have to establish motive too. Le...more
Debra
The murder of administrative officer, Enid Bolam, at the Steen Psychiatric Clinic, has staff on edge and, once again, Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh has to sort truth from lies and rumors. It’s no easy task as there are plenty of suspects to go around, and good reasons to want Enid dead.

This is the fourth P.D. James mystery I’ve read this year. Things started off rocky with Cover Her Face, however, I really enjoyed The Black Tower and Shroud for a Nightingale. I was disappointed, though, with thi...more
Douglas Cook
Early Dalgliesh book. Typical English police procedural. Murder happens in a psychiatric clinic, where only the staff are suspects.

First paragraphs
Chapter One DR. PAUL STEINER, consulting psychiatrist at the Steen Clinic, sat in the front ground floor consulting-room and listened to his patient’s highly rationalized explanation of the failure of his third marriage. Mr. Burge lay in comfort on a couch the better to expound the complications of his psyche. Dr. Steiner sat at his head in a chair of...more
Debbie Winkler
A Mind to Murder was originally published in 1963. It is just old enough that it appears quaint and charming rather than out dated. This book takes place three years after Cover Her Face, the first book in the Adam Dalgliesh Mystery series, and Dalgliesh is now a published poet. Through happy circumstance, Dalgliesh learns that Deborah Riscoe, whom he met in the first book, works at his publisher and Dalgliesh is now considering asking her to go to dinner, only to be interrupted by a murder. The...more
Peter
The second PD James Dalgliesh mystery, and the second I've read now. The first was overly plot-driven with very little development of Dalgliesh, but I you can feel in this second of his books that the character is coming to life. You learn a little more about his late wife, you learn he is a published poet, etc...

I enjoyed this book very much. Solid plotting, an interesting group of suspects, a nice twist at the end, all the rules of fair play adhered to, plenty of clues. I'm just terrible at f...more
Fran
Book Two in the Adam Dalgleish series. I liked this one more than the first. It's less formulaic, although still a bit of a drawing room mystery. Set in a posh psychiatric clinic, the victim is the Administrative Officer and the suspects all employees, ranging from the Porter to the secretaries to the doctors, who were in the building at the time of the murder. I found it amusing that my copy, a pulp paperback from 1963, compared James to Agatha Christie on the cover. Above the title, written in...more
Bill Rogers
Murder in a psychological clinic offers so many opportunities to ponder the mind and motivations of a killer. In her second Adam Dalgliesh novel, P. D. James takes the opportunity to do so. But do the deductions on the nature of the killer have anything to do with the truth?

This story strikes me as somewhere between the classic mystery and a crime procedural. Classic mysteries are puzzles, with no particular relationship to reality; procedurals follow the course of an investigation and the clues...more
Jackie
I started reading this book, the second in P.D. James' Adam Dalgliesh series, before the first book, Cover Her Face, and since I preferred this story, it resulted in a higher rating. Both stories were a typical English mystery, but I found the characters in this book more interesting as they were all flawed (albeit some more than others), even Detective Dalgliesh. The murder took place in a pyschiatric clinic where the rule-following Administrative Officer, Miss Bolam, is found with an art chise...more
Laura
Jul 04, 2010 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good police procedurals and doesn't mind an unappealing detective
If I could do half stars (something I frequently wish I could do), I'd give this two and a half. It was better than "okay" but only just so. Dalgliesh is just so unappealing. He writes poetry, but there is nothing at all that I find poetic about him. And there are tons of poets I don't like, but at least they have personality. He lacks even that.

The murder itself was compelling enough to keep me reading and it was a solid procedural with a nice red herring and tiny twist--totally believable tin...more
Spuddie
#2 Inspector Adam Dalgliesh British police procedural. It struck me while reading this book that, despite its having been published 45 years ago, the book didn’t seem “dated” as some older books can. The focus was the mystery, the plot, the who-dunnit-and-why, and not really on the characters. And while there was much detail about the psychiatric clinic where this took place, it seemed done in a….I don’t know, timeless manner, so that the lack of computers, a theft of £15 being a huge deal, the...more
Luke Padgett
I picked up this book at the suggestion of several prominent writers hoping to experience the best mystery writer ever. Not exactly what I expected and certainly not Agatha Christie. I will admit to loving her wonderfully english prose; free flowing and high-brow. She does develop her characters nicely giving the reader delicious insights into character emotion, motive and purpose. All necessary to a good mystery. The story waned a bit in the middle (too much exposition), but like an good myster...more
Maria
I have to agree with the reviewer who said they felt trapped inside the interview room trying to keep all the stories straight, and the one who said they figured out the murderer before Dalgliesh. I, too, have a lot of trouble keeping characters straight in books that have a lot of them. I wish Kindle had a notepad that you can make notes about the different characters to keep them all straight. Yes, I know that you can make notes, but you can't organize them the way I want to. At least, not tha...more
Mo
I like reading books that are set in England, and I especially like books that have to do with the English elite. This novel was not as interesting to me as #1 “Cover Her Face’, because the setting and characters were not as appealing. This mystery was set in a psychiatric clinic, and had none of the cache of the English 'Upper Crust' to lend it interest.

There was only one very thin thread which connected this to the first in the series. I would consider that this book could stand on its own.

My...more
booklady
May 22, 2008 booklady rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Shelves: mystery, 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellen
"A Mind to Murder" by P.D. James.

A murder in a psychiatric clinic calls Inspector Dagliesh to the case. The setting is a macabre one in my opinion and should have led to a more than interesting story. Sad to say it did not hold my interest. there were places that were written well enough to keep me a bit involved but they did not last.

I think this book will be my last by P.D. James.
Sarah
Didn't enthrall me quite as much as the first book, but still quite a decent read. I think I just wasn't as interested in the characters in this one, and I still feel like Adam hasn't been explored as the detective very much.

I also spent far too much time boggling over the fact that some of the outpatient psych patients were being treated with LSD, but this was written in the early 60s...
Surreysmum
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L.
This is one of James' early books and there are a couple of points at which the story is mildly dated, but the story holds up pretty well.

We find Inspector Dalgliesh at a publicity event for his recent publication of poems. He is called across the square in the midst of it: a psychiatric clinic has just been found to have a dead body in it. The main office assistant has been whacked on the head and then stabbed.

There are plenty of reasons for her to be killed: she wasn't very friendly, she playe...more
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P.D.James 6 41 Oct 16, 2012 09:04PM  
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P. D. James is 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 has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she...more
More about P.D. James...
Death Comes to Pemberley The Children of Men Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1) Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)

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