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  ·  4,192 ratings  ·  212 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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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
Hayes
Well, five of the seven cardinal sins are present; only wrath and gluttony are missing. Greed, sloth, pride, lust, and envy are the key vices in the story, in case your memory needs a nudge.

This dark detective story deals with heavy topics including adultery, divorce, and other marital stresses, religious fervor, as well as the then [1960s] new field of psychotherapy.

This story is full of biting social commentary: P.D. James spares no one.

p. 102:
'... Dr Steiner and I feel that if the Worriker
...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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Lora
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
Lobstergirl
Oct 29, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Timothy Leary
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Diogenes
After skipping around among P.D. James' cozy police procedurals, reading four of the more recent books, I'm starting at the beginning and working my way through. This one isn't markedly better than Cover Her Face, her first. All the suspects, colleagues at a psychiatric clinic, naturally either hated or disliked the murderee, or stood to benefit from her death. James writes cynically and concescendingly - she creates an unlikeable group (except for Dalgliesh and Martin, obviously); class differe...more
Michael
After enjoying P.D. James' later novels in the Adam Dalgliesh series, I decided to work my way through the entire series. In this novel, the murder happens immediately, and then Dalgliesh shows up and starts interviewing the suspects. That's fine but the story didn't capture my interest at that point since I wasn't invested yet in the characters. I only really started to enjoy the novel after the first of second CD when the interviewing section was over.

I've come to enjoy P.D. James's detective...more
Liz Dean
Nov 29, 2007 Liz Dean rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who like very straight-laced detectives
Shelves: did-not-finish
Dear Daddy, what am I doing wrong? Why can't I get into these P.D. James books? I tried, I tried so hard but I had to put it down after 2 very tedious chapters. You were dead on about Elizabeth George. She's the bomb. Every time a new book of hers comes out, I am so sad you are not here to read it. Kind of like I'm so sad you missed the first Matrix, Harry Potter, and His Dark Materials. But PD James just doesn't draw me in. Who cares about all those repressed therapists at the psychiatric hospi...more
Jim
Jun 06, 2013 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: adults, young adults, people who like "country house" mysteries,
Shelves: british-crime
This is the second book by PD James in her Adam Dalgliesh series. Like the first book in the series, it is your typical "country house" whodunnit, of the sort that Agatha Christie might write. It wasn't a bad read, if you like that sort of book.

It's set in a small psychiatric unit, where the chief administrative officer has been murdered. Dalgliesh is called in to investigate. It's a short book, but

As I said, it wasn't a bad read, but I found the denouement to be a bit of a let down. In school,...more
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P.D.James 6 39 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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