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A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh #2)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  5,815 ratings  ·  294 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
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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
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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
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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
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.
Nancy
The second P.. D. James mystery. This one takes place mostly in a National Health mental health clinic and contains a wonderful variety of characters - a handsome young porter who is an artist in his real life, a detail-oriented office manager who is not sympathetic to the patients who come to be seen, several psychiatrists who tend to dismiss each other's areas of expertise, and several nurses, secretaries, art therapy practitioners, and so on. One is murdered (hit over the head with a carved w ...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
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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
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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
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Carol
This was the second of this author's books involving Adam dagleish as the detective in charge of a murder investigation at a psychiatric clinic. It is interesting but I did not find myself getting very involved with any of the plethora of characters thrown in. Her later mysteries showed her development of her protagonist to a better degree
Smitha
There are few crime and mystery authors whose books I reread (for reasons obvious), and PD James and Agatha Christie have a prominent place among them. This was a reread for me, but seemed like a new story, as I read it a long time ago and had totally forgotten the circumstances leading to the murder. I quite enjoy PD James' style. I like reading about Dalgleish and team. The background for this mystery is a private psychiatry clinic, whose administrating officer is found dead in the records roo ...more
Tom Johnson
on reading of PD James passing I felt I had to read her so I chose this Dalgliesh 1963 title - old enough to add time capsule interest - LSD? this was before acid hit the big time; Timothy Leary and media attention (I remember reading Leary's 1968 book, HIGH PRIEST. at the time an Excellent Read. Wonder if I would still find it so). Used LSD during the late '60s. By the '70s the authorities had clamped down on the necessary ingredients, it was still available but wretched stuff, for the most par ...more
Michael A
I've finished reading this book instead of researching a paper. I guess that's a testament to how addictive these mystery novels can be. Though I welcome the break -- constantly reading nothing but academic articles in journals is a bit soul-destroying if not broken up by other reading..

In any case, this is a marked improvement over the first novel. It has much fewer distracting descriptions, nor is it set among a shifty group of obnoxious high-class non-entities. It has the required red herring
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Gláucia Renata
Meu primeiro livro da autora que já estava a fim de conhecer há algum tempo. Gostei do estilo, achei um pouco próximo dos policiais tradicionais onde a narrativa é focada na investigação, feita pelo detetive Dalgliesh que, nas horas vagas publica seus livros de poesia. Achei interessante como em alguns momentos ela foca a narrativa no pensamento de todos os suspeitos.
O crime acontece numa clínica psiquiátrica e a vítima é a gerente administrativa. Faltou um pouco de ritmo, vai sendo mantido o mi
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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
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Susan Lyons
I don't think anyone will surpass P.D.James as a writer of British murder-mysteries. There are others that are top-rate, think Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, and Dorothy L. Sayers, but intellectually, I think James stands a little above the rest. One needs a dictionary by his or her side when reading James--at least I do--yet her writing is clear and readable as she sets up the situation and then draws readers closer and closer to the solution of the crime. This one is set in a psychiatric clin ...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
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Sandra Danby
A private clinic, psychiatrists and their patients: potent territory for a crime novelist. The clinic administrator is found murdered in the basement archive, a chisel through her heart. The potential murderer must be within the clinic’s staff and as they set about analysing each other’s alibis and motives, Commander Adam Dalgliesh arrives from a literary party.
A classic PD James, although for me a trifle slow-moving at times as the layout and routines of the clinic are necessarily explored. The
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M. Newman
In this, PD James' second Adam Dalgliesh mystery, the Administrative Head of a London psychiatric clinic is found dead, with a chisel in her heart. There are, of course, many suspects to this dastardly deed, including an intelligent porter who is also a talented artist; a young lady who works at the clinic and is modeling for and sleeping with him; the woman who stands to succeed the administrator at her post; the administrator's cousin who works as a nurse at the facility and who is the decease ...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
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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
Peggy
I listened to this book in my car. I have to admit that I almost didn't listen to it because I found the narrator's voice distracting - very British but high pitched. Once I got used to it I did enjoy the story. Inspector Dalgliesh is called in to investigate the murder of an administrative assistant at a private mental health clinic. It seems the victim had discovered something troubling about the clinic but before she can tell her supervisor she is stabbed to death. As usual with this kind of ...more
Kristina
Damn it. I already own this book. I bought a British edition in London and of course I picked an Adam Dalgliesh book I already own. I'm reviewing the Faber & Faber 2010 edition that I read (but cannot find on GR).
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When I was in London, I thought it appropriate to read a novel by a British author and to buy said novel in London. So while hanging out at St. Pancras station, I picked up a copy of P.D. James’s A Mind to Murder. I read it before many year
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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P.D.James 5 43 Oct 16, 2012 09:04PM  
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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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More about P.D. James...

Other Books in the Series

Adam Dalgliesh (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1)
  • 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)
  • Death in Holy Orders (Adam Dalgliesh, #11)
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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