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

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,552 Ratings  ·  326 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 distinguished facad
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
Mar 30, 2013 mark monday rated it liked it
Shelves: murdertime
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
Book Concierge
From the Book Jacket - When the administrative head of the Steen Psychiatric Clinic is found dead with a chisel in her heart, Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. Dalgliesh must analyze the deep-seated anxieties and thwarted desires of patients and staff alike to determine which of their unresolved conflicts resulted in murder.

My Reactions
This is an engaging, interesting and complex murder mystery. I love Dalgliesh and his quiet, deliberate manner. I also r
Oct 19, 2015 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. Read by Penelope Dellaporta in a terribly refined voice with a few character accents

I noted with great delight that the action of this book takes place mostly in the Steen clinic, which caters to rich, upper-class patients with socially unacceptable problems such as failing marriages and Undiscussable Things (I suspect one of the Things is homosexuality, which was still a criminal offense in England back in 1963). Cures are effected by such means as el
Apr 21, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Oct 23, 2011 Mary Gilligan-Nolan rated it really liked it
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
May 22, 2008 booklady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Shelves: 2008, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2015 Rosemary rated it really liked it
I'm reading the Inspector Dalgliesh books out of order, just as I come across them. This happens to be the second in the series. It was written in 1963 and concerns the murder of the Administrative Officer (that's like the manager) of a private psychiatric clinic in London. The psychiatric methods are dated, but not too much time is given to arguing the merits of each, thank goodness. Just enough to show that the staff shrinks have differing views and sometimes complain about each other to the A ...more
Jan 29, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 11, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it
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
Sep 12, 2014 Mo rated it liked it
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.

Dec 07, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
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
Aug 20, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
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
Syl  ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ
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
Apr 19, 2011 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually listened to the CD version, but it wasn't listed. As always, it took awhile to get into the book since the first part of any of Ms. James' books sets the stage for what happens. It takes a little while to remember the characters just like when one meets a group of people. But like all of Ms. James' mysteries that I've read, the story gathers momentum like a stone rolling downhill and becomes thoroughly involving. Also like all of her mysteries, there is irony and the effect of the sto ...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
Dec 06, 2014 Michael A rated it liked it
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
Gláucia Renata
Nov 18, 2014 Gláucia Renata rated it really liked it
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
Sep 14, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Susan Lyons
May 15, 2015 Susan Lyons rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2014 Roger rated it liked it
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
M. Newman
Dec 08, 2014 M. Newman rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
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
Jan 31, 2014 Stacy rated it liked it
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
Mar 29, 2014 Filip rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2014 Fanficfan44 rated it liked it
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
Aug 27, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
Another great one - it's amazing how well she conveys the perspective and mental state of each character without disrupting the pleasures of the traditional whodunnit structure.
Geo Forman
Dec 05, 2015 Geo Forman rated it it was ok
Sure it's not the best detective story written but reading it makes me think of crossword puzzles. For many, crosswords are a hobby and a distraction but require a secret code to remember obscure words that puzzle makers have in their bag to use in puzzles. Most folks who don't regularly work on crossword puzzles struggle but, hobbyists remember the odd words from previous puzzles and are more successful than the dabblers.
This is another twisted detective story set in England. The oddities are c
May 11, 2008 C rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
It was alright. I found it difficult to follow all the characters in the beginning. Couldn't keep it straight who was who.
Dec 05, 2014 Peggy rated it liked it
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
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).

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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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
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)

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