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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  ·  6,044 ratings  ·  359 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...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published July 27th 2004 by Seal Books (first published 2003)
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Robin
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...more
Hannah
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...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
Rose
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...more
Linda
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...more
Nancy
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.
Chris
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.
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.
Lainie
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
Jerry
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...more
Tony
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
Lobstergirl
Jul 10, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Forrest Hayes

This was a nice palate cleanser after a quite bad Nevada Barr. With it I bring to a sad conclusion the Dalgliesh novels. Ms. James is 93 and has probably written her last novel.

The book had some big surprises: first, James's favorite word, fawn, was not used! Second, there was a character in it who was actually likeable, the museum cleaner Tally Clutton. Normally all of James's characters are horrible, hateful, odious wretches. (Obviously I exclude Dalgliesh and his underlings from this categor...more
Virginia
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
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...more
Asha
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...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
Erica
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.
Sarah Willis
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
Ellen Moore
I had not read this author's work before but found this book at a used book sale and recognized the title from a reference in a series about a mystery bookstore which I read. I found it very interesting and especially liked Commander Adam Dalgliesh and the methodical way he approached the investigation and the manner in which he handled each suspect he interviewed. The characters were interesting although I was surprised that several were particularly rude and beligerant with the police.Once a d...more
Michele
Adam Dalgliesh is well-known among mystery fans, but this was the first one I've read. A bit formulaic, as mysteries tend to be, and perhaps a little longer than it needed to be. I don't read mysteries as a genre, being generally more interested in character; my favorites are the ones that you can read again with as much pleasure as the first time, because what matters isn't whodunit, it's the characters: people you like to spend time with because of who they are, what they do, what they're like...more
PJO
My first P.D. James mystery. I found it chock full of strange goings-on at a London museum dedicated to the inter-war years (meaning between WWI and WWII). There are two strange copycat murders and another attempt. Plenty of suspects and red herrings. I suspect that in real life, investigators (and police in general) get plenty of runaround from those they interview. This hero, Dalgliesh, is brilliant and calm, though his team members seem plenty sharp, too. He's got the stiffest upper lip but i...more
Maria Longley
I like how PD James treats her characters. Even those who end up being victims are still human and not just plot devices. Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve a murder that happens at a museum near Hampstead Heath with a Murder Room celebrating (?) famous crimes between the two world wars. I didn't quite get how it suddenly became so obvious to everyone in the book who did the murdering but it was a good read. Bits of it feel quite old fashioned so it's a bit of a jolt when things like mobile ph...more
Jennifer
didn't see the ending happening quite as it did. :)
AmmarMajali
One of the last books in the Adam Dalgliesh series. The Dupayne Museum in Hampstead Heath in London a fictional museum dedicated to the intra war years of London with a murder room that showcases several famous crimes of those years.

All the three trustees of the museum should agrees on a lease to make sure that the place stays in business. One of them is killed.

Commander AD is asked to investigate the murder.

This novel shows the class system in its best. The resentment between high class and the...more
Nick
PD James is simply the best mystery stylist around, I forgot what a difference great writing, characterization, and plotting means to a good mystery. I'm not a fan typically of the British 'locked-room' style that follows in the footsteps of Agathe Christie, it always seems a bit pat for my tastes, which run towards the hard-boiled detective or cop procedural. James straddles the fence just enough with Adam Dalgleish that I dont mind the quaint little encapsulated world she paints in this gem --...more
Pamela
I'm usually a fan of P.D. James, but not with this one. Don't know if she was under some kind of deadline or just bored, but it's definitely one of her better stories...probably the worst I've read from her. Bad thing is, it pretty much qualifies as all around bad. Sure, there's the usual Dalgliesh angst, the detail of ordinary life, the gorgeous descriptions of the English countryside. Unfortunately that's about all there is. The mystery is very disappointing, and the solution even more so. Too...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John


The Murder Room

by P.D. James

Knopf, 432 pages, hardback, 2003



The small Dupayne Museum, on the edge of a large area of
parkland, Hampstead Heath, in North London, houses exhibitions
devoted to life in Britain between the two World Wars. Although
the museum draws relatively few visitors, it does have one
perennially popular attraction, the Murder Room, containing
exhibits related to the most notorious murders of the period.

Old Max Dupayne, its founder, willed that his three children
— Neville, Caroline a...more
Starling
It is unusual for me to give any book 5 stars. It has to be more than a book I've enjoyed and even more than a book I might re-read. Mostly I give the books I enjoy 4 stars. To some extent I'm reacting to the bad reviews this book has received from people who did not understand what they were picking up when they chose to read the book, and therefor ended up with the wrong book at the wrong time.

PD James has been writing murder mysteries with Dalgliesh as her main character since the 1960s. One...more
Migdalia
Some authors are in a class by themselves, or they help define the class. They are not just great writers, but they are great storytellers. They also understand their subjects better than anyone else, as if it's in their DNA. They can not only teach a class, but they can also teach by example.

PD James is one of these people. Pick up any one of her books, and you'll get any lesson you want. Want to learn creative writing? She's a perfect example. Want to learn how to tell a tale, describe your ch...more
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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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“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.” 3 likes
“All the motives for murder are covered by four Ls: Love, Lust, Lucre and Loathing.” 3 likes
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