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The Murder Room

(Adam Dalgliesh #12)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  11,081 ratings  ·  717 reviews
Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love.

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 -- 19
Paperback, 415 pages
Published November 9th 2004 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
An undercurrent in PD James Adam Dalgleish novels is that most people are lonely, living their life in neat, compartmentalised boxes & only occasionally coming out to interact with their fellow man.

This was a wonderful mystery about murders at a fictitious London museum, The DuPayne. A lot of clever twists & turns (including a red herring that had me convinced I had guessed the murderer!)Maybe a little too much about the minutiae in the (mostly lonely and/or solitary) cha
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Murder Room is all that a murder-mystery should be. Intriguing and clever mystery plot, an exciting story, an interesting set of characters, including the suspects, and well-balanced writing. After my previous disappointment, I approached this novel with caution and without expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised and am happy to find that, at last, this is one book in the series that I could claim to have truly enjoyed. In all the eleven preceding books of the series, I found some compl ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p-d-james
I read this almost cover to cover. An intriguing mystery with lots of red herrings and suspects. There. Are also clues in the text which I complete missed. The Dupayne museum on Hampstead Heath with its murder room of murders past.

The dysfunctional Dupayne family. Marcus, Caroline and Neville. Odd staff. A gruesome murder and Adam Dalgliesh on the case. The build up to the murder is well done and everyone appears to have a motive for murder. Ryan, the Dupayne’s, the curator, Tally, Muriel, a my
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder…

I am, to be honest, finding P D James mo
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yet another impressive chapter in the Dalgliesh series by P.D. James.

I did see the film years ago but only brief snatches of it played in my head while reading the book. So you know it must not have been memorable to me.

This one was full of impressive twists and turns. Only two more full Dalgliesh novels for me after this one and the short story collections.
Jul 15, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
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
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
My first P. D. James book. The detective and main character of this murder mystery, Commander Adam Dalgleish, has appeared in many of P. D. James' other books and though this story is bookended by his continued desire for a romance with a woman named Emma who also appeared in a previous story, being unfamiliar with Dalgleish's other cases does not distract or detract from the enjoyment of this one.

James' writing style is of literary caliber and her plotting superb. I was completely unable to fig
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
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The twelfth Adam Dalgliesh novel revolves around a small, private museum, in Hampstead – the Dupayne Museum. The museum houses a collection of items from between the wars, as well as the ‘Murder Room,’ which has a collection from historical crimes. The Dupayne is owned by three siblings – Caroline, Neville and Marcus. All three have to sign the new lease, but, when one of the siblings refuse to sign and wants the museum closed, the scene is set for murder…

I am, to be honest, finding P D James mo
Sarah Ryburn
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
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
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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. ...more
Roman Clodia
** Spoilers **

Pretty yawny and dull with the usual pompous writing I now associate with PDJ from her middle books onwards. Not even the sudden uncovering of a posh people's swingers club can liven things up!

Kate continues to feel awkward about her working class background; PDJ is on a soapbox about how state school students get into Oxbridge no matter how illiterate they are; and quite why a supposedly ace police team of a commander, two detective inspectors and a sergeant are needed for a murd
Larry Bassett
You have to be patient for the murders to come on

This is my first PD James and it is very English. It did seem like we had to go through all the characters slowly until the first murder. I guess this is part of the series and the lead detective has a history of prior stories. I do not know if it would've been more enjoyable if I would have been dollar jumble of that prior history. The investigative unit is a special one dealing with sensitive information although the details of that information
Emilia Barnes
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think that, though it isn't absolutely necessary, it would have helped were I more familiar with Dalgliesh and some of the other characters, for this one. The lack of proper context made some aspects of the novel (which I would have otherwise enjoyed) slightly difficult to follow/sympathise with. Other than that, P.D. James has her style of writing - it's a beautiful style, she's a very good writer, but it's detailed to the point of pedantism, and features a lot of perspectives, which might no ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discussion-group
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
L.M. Krier
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a mark of the high quality of P D James' writing that I was prepared to wait until p130 (of the French translation in hardback) for the first body. Although this is a twenty-first century murder mystery, there is such a wonderfully old world quality about the writing, it could almost be a Christie.

That's due in no part to the strong characterisation of lead policeman Commander Adam Dalgliesh, the impeccably polite and restrained policeman-poet. It's easy to imagine him working alongside Mis
Commander Adam Dalgliesh is already acquainted with the Dupayne Museum in Hampstead, and with its sinister murder room celebrating notorious crimes committed in the interwar years, when he is called to investigate the killing of one of the trustees. He soon discovers that the victim was seeking to close the museum against the wishes of both staff and fellow trustees.

4* An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray, #1)
4* The Skull Beneath The Skin (Cordelia Gray, #2)
4* Innocent Blood
3* The Child
Jennifer Locke
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a murder-y type crime book, you can do no better than PD James. This was my second PD James read; I now proclaim myself a fan. The Murder Room is crime fiction that I would put beside any piece of literary fiction out on bookshelves. The writing is complex and nuanced; characters are fully and beautifully realized, and James portrays them all with the utmost sensitivity and respect. The London setting made the book a wonderfully fun read for me, as did Adam Dalgliesh's burg ...more
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I really liked this at the beginning, the character development especially, but once the murder investigation kicked off I lost some interest. I think Dalgliesh was so seldom in this book I didn't know who he was as a person. I wasn't impressed with some of the techniques James used to unfold the mystery. I wasn't a fan of this but I didn't hate it either. ...more
Jerry B
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Listened to in audio format.

The Murder Room is the fourth book I have listened to in the Commander Dalgleish (AD) series. When I first started listening to these books I thought the descriptions of places and people were too long and tedious.

Now I am on my fourth book in the series and I have totally changed my mind. This series is so much more than a police procedural, the language is beautiful and the characters so very English.

There is always a build up to the murder so you get to know the vi
Khris Sellin
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
RTC on here and The Pewter Wolf

A slow start (character development of victim and circle of suspects who work or who are involved in the Dupayne Museum), but once the first murder happened, this moves as a nice pace, building to a nice, gripping crescendo. Though at times, the writing is a tad much for my taste, I am very intrigued to try more of her novels (I have, I think, four other novels on my kindle and one collection of short stories to read).
A.K. Kulshreshth
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the many books that blur the line between "genre" and "literary" fiction. As other reviewers have commented, it takes a long time for the first dead body to appear. The setting and characters are developed at a leisurely pace. ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it

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
Dana Clinton
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yesterday I composed most of a good review for The Murder Room (P.D. James), then lost it when I tried to insert a French accent!! My computer doesn't indicate whether I have the number lock on or not, and that little problem can lead to deleted work, zut alors! So let's try again! I have read other mysteries in this series and really love the way P.D. James writes. Her books are well constructed and written with flair as well as creating believable characters. I adore the asides and the literar ...more
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: P.D. James fans, smart mystery fans
Shelves: 2009-reads
The Murder Room of the title is located in the Dupayne Museum in London, and commemorates some of the most fantastic and lurid murders in history. Through a chance meeting, Adam Dalgliesh visits with an acquaintance, but is called back soon after to investigate a series of murders. The first murder is one of the members of the Dupayne family, who were named as trustees in their late father’s will, with the caveat that any decisions regarding the museum have to be unanimous among the three surviv ...more
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P. D. James, byname of Phyllis Dorothy James White, Baroness James of Holland Park, (born August 3, 1920, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England—died November 27, 2014, Oxford), British mystery novelist best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.

The daughter of a middle-grade civil servant, James grew up in the university town of Cambridge. Her formal education, however, ended at

Other books in the series

Adam Dalgliesh (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh #1)
  • A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh #2)
  • 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)

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