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A Mind To Murder

(Adam Dalgliesh #2)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  9,943 ratings  ·  515 reviews
On the surface, the Steen Psychiatric Clinic is one of the most reputable institutions in Lindon. but when the administrative head is found dead with a chisel in her heart, that distinguished facade begins to crumble as the truth emerges. Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh pf Scotland Yard is called in to investigate and quickly find himself caught in a whirlwind of psychiatry, ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Faber and Faber (first published 1963)
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Sheila Myers I don't think the possible unstable mental state of the murderer would've caused Dalgliesh to automatically assume a psychiatrist wouldn't be a…moreI don't think the possible unstable mental state of the murderer would've caused Dalgliesh to automatically assume a psychiatrist wouldn't be a suspect. A psychiatrist can be just as mentally unstable as his or her patients. I think, as in the other novels in the series, Adam was basing his decision on the behaviors he observed and the possible motives.(less)
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mark monday
Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Adam Dalgleish mystery and was originally published in 1963. Most of the novel takes place in the Steen Psychiatric Clinic, which deals mainly with affluent and often artistic patients. These problems are dealt with in ways which, in 1963, seem to herald the beginning of the Swinging Sixties – with one patient undergoing treatment using LSD. This was a time, of course, when such legal drugs were still seem as harmless and experimental.

Miss Enid Bolam was the senior
Very reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s work. P.D. James really does demonstrate the same mystery writing skills that Christie did. She lays out the crime and all the various suspects and then sets Dalgleish and Martin among them to sort things out. Two police cats amongst the psychiatric pigeons. Just like Poirot, Dalgleish is able to see through the clutter to the heart of things. Unlike Poirot, he is able to do so without being annoyingly self-satisfied.

Perhaps because I just recently read
Cindy Rollins
I am a huge PD James fan and enjoyed revisiting this book. It must have been 15 years since I originally read it. I had suggested her books to my husband when he was looking for an audiobook and so I can now reread PD James in audio form. While in some ways this book could be said to be dated, in other ways it is strangely up-to-date. James always comes across as the most level-headed person. She brings this sense of strength to her mysteries. There is nothing cozy here.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-5-star-reads
I absolutely adore this authors wit and writing! This series started in the 60’s but I find that it is able to hold up today. It feels a little like reading a Mad Men murder mystery and I can literally visualize the settings and the costumes. I find some of the gender stereotypes and sexist characters highly entertaining. For example, the assumptions made by some of the men that female characters shouldn’t bother seeking more education, or a higher position since they will likely want to be ...more
Not too much to say about this one. I thought it was a solid mystery for the second book in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I just found myself getting bored after a while since it was really obvious who the murderer was (at least to me). There are some other secrets that are spilled, but other than a couple of major ones at the end, none of the rest had much to do with anything I thought. I do think the flow could have been tighter too. We just stayed too long with the suspects and I wanted to be ...more

P D James's second Adam Dalgliesh mystery was published in 1963 and so is on the 1963 list for My Big Fat Reading Project. Only three weeks earlier I had read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, making it a bit of a shock (pun intended) to open A Mind to Murder and find it set in a London psychiatric clinic. In between the electric shock and LSD treatments as well as psychiatric "talk therapy" sessions, the administrator of the clinic is murdered in the basement amid a confusion of scattered patient
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
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the administrator officer dies under suspicious circumstances with a handful of suspects, Adam Dalgliesh finds himself plowing through evidence, motives, and less-than-forthcoming suspects to make an arrest. While I suspected the perpetrator, it was not completely obvious. Still the story seemed tedious in places. The library held two Overdrive audio versions and after listening to samples of both readers, I selected the one by Penelope Dellaporta who seemed to use more voice inflection and ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fiction
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
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, modern-crime-uk
The plot centres around a murder at a psychiatric clinic in London. First published in 1963, this is the second of the series featuring detective Adam Dalgleish and we learn a little more about what makes him tick in this book, including his fear of failure despite never having allowing a murderer to slip through his grasp.
I thought the first 70 pages dragged a little as Dalgleish interviews each of the suspects in turn but the pace picked up and the writing at the denouement was very good
Clare Snow
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Clare by: My Mum
I liked this more than my first P.D. James. I'll be reading more from her. Yes, the storyline is generic, the sexism and mistreatment of psychiatric patients is rife, but that blackmail machine - pure gold.

You kids and your LSD. I'm surprised anyone survived the 1960s.
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Mind To Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2) by P.D. James A Mind To Murder by P.D. James is the second book in the Inspector Dalgleish mystery series. In this mystery, Dalgleish and his assistant, Sgt Martin, investigate the murder of the Administrative Officer at a London psychiatrist facility. To all intents it appears that the murder is an inside job. As with the other PD James books I've read, I'm impressed with how intelligently James writes. The story is a methodical police investigation, but I enjoy how she lays out a story, the methodical ...more
Tory Wagner
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
A Mind to Murder by P.D. James is the second in the series featuring policeman Adam Dagliesh. It takes place at a London Clinic where the office manager is murdered. Dagliesh and his sidekick Martin investigate and find that more than murder is occurring at the clinic. Another engaging British mystery that is less blood and gore and more thoughtful investigation.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 2nd Adam Dalgliesh of the series and we got a bit further into his character in this outing. This was more towards the end of the book though and whilst the book was well executed, I got a bit muddled with the introduction of all the medical staff early in the novel.
This definitely affected my enjoyment verbal, but the last third of the book was up to the writer’s high standards.
We have a closed group of suspects all working for the Steen Clinic, a psychiatric specialist clinic where the
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A piercing scream, shattering the evening calm, brings Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh hurrying from his literary party to the nearby Steen Psychiatric Clinic, where he discovers the body of a woman sprawled on the basement floor, a chisel thrust through her heart.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although P.D. James has for years been a favorite writer of mine, I have to admit that this book was not one of her best. It may have been me, as I was a bit distracted while reading it, but the pages that describe Adam Dalgleish's questioning the various suspects seemed interminably long and the basic solution seemed obvious.

The administrator of a posh psychiatric clinic in London has been murdered; the setting is the early 1960s, so electro-convulsive and LSD treatments are a couple of the
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...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
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Does James improve over the first in this series, "Cover Her Face"?
CAST – 3 stars: In this second outing for Adam Dalgliesh, his problems with neuralgia become more apparent when he feels “spasms of cold” and a feeling of heaviness on the “right side of his face”. And on the anniversary of his wife’s death he visits a “small Catholic church behind the Strand to light a candle.” There, oddly, he meets Frederica Saxon, a psychologist at the Steen Clinic,
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
Apr 21, 2014 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
Apr 19, 2011 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 ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upon hearing of the death of P. D. James, I decided to make my way through her Adam Dalgliesh series. I've read some of them, but it's been years ago. As usual James writes about an interesting cast of characters where a murder is committed at a psychiatric clinic. I read the first of the series earlier this year and have put four of James books on my 2015 reading challenge.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Barbara Heckendorn
Another good cozy mystery from the Adam Dalgliesh series. This time, the majority of everything takes place in one place namely the Steen Psychiatric Clinic. Miss Bolam the administrative officer is found dead in the archive. She was not very popular and therefore everyone had something to hide. Dalgliesh's job is to filter out all the negative emotions everyone has, so that he finds the essence. In this commissioner coincidence helps to put things into perspective. Dalgliesh has to hurry to ...more
Rob Cook
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dalgleish and Martin investigate the murder at a psychiatric clinic.
I preferred this second novel over the first one in the series, it seemed to feature more of Dalgleish and his investigating this time around. I particularly liked how the pace in increases towards the end of the book as the killer is eventually unmasked.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
P.D. James understands that her readers want to be able to figure out the crime too. She masterfully thwarts this desire at every turn with subterfuge and red herrings and I love her for it. This installment was just as entertaining as the first. Although, I'm still puzzling at how Adam Dalgliesh could in anyway be attracted to Deborah Risko.
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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)
  • 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)
“Right and wrong stood for him as immutable as the two poles. He had never wandered in that twilight country where the nuances of evil and good cast their perplexing shadows.” 2 likes
“She would not wish anyone violently dead but, since it had happened, one might as well make the most of it.” 1 likes
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