A Mind To Murder, by PD James

>> Monday, March 24, 2003

I read River of Eden at the same time as a PD James book, A Mind To Murder. This is book #2 in the Adam Dalgliesh series. The books in the series can be read independently, since each chronicles a different case, and the connecting thread is the detective, Adam Dalgliesh and his colleagues at Scotland Yard.

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 resolved conflicts resulted in murder.
AMTM was the perfect book to break up a bit the non-stop action of River of Eden. When the action got too stressful for me, the calm, stately pace of AMTM was a welcome respite.

This one's an early PD James, as I've said. It's a 1963 book and it's more a traditional whodunnit than her latest novels. Like these, it does have outstanding character development, but it was a much more streamlined work.

I enjoyed the characters, even if I didn't really like any of them. It's just a pleasure to read characters who feel like real people, each with his or her virtues and defects. And, to tell the truth, Dalgliesh didn't get on my nerves as much as he did in Death in Holy Orders, which was very good!

The mystery was interesting and intrincate, but the resolution felt a bit forced and unbelievable. Still, I enjoyed it: a B-.

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