2009: 127.  The Murder Room

“On Friday 25 October, exactly one week before the first body was discovered at the Dupayne Museum, Adam Dagliesh visited the museum for the first time.”

The Murder Room, P.D. James

       Another James set in the confines of an institution - here, a private museum.  She seems at her best putting murder into a bureaucratic (or professional) framework, and watching how it blows up previously ordered systems (she also seems t0 believe that a lot of people want to murder their coworkers than seems plausible, when in real life I think you’d just quit).*  Anyway, this book is set in a private museum dedicated to the inter-war years, the hook of which is the “murder room,” with exhibits dedicated to murders of the twenties and thirties.  When one trustee decides he wants to shut down the museum, against the wishes of the others, the murder room becomes a venue for modern death.

       This is a perfectly serviceable mystery novel.  Well written, as all her stuff is, and in an interesting setting.  But it just didn’t jell for me.  I’ve read it twice, now, and on writing this I still had to rack my brains for whodunnit and why.  Yes as much as the mystery hasn’t stayed with me, aspects of the book remain - the character of the caretaker, and her happy life in the cottage, the notion of the museum, the murder room itself.  It’s too bad the mystery didn’

*Not that this is a book about murdering coworkers, though.


Date/Place Completed:  August 2009; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, P.D. James Project 

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017