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A Mind to Murder: Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, Book 2
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A Mind to Murder: Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, Book 2 [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by P.D. James (Author), Roy Marsden (Narrator)
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

That a man who caught murderers should be a successful poet seemed inappropriate to some people. But Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh of the Criminal Investigation Department was attending his publisher's annual sherry party when a call from Scotland Yard whipped him away to investigate a particularly brutal murder. In the elegant Steen Psychiatric Clinic, which catered strictly for upper-class neuroses, sprawled the body of Enid Bolam, a chisel through her heart. It had been a vicious, calculated thrust, suggesting that the killer had not only confident knowledge of anatomy but unusual strength. But why, lying on Miss Bolam's chest, was there the grotesque wooden image which old Tippett, a chronic schizophrenic, had been carving in the art therapy department?

Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern-day standards.

©1963 P.D. James; (P)1986 BBC Audiobooks Limited

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 55 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: AudioGO Ltd.
  • Release Date: August 12, 2005
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000AWGX2C
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
149 of 151 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neat and tidy May 13, 2002
I'm always on the lookout for books for my 92-year-old mother -- still a sharp woman, but less able to handle complexity than she once was -- and very much a lady, who objects to an excess of blood and/or vulgarity. The early P.D. James mysteries are perfect! They're very well-crafted, nicely written, but lacking the sprawl and complexity of her later works. This one, set in a psychiatric clinic, is a classic in the sense that a murder was done by one of a limited number of characters, whose movements and motives are key. There are a satisfying number of clues, including some red herrings, dispensed at regular intervals. The characters are nicely sketched. The routines -- and the politics -- of the psychiatric clinic make for an especially strong setting. The whole thing unfolds in just over 200 pages and reaches a satisfying, sufficiently logical conclusion. Originally written in the early 1960s, "A Mind for Murder" has a decidedly old-fasioned feel, but is fun to read nonetheless. And for those who love the later P.D. James books, taking another look at her early work makes it doubly fun. My mother liked the book; so do I.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Straight-Forward June 12, 2004
I found this early mystery by P.D. James to be quite an enjoyable read. In her later books she tends to go a little overboard giving her characters interior monologues, but she doesn't do that much here. We learn a little about Superintendent Dalgliesh's late wife and his feelings for her, but there's no angsty-ness to it. Dalgliesh does worry that he won't be able to crack the case, but with the number of correct hunches he plays James does well to keep him humble.
The mystery, like the characters, is pretty straightforward too. James fairly well leads you down the path of whom to suspect, but throws in a couple inconsistencies to keep you guessing. Ultimately those inconsistencies are explained and the ending is given the obligatory twist. The story could have done with a few less characters: Keeping track of who's who and to whom they're doing what got muddy a couple times. Still, James does a good job of isolating the few key characters and if you keep steadily marching forward it's not too hard to keep up.
There is a charming naivete about this story. A modern author would have to have some of the LSD (medicinal purposes only) get mixed in with Dalgliesh's tea, and the electroshock therapy room and creaking dumbwaiter would have to be put to equally sinister purposes as well. While there is a lot of sexual activity going on at the clinic, nothing prurient takes place within the pages of the book; there's one morning-after scene and James does bring herself to write the word "thigh" a couple times, but that's about as smutty as it gets.
At this point in her writing career, James hasn't quite found her voice yet. Nevertheless, she's able to craft an above-average mystery with well-developed male and female characters.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece March 17, 2007
This is my second James novel. I read The Murder Room which was written by James a few years ago and I thought that it was dreadful. It is a 500 page bore or snore. The present work was written over 40 years ago by a James in her prime. It is short and compact; and, it has a nicely balanced structure with good characters. It is written with straightforward and simple prose and it is a compelling read that is hard to put down. In short, it is what one can describe as a masterpiece.

The book opens with the literary hook: a murder in a clinic basement of the Steen Psychiatric Clinic during a busy Friday afternoon in London. On discovery of the murder, the doors of the clinic are sealed, Dalgliesh is called in, and we are off on the hunt for the killer, or killers.

The novel has an interesting set of characters, but not too many characters. It appears that there are just a half dozen suspects with a motivation to be involved with the killing. The mystery unfolds slowly, and the reader is given a few clues just ahead of the Dalgliesh.

Readers will not be disappointed, and the book demonstrates the fame and ability of James as a crime writer. Most will want to keep the book and set it aside to read again in the future. Also, the book demonstrates again that more is not always better than less. In the elaborate 550 page slow moving story told in The Murder Room, the author has a 95 page introduction and no crime until around page 130. We wait as Dalgliesh does not enter the investigation until almost page 200. Thankfully, all of that type of writing is missing here. In a Mind to Murder, the story is well underway and the reader is fully engaged by page 10. James tells a well balanced and a compelling tale in half the space.

Since the book came out in 1963, it has had approximately seven printings by three different publishers including Faber and Faber, and Penguin. It is easy to understand why.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, but very sweet October 9, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A great introduction for readers to the world of P.D. James, this is a serious, literate mystery, though it's still considerably lightweight fare. Not at the same level as her later books, but not as mind-boggling, either. The story features Adam Dalgliesh, who is investigating the stabbing murder of one of the staff at a London psychiatric clinic. Fairly well-developed characters, intelligent use of medical and clinical knowledge (James had a lot of life experience, making her one of today's most realistic writers), a clever whodunit plot with intriguing detection, and a jarring twist ending. That James sparkle is already starting to show at this point.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, vivid and thoroughly enjoyable
This sophomore outing for Dalgleish is a great improvement on his debut, which was pretty good to begin with. Read more
Published 48 minutes ago by Vivek Hurry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
another briliant book in the series.
Published 22 days ago by Lara Quentrall-Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars British murder mystery in a mental clinic...oh boy!
In this, PD James' second Adam Dalgliesh mystery, the Administrative Head of a London psychiatric clinic is found dead, with a chisel in her heart. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by M. J. Newhouse
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting
It was s very interesting story and good dialogue. At times hard to stay focused with the characters but good
Published 1 month ago by Lakey Logan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 1 month ago by Barbara G. Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the author - so sorry she is no longer ...
Love the author - so sorry she is no longer with us. Her series have been in my home for decades.
Published 1 month ago by Marti
3.0 out of 5 stars Not in the class of the truly great detective novel.
P.D. James translates better onto film than she comes across with the written word. Not in the class of the truly great detective novel.
Published 2 months ago by Colleen B. Reep
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps You Guessing!
As always, P. D. James keeps you guessing. Perhaps not quite as good as her previous works, but nonetheless excellent.
Published 2 months ago by Ivan D. Hafley
4.0 out of 5 stars A Body Found at a Psychiatric Clinic
In 7 long chapters, we learn of the crime, the main suspects and the investigation. Very straight forward solving of the case with just enough suspicion on different people to make... Read more
Published 3 months ago by kindlefan
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