Sunday, 10 June 2007

A Mind to Murder - P D James

This is one of those books that I would never have bought from a shop and will probably never read again - but found an enjoyable, easy and engaging read, perfect for distracting me from the boredom of long tram journeys.

Written in the 1960s, it is a classic "locked room" or at least locked building scenario. The virtuous but unpopular administrator of a upmarket psychiatric clinic is murdered and the police need to work out which of her colleagues did it. There is a satisfying range of motives and personalities which are revealed in a well-ordered and logical manner.

As in an Agatha Christie mystery, P D James avoids an excess of blood and gore description - ultimately this is a puzzle for the reader to enjoy and unwind.

The only thing that irked me about this book was the author's introduction of a possible love interest for the protagonist (Superintendent Dalgliesh) that is referred to couple of times but never developed - it sticks out like a sore thumb and would have been better edited out completely (I was irritated by a similar thing in another PD James novel, The Murder Room).

Nonetheless, I did enjoy this novel. While I won't be racing out to purchase any P D James' mysteries for my permanent collection, I will be keeping my eye out for them on the library bookshelves.

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