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.
Widely acknowledged as "the greatest contemporary writer of classic crime" (The London Sunday Times), P. D. James received the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award for long-term achievement in 1999.
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In this second of the Dalgliesh series, written around 1962, the reader gets introduced to the inside world of English outpatient "sanitarium". Dalgliesh finds himself investigating the murder of the administrative officer of the Steen, a fictious clinic outside London. It is a closed-room mystery in that the investigation centers on those individuals in the Steen at the time of the murder. This puts Dalgliesh in a situation where psychiatrists continually give him their profile of the murderer, which is, in its way, humorous. Although we never actually meet a patient, we meet the people who work with them. In this book Dalgliesh gets fooled and in doing so, another person nearly dies. If you're reading the books in order, this is the book where you learn how Dalgliesh got started as a poet. Every bit as good as more contemporary Dalgliesh novels, its classic James.
This was a rich mystery full of the complications of human behavior. Character development is phenomenally complete, and the narration of Dellaporta amplifies the richness of the tale. I will look for more P.D. James the next time I search audible.com.
PD James crafts her mysteries so thoroughly. The detail of evidence, characters and psychology are so engaging. Each character is so well written and the reading in this audio edition is so well done. I'd write more but I have to get the next one right away.
I found this very tedious. I like for the detective to be more than a bystander for most of the book. I'll try another PD James, because I liked the 1st one I tried, and because some of her books get such good reviews.
not very entertaining.. i could not stay involved with. the plot of the characters.
This is not one of James' best designed or set mysteries, and none of the characters are particularly compelling or sympathetic. The solution was too clever by half, and Dalgliesh was only half-touched as a character, though he's still a gem of a detective. The best thing about this audio book is actually Penelope Della Porta, whose narration was masterful, gripping when events required, yet calming and soft through the background of the story. I'm a big PD James fan, so I enjoyed it, even though it's not her best work.
I am a big P.D. James fan and would listen to Penelope Dellaporta read the phone book.
This is not one of James' best--the characters are less developed than in most of her other books, and a good chunk of the book early on is spent describing the suspect interviews--not a usual tactic for her.
I wouldn't want to miss out on any of these P. D, James' read by Penelope Dellaporta, but this is one I'm less likely to revisit than others.
I truly wanted to like PD James. This is my second attempt to become engaged with the writing style and characters. I didn't enjoy either of her two books. Am I missing something?
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