The Murder Room

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: P. D. James

Narrated By: Charles Keating

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: August 2003

Duration: 14 hours 36 minutes


Commander Adam Dalgliesh, P. D. James’s formidable and fascinating detective, returns to find himself enmeshed in a terrifying story of passion and mystery -- and in love.

The Dupayne, a small private museum in London devoted to the interwar years 1919 -- 1939, is in turmoil. As its trustees argue over whether it should be closed, one of them is brutally and mysteriously murdered. Yet even as Commander Dalgliesh and his team proceed with their investigation, a second corpse is discovered. Someone in the Dupayne is prepared to kill and kill again. Still more sinister, the murders appear to echo the notorious crimes of the past featured in one of the museum’s galleries: the Murder Room.

The case is fraught with danger and complications from the outset, but for Dalgliesh the complications are unexpectedly profound. His new relationship with Emma Lavenham -- introduced in the last Dalgliesh novel, Death in Holy Orders -- is at a critical stage. Now, as he moves closer and closer to a solution to the puzzle, he finds himself driven further and further from commitment to the woman he loves.

The Murder Room is a powerful work of mystery and psychological intricacy from a master of the modern novel.

“You can’t possibly know him.”

“I can know enough,” Emma said. “I can’t know everything, no one can. Loving him doesn’t give me the right to walk in and out of his mind as if it were my room at college. He’s the most private person I’ve ever met. But I know the things about him that matter.”

But did she? Emma asked herself. Adam Dalgleish was intimate with those dark crevices of the human mind where horrors lurked which she couldn’t begin to comprehend. Not even that appalling scene in the church at St. Anselm’s had shown her the worst that human beings could do to each other. She knew about those horrors from literature; he explored them daily in his work. Sometimes, waking from sleep in the early hours, the vision she had of him was of the dark face masked, the hands smooth and impersonal in the sleek latex gloves. What hadn’t those hands touched? She rehearsed the questions she wondered if she would ever be able to ask. Why do you do it? Is it necessary to your poetry? Why did you choose this job? Or did it choose you?
-- from The Murder Room

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Kathy

    This book was slow to start, but once it got going, it certainly kept my interest as I was driving. It also rambled on at the end - I guess I really didn't get about the Inspector's private life once the mystery was solved. Charles Keating is a wonderful narrator/reader.

  • Jean

    This is my second P.D. James story. I must say I enjoyed this one more than The Lighthouse. Maybe I knew what to expect in her style of writing. I found the Murder Room kept me on the edge of my chair. Could hardly wait to get back to it and the ending took me completely by surpise. I took the long way home just so I could keep listening a bit longer.

  • Anonymous

    It takes patience to go through the many characters involved in this story. One starts to wonder if there will be a murder at all. Then the investigation begins and the plot moves along quickly. The ending brings to light twists that are not expected with the seemingly stayed characters. I enjoy the style of the author P.D. James; I will be listening to more of his books.

  • Anonymous

    When it began, I thought this book was a drag. It kept introducing characters, one after another, with no real focus. Little did I know that it was making me so curious as to why I needed to know all this information about all these people. I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it took a long time to get there.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is one of P.D. James' best works. The character develop is excellent and the plot well executed.

  • Melissa Maurice

    My first P.D. James novel, and I feared it would be a bit dry. I found the story and characters surprising interesting and I think the story moves along at a pretty good pace. The reader takes a little getting used to though, makes the work seem more dated somehow but otherwise, good. The murder scenes are tamer than most other things I've read in the genre.

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Murder Room, P. D. James