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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Known for her leisurely paced, thoughtful, and well-characterized novels, P. D. James has risen to the top tier of British mystery writers; and, even after 16 books, she continues to outdo herself. This time out, she offers a cleverly restrained, engaging plot that twists around a handful of unusual, memorable suspects.
The Dupayne Museum, founded by Max Dupayne, is dedicated to the preservation of England's history between the world wars. As the museum's trustees, Max's three heirs -- Marcus, Neville, and Caroline -- debate the fate of the Dupayne. Brash psychiatrist Neville is determined to close it down, a position that is bitterly opposed by his two siblings. When Neville is found heinously murdered, Commander Adam Dalgliesh of the Special Investigation Squad is brought in to find the killer.
The "Murder Room" itself is an intriguing concept: an area of the museum where gruesome weapons and mementos from notorious homicides are displayed. Not only does the room become the setting for a crime; it also provides a resonant backdrop and metaphor for all that transpires in the book. James does a masterful job of contrasting the chilling relics of the past with the complex passions of victims and villains alike.
This is a riveting, first-rate novel so inventive and uniquely structured that it's impossible not to be completely drawn in. With a sure hand, the author slowly unveils a captivating mystery involving real flesh-and-blood characters we can identify with. The Murder Room proves once more why P. D. James remains the grande dame of the crime field. Tom Piccirilli