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A Mind to Murder

de P. D. James

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Séries: Adam Dalgliesh (2)

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Adam Dalgluish was called to the elegant Steen Psychiatric Clinic to investigate why the body of Enid Bolan was found with a chisel through her heart.
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Adam Dalgliesh and his sidekick, Martin, investigate the murder of Enid Bolam, the A.C. of the Steen Psychiatric Clinic in London, in the record room. There is also a blackmail scheme going on which complicates the investigation by Peter Nagle, an artist and one of the porters. ( )
  baughga | Feb 17, 2021 |
Solid and very fairly played, but Dalgliesh is just a boring character to read about. I think I'm going to pursue James's other series and see if that's more to my liking. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Written in the 1960s, this mystery offers a glimpse of the time along with the progression of a case.

The Steen Psychiatric Clinic is a small clinic dedicated more to neuroses than psychoses. Its doctors offer different types of treatment, from Freudian analysis to Lysergic Acid treatment. (At first I thought that this latter meant treatment for those who have used LSD. Instead, it is the use of LSD in overcoming inhibitions and getting to the root of problems. This treatment involves giving a dose to the patient and staying with her or him the whole time the drug is in effect.) There is some animosity among the doctors based on their beliefs in what works.

When the administrative head of the clinic is found dead in the basement, killed by a blow to the head and a stab to the heart, Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is faced with a range of suspects. It does appear that it could not realistically have been an outside job, so we have the classic case of the limited number of suspects. There is the victim's cousin, who has money problems that could be solved by an expected bequest from her cousin. There are the doctors, who resented the intrusion of this administrator who appeared to have no interest in or understanding of psychiatry. There are the two porters, whose jobs might be threatened by this administrator. And others.

Through careful sleuthing, Dalgliesh hanging on like a dog to its bone, he finds an additional motive. And pursues it to an inevitable end.

For me, there was another little bit of interest: the availability of public money for the individual pursuit of such things as trips to the seaside. Does National Health cover this? Curious.

A decent mystery with a bit of suspense thrown in near the end. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Not too much to say about this one. I thought it was a solid mystery for the second book in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I just found myself getting bored after a while since it was really obvious who the murderer was (at least to me). There are some other secrets that are spilled, but other than a couple of major ones at the end, none of the rest had much to do with anything I thought. I do think the flow could have been tighter too. We just stayed too long with the suspects and I wanted to be walked through Dalgliesh's brain as he figured out the guilty party. Too bad though that this one shows how Dalgliesh was off about who done it and why.

"A Mind to Murder" finds the administrative head of the Steen Psychiatric Clinic murdered. The woman, Miss Enid Bolam, was bludgeoned and then stabbed and left in the basement of the clinic. When the doctors and nurses find her it becomes apparent that whoever did the murder never left (the doors are locked) and it has to be one of their own who did it. Adam Dalgliesh is called up after sitting through a reception for his recent book of poetry (yeah I hard paused there too) and feels nothing but dread since he feels like the murderer is not done.

James walks us through Dalgliesh's life since the first murder where we came across him. It's been three years and Adam still thinks of Deborah (see "Cover Her Face") but realizes that he's not ready to start again with another woman. Adam works methodically through all of the suspects, and hits on someone fairly early that he doesn't care for or trust. Just like "Cover Her Face" though we have a victim that a lot of people had a hard time liking and finding to be too black and white about things. However, unlike with "Cover Her Face" I thought James did a good job of showing us another side of Enid Bolam. She was a woman who liked flowers and children.

The other characters in this one started to feel a bit tiresome after a while, at least to me. We have Dr. Paul Steiner and Dr. James Baguley, both men with secrets. We also have Doctor Frederica Saxton's story-line that also gave me hard pause too. I don't even get the purpose of that whole thing except for Dalgliesh to have someone else speak to who has even more messed up views of marriage than he does. Enid's cousin, Nurse Marion Bolam also worked at the clinic. There was a bigger cast of suspects to think on in this one, but I thought that James did a good job with developing them. For example, one of the porters, Peter Nagle we find out is an artist, and only working at the clinic for money. He's supposedly very talented, but I find myself thinking he was creepy. When James reveals his relationship that he is having with someone there, we pull back another layer dealing with him.

The writing I thought was good, but honestly the flow was off. I think the book needed to be edited a bit tighter since we tended to wander around in some of the characters story-lines way too long. For example, the whole thing with Frederica was one of those story-lines.

The setting of this clinic also echoes some locked door mysteries a la Christie, though I have to say that this one wasn't that intriguing. We are given some very blatant clues in the beginning of the book and through another character telling their roommate about something they overheard. After that I was in a hurry for Dalgliesh to get there already.

The ending though at one point made me worry that I had guessed wrong, but nope, instead we get information about something else and then jump over into the epilogue that takes place months later. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I do enjoy PD James. Always a good mystery and a great puzzle. Some twists and turns, but with a surprising but inevitable ending. Good narrator. ( )
  njcur | May 2, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
P. D. Jamesautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Berdagué, RoserTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lax, LidiaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Dr. Paul Steiner, consulting psychiatrist at the Steen Clinic, sat in the front ground floor consulting-room and listened to his patient's highly rationalized explanation of the failure of his third marriage.
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Adam Dalgluish was called to the elegant Steen Psychiatric Clinic to investigate why the body of Enid Bolan was found with a chisel through her heart.

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