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Shroud for a Nightingale (1971)

de P. D. James

Séries: Adam Dalgliesh (4)

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1,906376,407 (3.82)63
P.D. James is "the greatest living mystery writer"--People. The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously, and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills.… (mais)
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Adam Daigliesh is called to the John Carpendar Hospital outside of London to investigate the murders of two student nurses: Heather Pierce and Jo Fallon. Heather Pierce is killed while acting as a patient during a demonstration. She is very religious and tends to blackmail people. Josephine Fallon is 31 years old and has had TB which placed her late in this program. She is killed by drinking poison in her nightcap. Dalgliesh must figure out who did this with help by Sargent Masterson who is not a fan of Dalgliesh. Other characters include Matron Mary Taylor, Sister Mavis Gearing, Sister Rolfe, Sister Brumfett, Mr. Courtney-Briggs, Nurse Maureen Burt, Nurse Shirley Burt, Nurse Harper, and Nurse Pardoe. ( )
  baughga | Mar 24, 2021 |
This is in many ways so standard a police procedural that my attention wandered: let's see ... interview suspects one by one, isolated (somewhat) location ... James's writing elevates it, however, though it can't escape the (for me) built-in tedium of the form. Characterization and dialogue are outstanding, as is the evocation of place. James has a sometimes astonishing eye for the telling detail. Very enjoyable. I read it over a weekend. ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Aug 24, 2020 |
The Nightingales are nursing students who live at Nightingale House, the nurse teaching school at the John Carpender Hospital. And two of them have died in very short order. One died during a demonstration of a medical procedure performed for the benefit of a school inspection, and the other died of a poisoned nightcap. Adam Dalgliesh is certain the deaths are connected; they are both clearly murder. But what was the motive? And are any of the other students in danger?

This was a nicely blended mix of Golden Age vibes from the setting, and shocking murder. I certainly found the first death horrifying to read about; it's right up there with Mrs. Inglethorp's death scene in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, with the clinical description of symptoms and the horror of everyone else witnessing the death throes. There are other flashes of ugliness as the story progresses, in deliberate contrast to the overall genteel tone that Dalgliesh brings to his investigations.

The book was first published in 1971, so there are some outdated attitudes expressed by the characters about women, but overall this was a very good book and well worth reading if you like the Golden Age vibe but want something a bit more modern.

This book was on one of the crime writers' associations' Top 100 lists. It won the CWA Silver Dagger in 1971 and was nominated for the Edgar Awards Best Novel in 1972. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 18, 2020 |
I read “Shroud of a Nightingale” as part of my BA degree, otherwise I would’ve given up reading after a couple of chapters.

I found this too mundane and slow-paced. The occasional scene did draw me in, though “occasional” isn’t good enough. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 1, 2018 |
It is surprising that James remains so popular when her writing has so much dated snobbery and patronizing content. The student nurses are even referred to as "children" on more than one occasion, as if they were unruly 5-year-olds. And her characters are able to determine an individual's intelligence with just one look! James' writing style, so well-formed and genteel, obviously ameliorates the weakness. Certainly, if the reader can get past the defects and unlikeable characters, a clever mystery is the reward. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Feb 15, 2018 |
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On the morning of the first murder Miss Muriel Beale, Inspector of Nurse Training Schools to the General Nursing Council, stirred into wakefulness soon after six o'clock and into a sluggish early morning awareness that it was Monday, 12th January, and the day of the John Carpendar Hospital inspection.
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Oorspronkelijke titel: Shroud for a nightingale.
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P.D. James is "the greatest living mystery writer"--People. The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously, and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills.

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