Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Mind to Murder - PD James

A very crafted mystery by a well loved author.
photo courtesy:amazon.A we
What never ceases to me about a PD James novel is its consistency. There is a very definite, distinctive way of handling the story and its amazing how PD James sets exacting standards and meets it every time.


This time the murder happens at a psychiatric clinic and the victim an adminstrative officer, Enid Bolam. Bolam being an administrator is not exactly popular among the staff and doctors making it difficult for Detective Adam Dalgliesh.  As usual, the way the victim is found throws light on many suspects, including doctors, nurses and the staff who have their own reasons to hate her.

I thought a psychiatric clince was a very interesting place to set the murder. Being a crime thriller fan, it was interesting to see how James sets out the murder and plays it out at the clinic. Apparently, James had served a short stint working in such a clinic and therefore it comes as no surprise how she draws on an accurate picture about the politics that inhabits the working environment.

What works:
  • The cast of suspects are drawn with care and detail. James' keen eye for human behaviour and insight into the workings of the mind works very well indeed.
  • Reading  PD James novel can be an eye opener in terms of life experience and leaves one a bit wiser about hows and the whys of human tendency. 
What doesn't:
  • Reading James' is not always easy. She tends to get a bit old schoolish and demands patience. For a contemporary crime thriller fan who does not have to "labour" in terms of lengthly paragraphs and detailed descriptions in novels of recent times it can get a bit trying. 
  • The writing gets a bit prosaic and once you are familiar with James' writing, you know you will have to trudge through the details before the story catches pace. 
I haven't read enough PD James nove to say whether it is one of the best or not. However, if you haven't tried James yet, perhaps this may be a good place to start.

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