The Dupayne, a small private museum on the edge of London's
Hampstead Heath devoted to the interwar years 1919-39, is
in turmoil. The trustees--the three children of the museum
founder, old Max Dupayne--are bitterly at odds over whether
it should be closed. Then one of them is brutally murdered,
and what seemed to be no more than a family dispute erupts
into horror. For even as Commander Adam Dalgiesh and his
team investigate the first killing, a second corpse is
discovered. Clearly, someone at the Dupayne is prepared to
kill, and kill again.
The case is fraught with danger and complexity from the
outset, not least because of the range of possible suspects-
-and victims. And still more sinister, the murders appear
to echo the notorious crimes of th epast featured in one of
the museum's most popular galleries, the Murder Room.
For Dalgiesh, P.D. James's formidable detective, the search
for the murderer poses an unexpected complication. After
years of bachelorhood, he has embarked on a promising new
relationship with Emma Lavenham--first introduced in Death
in Holy Orders--which is at a critical stage. Yet his
struggle to solve the Dupayne murders faces him with a
frustrating dilemma: each new development distances him
further from commitment to the woman he loves.
The Murder Room is a story dark with the passions that lie
at the heart of crime, a masterful work of psychological
intricacy. It proves yet again that P.D. James fully
deserves her place among the best of modern novelists.