The Murder Room Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Murder Room

Dr. Neville Dupayne is found dead in his car and arson occurs at The Dupayne Muesum of which he and his brother and sister are trustees. Commander Dalgliesh is called in to investigate. The plot centers around the Murder Room which is a room in the Dupayne Museum dedicated to villans and their acts of murder during the Inter-War Years which has pictures and displays of who and how they did their crimes.
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Possible reasons for Neville's murder come about when it is learned that the future of the muesum remaining open was at stake and that of the Dupayne's Neville didn't want it to remain open. However focus on the other two Dupayne's is shifted when another murder takes place, in another way like one of the villians presented in the museum- this time in the Murder Room. There is a copycat killer on the loose Commander Dalgelish must stop this copycat and find out the reasons for the murders before another is committed.
The review of this Book prepared by Carly Phillips

Knopf, Nov 2003, 25.95, 415 pp.
ISBN: 1400041414

The Dupayne Museum in Hampstead Heath, England provides a deep look at the country's culture during the two decades that separated the two world wars. However, the lease on the property is almost expired and renewal requires unanimous approval of the three trustees, the adult children of founder Max Dupayne. The museum's manager Marcus Dupayne and his sister Caroline (a school principal) endorse the renewal, but the third sibling psychiatrist Neville wants to shut down the museum.

However, Neville's nay saying comes to a quick end when someone kills him using the MO of a famous homicide depicted in the Dupayne Museum. His two siblings are not the only suspects because several people have the motive of keeping the Dupayne Museum open. A widower, Police Commander Adam Dalgliesh would prefer to investigate his growing fondness for Professor Emma Lavenham, but knows he and his Special Investigation Squad must conduct an official inquiry.

The latest Dalgliesh police procedural is a strong British investigative tale that readers of the series and fans of the sub-genre will take pleasure in due to a strong cast of suspects. The story line moves forward as the Commander and his team make inquiries into a host of potential culprits each with viable means, motives, and opportunities so that the audience never quite knows who the killer is until the climax. The romance subplot never takes off and consequently is not a distracter from the lead protagonist working the case and fans don't get to see him move forward in his personal life. P.D. James shows once again why she is one of grandmasters of the mystery novel.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Murder Room

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 15%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 45%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 25%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 15% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70%    -   80% Murder of certain profession?    -   museum nerd Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   killer purposefully leaves puzzle clues    -   Killer purposely leaves clues Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, British Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   flamed Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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