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.
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.
This report prepared by Carly Phillips
Knopf, Nov 2003, 25.95, 415 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner