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.
The Murder Room is James’s most suspenseful, atmospheric novel in years and has no shortage of surprise twists.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Another elegant tale of murder, mystery, human misery and the wonder of loveÉ. James explores the lowest of depravity . . . with the most elegant prose.” —USA Today

“Riveting . . . exquisite, absorbing. . . . The Murder Room possesses everything we desire, no, long for, from James.” —The Miami Herald

"Elegantly constructed, beautifully written . . . [The Murder Room] is cause for rejoicing. . . . [It] is that much-sought-after but rare combination of reading that both transports the reader to another world and engages the imagination." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Difficult--and delightful--as it is to believe, P. D. James keeps getting better. . . . The Murder Room might be the best mystery novel of 2003. . . . This is a book to savor . . . with writing so felicitous the reader doesn't want it to end.” —Indianapolis Star

“Riveting. . . . The Murder Room possesses everything we desire from James. . . . [Her] lovely, clear prose travels at a stately pace, never cluttered by random violence or unnecessary characters, taking us where we need to be with assurance, intelligence and grace. No word or action is wasted; everyone and everything matters.” —The Chicago Tribune

“Ms. James skill is impressively displayed.” —The New York Times

“P.D. James is surely one of the best living writers of English. [The Murder Room]’s typical James–wonderful English settings, fine writing, psychological depth.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Any ranking of today’s best crime writers would surely put Britain’s P.D. James at or near the top. This subtly told, character-driven novel, which emphasizes people over plot, provides, as usual, a richly-rewarding reading experience.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Immensely satisfying, with James introducing her large cast and its secrets with consummate skill.” —The Washington Post

“Carefully crafted . . . [with] richly portrayed characters. . . . P. D. James can still spin an intricate web of psychological suspense that demands the reader's attention and involvement. . . . James tells this tale in lucid language, with a wry eye on people and their faults.” —San Antonio Express-News

“Elegant . . . smooth storytelling. . . . The culprit remains convincingly elusive until the end.” —Houston Chronicle

“A perfectly cozy read for a cold, foggy night when you feel like curling up with a cup of tea.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Sophisticated literary entertainment. . . . Masterful detailing of people and place. . . . Acute psychological portraits. . . . [A] carefully crafted tale.” —The Orlando Sentinel

“Literate prose, sprinkled with enough deliciously British details to satisfy even the most diehard Anglophile. . . . [James is] an enormously appealing novelist.” —The Boston Globe

“Expertly plotted and elegantly written, the novel will stand with the best of her always-fine work. And as usual with a James novel, the characters are drawn with care and sympathy.” —The Richmond Times-Dispatch

“James whips up a thought-provoking, finely crafted literary murder mystery. . . . The Murder Room is a riveting and well-constructed read.” —San Jose Mercury News

“Elegant language and deft, intricate characterizations.” —Pittsburg Tribune-Review

“James writes of the whydunit rather than the whodunit and her grasp and appreciation for the boundless perplexities of human behavior deeply enriches her books.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“The eminence grise of British detective fiction, James delivers another ruminative puzzler, generous in character, graceful in prose.” —The Village Voice

“James' strength as a writer lies in her ability to craft characters with depth. She doesn't just supply names and ages but gives readers a sense of her characters' desires and motives (and not just murderous ones).” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram