Read Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James Online


Hailed as “mystery at its best” by The New York Times, Shroud for a Nightingale is the fourth book in bestselling author P.D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh mystery series.The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. AnotHailed as “mystery at its best” by The New York Times, Shroud for a Nightingale is the fourth book in bestselling author P.D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh mystery series.The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously, and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills....

Title : Shroud for a Nightingale
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743219600
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Shroud for a Nightingale Reviews

  • Susan
    2019-04-24 02:51

    This is the fourth book in the Adam Dalgliesh series. I have recently been re-reading these novels and, although I have enjoyed the previous books, this certainly represents a seeming increase in ability and confidence in the writing and storyline. “Shroud for a Nightingale,” is set in a nurse training school and P D James worked for the NHS for many years, so it is an environment she would have been extremely familiar with.The story begins with Miss Muriel Beale, an Inspector who is setting out for the day of the John Carpendar Hospital inspection. Her first impression, on arriving at the impressive Nightingale House, is that it is highly unsuitable for a nurse training school. However, the inspection begins with a demonstration by the student nurses and, during this, there is a death. When another student nurse is killed, Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the crimes.This is an assured mystery, with a closed community and a great cast of characters; from the arrogant surgeon, Mr Stephen Courtney Briggs to super efficient matron, Mary Taylor and the Sisters and Nurses who live and work in Nightingale House. There is little privacy in Nightingale House and Dalgliesh soon gets to hear of the affairs, petty squabbles and secrets that abound in the hospital. As he delves into the past of the inhabitants of Nightingale House, he uncovers the truth, and James gives us an assured, intelligent mystery with a great range of suspects and motives.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-05-10 07:55

    Student nurses are dropping dead at the Nightingale nurse training school. Does someone there harbor a secret past? (Hint: yes.) Published in 1971, this is James's fourth novel, and of these, her most robust and satisfying. It feels miles away from her earlier, Christie-esque stylings. You wouldn't find a passage like this in any of her first three, for example:She had given him a depressing glimpse into the stultifying lack of privacy, and of the small pettiness and subterfuges with which people living in unwelcome proximity try to preserve their own privacy or invade that of others. The thought of a grown man peeping surreptitiously around the door before coming out, of two adult lovers creeping furtively down a back staircase to avoid detection, was grotesque and humiliating.It still has an antique feel, though, for a book published in 1971. It has 1950s gender sensibilities (the assumption that a woman, once married, will end her career or her studies), it has that obsession with spinsters so irresistible to British mystery writers ("she was a thin, brown-skinned woman, brittle and nobbly as a dead branch who looked as if the sap had long since dried in her bones"), and it still features the generalized misanthropy that Christie seemed to bequeath to the genre; nearly all the suspects are hateful, bitter, or piteous in some way.Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Shroud is that Inspector Dalgliesh becomes a fully-realized character: chilly, exacting, self-aware, with large reserves of self-esteem and compassion; thoroughly likeable. An intriguing side character is Dalgliesh's second-in-command, the horny and resentful Masterson.

  • Rachel
    2019-05-18 07:01

    I had heard of P.D. James before but had never read any of her works, and I didn't really know she wrote mysteries. So I was quite pleasantly surprised by Shroud for a Nightingale--so much so that I've since read another James and am onto a third. Shroud is a great caper, written in the 70s. I think it's aged extremely well; in fact, I think the whole plot and setting is made all the more creepy and ominous by the somewhat antiquated medical procedures that figure prominently in the plot. I defy anyone to come up with something inherently scarier than a British nursing school in the 70s where all the nurses where classic nurse uniforms, the school itself is something of a gothic mansion, and even relatively routine medical procedures like inserting a feeding tube take on an intensely macabre character. Good times. I am not a good mystery reader in that I can never figure anything out until the author reveals it. Actually, I don't know whether that makes me a poor reader or whether it makes James something of an evil genius. Either way, I like the suspense of it all!

  • Quirkyreader
    2019-05-06 08:56

    This was another great Adam Dalgliesh story. I am taking the series slow so that I can enjoy what P.D. James left us.This story takes place at a nurses training school. A place that is full of secrets and lies. Read this story and see why James was an award winning crime author.

  • Emily
    2019-04-20 03:07

    Είναι η 5η περιπέτεια του αστυνόμου της Scotland Yard (και ποιητή) Adam Dalgliesh και η δική μου πρώτη γνωριμία μαζί του. Με συνόδευσε ως ομιλόν βιβλίο αρκετές μέρες στις μετακινήσεις μου. Η συγγραφέας γνωρίζει καλά το νοσοκομειακό περιβάλλον και αποδίδει με ακρίβεια το κλίμα που επικρατεί. Πιο καλά δε γινόταν! Το νοσοκομείο John Carpender περιγράφεται θαυμάσια!Ο Οίκος Αδελφών του νοσοκομείου στεγάζεται σε ένα οίκημα, μία πρώην κατοικία που φέρει βαρύ το τίμημα του παρελθόντος εξαιτίας κάποιων γεγονότων που είχαν να κάνουν με τους ιδιοκτήτες της. Λες και το Κακό αφυπνίστηκε μετά από χρόνια, ο Οίκος ταράζεται από 2 θανάτους μαθητευόμενων νοσοκόμων και η τοπική αστυνομία ζητά τη βοήθεια του αστυνόμου ο οποίος θεωρείται ικανότατος στη διαλεύκανση των υποθέσεων που αναλαμβάνει όσο και ταχύτατος. Η συγγραφέας είναι φειδωλή στις λεπτομέρειες της ζωής του αστυνόμου αλλά καθόλου φειδωλή στην απόδοση των σκέψεων του.Σαν σύνολο, το βιβλίο ήταν εξαιρετικό. Κάποιες αδυναμίες του είχαν να κάνουν με τον διακαή πόθο κάθε συγγραφέα αστυνομικού μυστηρίου να κρύψει καλά το δολοφόνο από τις μαντικές ικανότητες του αναγνώστη. Υπήρχαν μερικές άχρηστες σκηνές, μερικοί διάλογοι και συναντήσεις χωρίς νόημα αλλά το αποτέλεσμα ήταν να μην πάει το μυαλό καθόλου στο πραγματικό αίτιο των φόνων και στο δολοφόνο. Αντίθετα, απόλαυσα τις περιγραφές που ήταν πολύ ζωντανές. Απόλαυσα επίσης τη διεισδυτική ματιά στους χαρακτήρες και τη λεπτομερή παρουσίαση τους. Με δεδομένο το αναμφισβήτητα υψηλό επίπεδο των Αγγλίδων νοσοκόμων διέκρινα την πίκρα της συγγραφέως για την υποβαθμισμένη, στην πραγματικότητα, θέση τους στην ιεραρχία. Τα στερεότυπα ζουν και ανθούν ανά τους αιώνες!Το τέλος θα μπορούσε να ήταν διαφορετικό και ίσως όχι τόσο σκληρό. Η φωνή του Ηρακλή Στρούγγη μού έχει γίνει πλέον πολύ οικεία με το χρώμα της αλλά θα πρέπει να εξοικειώνεται κάπως με τις ξένες λέξεις. Δε μπορεί μια τόσο ωραία φωνή να διαβάζει τους Nursing Times νούρσινγκ.

  • Erin
    2019-05-04 03:02

    My grandmother left this for my mother to read, and bored, I started it waiting for her in the car. Boredom, too, is the only reason I can give for my finishing it -- I was mesmerized by how entirely uninteresting it was, both the story and the literary style.I don't read mysteries, and essentially all of my related presumptions are based on Cluedo and The Westing Game, but even compared to those, Shroud for a Nightingale is kind of a dud. So two student nurses are killed, the Scotland Yard is called in, and the blurb promises that "a secret medical world of sex, shame, and scandal is about to be exposed." But most of the book is spent discussing hospital administration. This was vaguely interesting, just for the differences in American / British terminology (senior nurses are called "Sisters"), but not exactly riveting fiction. Also, a lot of text is spent on meticulous descriptions of people's faces (spoiler: most of them are ugly), and my copy was lousy with typos.To reiterate, I'm not a mystery aficionado, but this story's tedious 287 pages are topped only by its even more disappointing solution, supported by some very dull clues (a big plot point concerns a missing library book) and ultimately a left-field "character's dark past" explanation that renders the deduction leading up to it rather pointless. So maybe don't read Shroud for a Nightingale, even to relive severe ennui, as the book will just cause more yawns itself.

  • Abbey
    2019-05-07 05:58

    1971, #4 Supt. Adam Dalgleish, Scotland Yard, Nightingale House, just outside London. Nursing students living in a creepy old hospital building find murder and lots of intrigue; erudite, old-fashioned closed-community/manor house style mystery but with interesting modern (~1970) twists and a bit of then-relevant British history; classic cosy police procedural.Nursing "sisters" are an alien breed to most US folks, but if you've read or watched a lot of British-set mysteries you'll have a bit of understanding how their ranking system for nurses and doctors works; the plot of this intricate mystery is closely woven around this, with the information presented slowly and interestingly. The systems of training in British hospitals of the period is the center for this murder mystery, and James shows not only her familiarity with the Health Service and many of its ramifications (she worked for them for many years and was, I think, still working for them when she wrote this). But don't be put off by this - the plot is a very good (if convoluted) one, the characters remarkably fine, and the overall writing while a mite florid in spots is beautifully done. James is one of my favorite writers, and I've reread most of her books several times; this time I listened to SHROUD in audio, read by Michael Jayston, courtesy of my library. He's a smooth, excellent reader, and this was very enjoyable. And now to the plot...An almost-graduated nursing student is killed while playing the patient in a demonstration/instruction lecture before a visiting VIP. It might have been suicide - the girl was extremely religious, temperamental, moody, and prone to extremes of behavior - much of it rather unforgiving, and some of it perhaps illegal. As the local police work their way through the suspect list and information they've gathered, no real conclusion is reached and the case goes cold. But before too long another student is dead under suspicious circumstances, and the "coincidence" is too much for one high-powered doctor connected with the training facility to endure. He calls Scotland Yard himself, and Adam Dalgleish is assigned to the case, along with Sargent Masterson, a young, not exactly raw (but not far removed from it either) policeman with a slight tendency for bullying witnesses. He's got a lot to learn. This is an intricately woven story of power and the power of forgiveness - or not, as the case may be. Involving medical - and personal - politics in the late 1960s and a bit of recent British history, the main focus is upon five increasingly interesting young women and their teachers, the nursing Sisters. Each Sister is very clearly presented and followed through the story, along with most of the students as well. James has a facility for showing us the workings of people's minds and their interactions with others. Here she uses that approach in a lot of detail but it never becomes quite slow - the information given is always pertinent, always at least "curious..." if not always immediately easy to understand where it falls within the plot. Written in a completely classic style this may seem a bit slow-moving for modern tastes, but is downright explosive when compared with earlier, similar, stories. I've recently been reading Mignon Eberhart's nursing mysteries from the 1930s, and if you want "slow-moving thriller" (not *exactly* an oxymoron...), then her earliest work is for you! But while Eberhart was entertaining, James is an overall much better writer, and it is fascinating to see here how little of the attitudes towards nurses and their craft had changed in the intervening forty years. And while outside of the small-hospital environment (the nurses live-in, and don't spend much time in The Real World) things are changing rapidly in the social sense, here the ethos is of an older Britain even in 1970 - the values are traditional, the plotting traditional, the writing style traditional. But not stuffy, not at all boring. There are chase scenes, murders-in-progress, a couple of nasty assaults, one or two very funny set-pieces (particularly Sargent Masterson's involvement with a ballroom dancing contestant...) and a lot of suspense and gloomy forboding along with really superb characterizations. And the ending exposition while a bit slow in spots is fascinating, and absolutely beautifully done, weaving in every little thread and bit of earlier-presented information we'd been given, while still making us/allowing us to "feel for" the people involved. Really fine writing.If all you've read of James' writing is her post-1990 books, then give yourself a nice treat and read some of her earlier works - she was first published in 1962. Her earliest novels are smoothly written, very well-plotted, and within a couple of books her characterizations move from "decent" to "very good", and become brilliant by her middle period (~1980s). This 1970 story is an excellent mystery in and of itself, and although IMO it's not her very best, it's still head and shoulders above that of most mystery writers from the period, and comparable to some of the best then (last 1960s, early 1970s) writing in that classic style in the UK (i.e., Catherine Aird, Ruth Rendell, Ellis Peters, Sara Woods, Charlotte Armstrong, Christianna Brand...) and the US (Margaret Millar, Amanda Cross, Elizabeth Peters, Sarah Caudwell, Emma Lathen...). James obviously read and admired Christie, as did most women readers (and writers!) of her generation. Early on in her career you can easily see how Christie and Sayers et. al. have influenced her. But James then goes on to actually improve upon their writing style, at least IMO, becoming one of the best current practitioners of the "traditional style" mystery now living and still writing. As she's extremely elderly now, I suspect she won't be publishing much more in the future, alas. So savor her earlier works if and when you can - while quite old-fashioned they're still a treat!SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE may not be her very best novel, but it's an extremely good one, and I highly recommended it to your attention.

  • Keith Davis
    2019-05-13 05:04

    I believe it was Red Skelton who said that to be a writer you have to be a close observer of human nature, but not so close that you start to hate everyone. P.D. James seems to frequently drift across the line into hating everybody. The men in James' world tend to be pompous, self-absorbed, preening narcissists, but they are almost nice compared to the women. The women are often petty, manipulative, mean-spirited and deliberately cruel. Shroud for a Nightingale is about a series of murders at a small nursing school in rural England. It is about a group of women who work and live together in a rather small space and a veneer of niceness covers a lot of animosity. It is a solid mystery with a number of twists and misleads. Readers familiar with the conventions of the mystery genre may guess the solution, but I think James here is more interested in exploring the dark corners of her characters than with presenting a puzzle.

  • Siv30
    2019-04-24 01:08

    מפקח הסקוטלנד יארד, אדם דלגליש, חוזר לפענח תעלומות מוות בבית נייטנג'ל. מוסד הצמוד לבית חולים בו מתמחות אחיות.שתי אחיות בתהליך התלמדות נרצחות: התר פירס, מתה מוות ביסורים בעת הדגמה של תהליך הזנת מטופל. מישהו החליף את בקבוק החלב החם, בבקבוק רעל. היא מחליםה את גוזפין פאלון שבאותו היום חולה.אולם, מספר ימים אחרי נמצאת גופתה של גוזפין פאלון. כוס הויסקי שהיא נהגה לשתות לפני השינה הורעלה.אדם דלגליש החוקר הידוע, מגיע לזירה ונחשף לסודות מהעבר, שקרים ורמאויות. וברקע גם יחסים מיניים של דיירי הבית בין אם בתוך הקבוצה ובין מחוצה לה.המותחני של פי. די גיימס אינם קיצביים ולמעט אקט הרצח אין בהם אירועים סוערים כמו המותחנים של הרלן קובן. מאידך, הם מספקים התבוננות לנפש האדם, למניעים המוסריים שלו ולנפשו של החוקר. המותחן הזה לא שונה במובן זה והוא מספק הצצה לחיי קהילת הנשים שבבית נייטנגל.מבחינת עומק ניכרת בו התקדמות בולטת לעומת מותחנים הראשונים שכתבה פי די גיימס.

  • booklady
    2019-05-13 04:54

    Wow! James outdid herself this time! Really, really enjoyed this one! She keeps getting better. I don't deny that I struggled with the first one, but I'm so glad that I stuck it out. It really helps to have a friend to read it with. Inspector Dalgliesh's character keeps coming out more and more in each subsequent novel and he becomes more intriguing the longer you know him. I also like how James just gives you tidbits of insight into him with each book; she keeps you coming back for more!Started: 24 May 2008

  • tom bomp
    2019-05-08 09:15

    At several points the main character is discussing the case with his assistant and, despite the fact they've already talked about the evidence and what they think and he's the current viewpoint character and we follow both of them through everything important they do, their important deductions are covered up with sudden reported speech, like "he said what had happened, his assistant said yes that's obvious". Like are you *kidding* me how lazy can you getThe book is OK enough but the denouement is pretty silly and is the sort of thing that makes 95% of the book feel like a total waste. There aren't enough clues for it to make sense and the ones given which do lead to the ending don't really feel consistent or reasonable. They try and link the ending to a character's personality and then right at the end do a "oh btw actually it's someone totally different" for who there are 0 clues given. Not horrible horrible but pretty typical mystery fare in that the ending may as well be detached from the rest of the book because the rest of the book isn't important.EDIT: After thinking about it some more, decreased my rating to 1 star because of the above and1) The ending is absolute nonsense. The motives given make no sense, the story of the identity of a character makes no sense and the entire book requires several characters to have acted with no intelligence or thought at all, even ignoring the typical mystery trope of "oh they avoided an easier way because of X unlikely idiosyncrasy"2) The main character is dull as ditchwater. I remember hardly any of what he did. His assistant just had sex with a suspect (no lead up, no follow up) and made misogynistic+abusive comments about a witness. I'm not saying all characters have to be cool and likeable but scenes which are 15 pages of abusive, cruel thoughts about an old woman from someone who's seriously abused his position is horrible.3) I could predict an event that happened near the end because it happened at near the exact same time and in a similar way to the other one of her books I read and, like that one, puts the character in incredibly serious danger and then pulls it out by having the dangerous person be a complete idiot and events to play out perfectly. (view spoiler)[A strong person hits you hard in the head with a golf club and within a few hours you're pretty much fine? Ridiculous. Also pretty sure they could have struck twice. (hide spoiler)]4) Physical attractiveness is treated as the most important part of each character to a large extent. Not surprising, but really crap.So yeah this book stinks. A lot.

  • Katherine Clark
    2019-04-29 06:55

    I am rereading P. D. James' Dalgliesh series and am a bit disappointed with it. Apparently, nostalgia had made the series appear much better than I remembered. Oh well. In the midst of reading my second Colin Dexter novel, I realized that I found it boring, so when I received Shroud of the Nightingale in the mail, I eagerly read it, only to discover that while I thought I had read all of the Dalgliesh series, I had actually missed this one. I give this book 3 stars because of the first half of the novel. James is a master at setting the initial scene. She does a terrific job of establishing characters and does something so much more interesting then just providing motives. I think she must be one of the first mystery novelists to really explore other characters, their psychology and behaviors, without judgment--a true, limited omniscient viewpoint. But in each of her books (and this is the 4th in the series) something unravels, and she stops the tension at the point that tension should be increasing. Add to that that I really am finding Dalgliesh to be incredibly unattractive as the protagonist, and the characters are hard to sympathize with (except for Morag--masterful) that this book too did not live up to the initial first half. In addition, and I'll be curious what I find in the rest of the series, this book is so strange for its extreme sexuality. James actually is coarse at times, which she wasn't in previous books. It creates a jarring tone. Had this been my first James' novel I might not have picked up further ones. How odd and yet interesting. I actually do look forward to the next one, but it is sad that at least for me, James is not living up to my memories of her.

  • trishtrash
    2019-05-12 01:07

    A nursing school inspection ends horribly with the death of a student during a demonstration of intra-gastric feeding tubes. This gruesome beginning is compounded with a second student death, and the local police are exchanged for the Yard’s Inspector Adam Dalgliesh whose implacable determination to get at the truth is welcomed by the nursing staff with varying degrees of coolness.I’m not sure where in the series this one falls, but this Dalgliesh novel was just a bit too staid and dated to hold my attention properly. It didn’t lack James’ firm hold of character or her exquisite attention to detail (although there were points when I almost wished it did lack the latter), but the characters and detail were rarely interesting to me, and while curiosity got me to the dénouement, once there I was both unconvinced and, unfortunately, had seen similar motives in other [crime] novels (to be fair, it’s likely they were written after this one) and failed to find it as clever as it probably was. I still enjoyed Dalgliesh, and the moments of progress of the investigation, but for all the swiftness of his deductions it still felt like an extraordinarily long read.

  • Esme
    2019-05-16 00:52

    I waver between 3 and four stars. PD James writes masterful mysteries that are intelligent and interesting. But those are the only levels on which they will effect you. I don't find myself relating or particularly liking the protagonist- he's very intelligent and you can respect him, you just don't care that much- you don't get attached to the recurring characters. I honestly don't think you are supposed to really. I think PD James set out to write exactly the type of mystery I described in the second sentence. And sometimes that is exactly the type of book/mystery that I want, a puzzle for your mind, not a story for your heart. That being said, that type of book won't ever get 5 stars from me no matter how skilled the writing because it's not the life altering kind of book, nor the: I read the whole series in 3 days...couldn't stop...cried when....type of book, if you know what I mean. But it is definitely a good satisfying mystery, as are many of hers that I have read.

  • springsnotfail
    2019-04-21 03:56

    I was reading this, and it was all about par for the course for PD James - you know, unpleasant people, beautiful writing, OTT foreshadowings of horror to come, rather odd emphasis on period architecture - when suddenly it was all UNEXPECTED DANCE COMPETITION SURPRISE NAZIS. I would never have thought that any author could make the revelation of surprise Nazis during a tense and angry tango incredibly depressing, but PD James managed it. Well done.

  • Kath Elizabeth
    2019-05-14 02:57

    This was my first P.D. James book, and I did enjoy it, but it wasn't anything earth shattering either.Shroud for a Nightingale is book 4 in the Adam Dalgliesh series, but can easily be read as a standalone. Dalgliesh is a detective, and in this story he is called out to a nurse training school after two suspected murders take place. Two student nurses have been poisoned in horrific ways, and its Dalgliesh's job to figure out who did it.This book is a pretty typical murder mystery. It goes into a lot of depth with character's backstories, and there are entire chapters dedicated to detectives questioning suspects about their movements and whereabouts during the murders. It was definitely enjoyable - I found myself struggling to try and figure out who was the killer. I also enjoyed the setting and writing style - it definitely gave the book a very creepy vibe, and made me feel quite unsettled at times.The ending was a little bit of an anticlimax in my opinion, which is why I gave this book a 3 stars. An enjoyable, if forgettable murder mystery, but one I would still recommend for mystery lovers.

  • Stef Rozitis
    2019-05-17 08:58

    Granted this book is older than me, so the dated stereotypes and gender roles within it partially lose their sting. I tried to read it that way, in its historical place as a very psychologically outdated book (as I do with Agatha Christie for example and still derive some enjoyment) but it still rankled even so.The story itself is quite ingenious, it has the right amounts of twists and turns, complexities and red herrings. The stumbling block for me is character and in particular my inability to like Adam Dalgliesh (I think he was a huge help to me in abandoning my failing heterosexuality actually). In a world-view where men are portrayed as dominant, masterful and normally somewhat abusive he is meant to be seen as a sort of "reneissance man", attracted to intelligence and an ideal of beauty that is centred on individuality and independence not traditional "womanliness". So almost as a pro-feminist "sensitive" male, except he is still so preoccupied with power and with always being on top of every single situation, he is so superior to everyone else around him that he just reeks of elitist masculinity (it probably doesn;t help that I have just spent a couple of years reading about and deconstructing masculinities that he calls to mind).So at best the plot is a sort of maypole dance with Dalgliesh as the maypole, the focus of female passive-receptive desire (how many times does a female character in a PD James novel irrelevantly notice that the aging Dalgliesh is "handsome" or "attractive"? Other males are too arrogant and abusive to compare to him. Females are clinging, toxic and weak but seen through a victim-blaming lens and males get away with their abusive attitudes and are only very indulgently even judged by the narration. All relationships are in this novel invariably either casual and superficial or toxic, intimacy is a form of imprisonment in every single situation as far as I can see.This was the early 70s, so the beginning of the cult of the individual, the overly cynical and dehumanising psychological turn which pathologised anything we might have liked to think of as a virtue or truly relational so James would not have been alone in this world-view and she writes it compellingly. History has shown us the resultant rise of the independent, personally responsible individual and the eroding of any sort of public feeling or sense of community, we live in a neoliberal age that logically comes out of the bleak cynicism of writers like James.Anyone is James is portrayed as weak, ineffectual and pathetic unless they manage to be the victorious (and sometimes cruel) individual. Dalgliesh pursues his version of law with a doggedness, as though he is somehow heroic per se and the lives destroyed are collateral damage. I realise any detective story has this problem somewhere close to the heart of it, and I am never completely satisfied by any authors attempt to deal with it, but James paints an impartial, objective law-man that disregards even his own humanity in the pursuit but manages to sneer at anyone who points this out.Masterton, his side-kick is just a toxic character. By having both detectives male, even a book with as many female characters as this one (being set in a nurses home and teaching hospital) manages to be phallocentric and I think if it passes the Bechdel test it does it only technically. LGBT characters are curiously abundant in the book, but painted as failing more or less at life, doomed by nature to be unhappy as tend to be older women or in fact any woman who is not beautiful and desirable.Despite all these considerable flaws there is a flow to the story that is good and the writing itself is excellent. I don't want to read too many of these in a row, and I suspect I would always find these flaws in any I read, but I am prepared to read them. The good thing about a cynical view of sex is we don't get a whole lot of romantic saccharine to deal with!

  • Alger
    2019-04-24 05:49

    Not the best of James, not even the best of her Dalgliesh stories, but a solid mystery in the classic vein. The surprise is how James pulled off a very traditional plot line with remarkably few tricks in an environment and with a cast that is believably inhabiting 1970. For comparison, look at Agatha Christie from this same period. All of her characters continue to inhabit a 1930s world, or are decrepit oldsters confused by the kids and their crazy sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Elsewhere in the mystery genre, authors were heading into bloody torture fantasias and police procedurals, and so James' decision to modernize the locked room mystery was courageous in retrospect (given the lasting success and improving quality of her novels), but this intermediate step where Dalgliesh remains an aloof creature of logic while the people around him cavort in the carnal culture of the late 1960s feels disjointed and unbalanced. And that is the essential flaw of the novel; the actual plot and its resolution are straight out of the golden age of detective fiction, while the modernization efforts are almost entirely more graphic descriptions of the sexual politics that were only coded into the classic stories. People talk openly about abortions, they tell you they had lovers, they frankly assess the attractiveness of the members of the opposite sex as part of their inner dialogue, the gay brother is openly discussed as being gay. This half step is remarkably off-putting when laid up against the essentially Victorian plot. It would take another novel or so for James to truly hit her stride with Dalgliesh and make him an actual inhabitant of his world.

  • Spuddie
    2019-05-12 06:12

    #4 Adam Dalgliesh British mystery, in which the Scotland Yard detective and his team are off to a nursing school to investigate the untimely death of two nursing students--both dead by poison of different types a couple of weeks apart. One was administered during a demonstration of gastric feeding during an inspection by the General Nursing Council, when Nurse Pearce, playing the role of the patient has her stomach dissolved by a caustic substance added to the milk feed. The second death of Nurse Fallon was at first thought to be suicide as the poison was in her bedtime whisky and lemon. Dalgliesh and crew are called in after the second death and put in many long hours cataloguing who was where during each of the deaths and trying to come up with some background and possible connection between the two nurses, since the idea that the two deaths are unrelated seems almost impossible. Neither of the women were particularly well-liked, but murder? An interesting study on life in an English nursing school in the early70's--very different than my own American nursing education that started about ten years later. P.D. James is the master at weaving an intricate plot, dropping plenty of clues (and red herrings!) and then springing the result on you at the last moment. Very enjoyable classic mystery--I'm sure I read this one years ago, but didn't remember whodunit and look forward to moving ahead in the series.

  • Rania
    2019-05-18 03:00

    Well, it was a good book i read it with excitement and it kept my interest till the end. It was nicely written not tiring or boring at all. Also a thing that i really liked is the way the writer described the different personalities without being subjective and the fact that all these different personalities were interacting with each other throughout the book with all king of intresting behaviors that you do not usually find in most books.i would also like to point out that Mrs P.D. James was 90 years old when she wrote this book and this is so admirable! I wish i can be that wise and well-minded at this age.

  • Kate
    2019-05-06 07:09

    I was rather disappointed with this novel. The majority of the investigation was very slow paced and repetitive and very near the end the Nazi-past element was thrown in. This was unconvincing and very underdeveloped and it would have been better if it had been left out. Equally I could not connect with Adam Dalgliesh and I found him an unlikeable character, with many of his comments about other people being unfair.

  • Richard
    2019-05-06 06:13

    Good, verging on very good, although a bit too mannered and slow. Very deep psychological portrayals of the characters provide the big win. The plot was nicely convoluted, although the denouement wasn't much of a surprise. This was among the books listed on an ancient "all-time bests" newspaper clipping I found in my files. I think anyone who is a fan of mysteries should probably have already read it, right?

  • Mary Corbal
    2019-05-14 05:12

    Impresionante, merecería más estrellas.

  • Nicole Brown
    2019-04-25 05:05

    An excellent mystery that will leave you guessing; James at her best. haven’t anything to offer. There isn’t any help. We are all alone, all of us from the moment of birth until we die. Our past is our present and our future. We have to live with ourselves until there isn’t any more time left. If you want salvation look to yourself. There’s nowhere else to look.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 101)If you are proposing to commit a sin it is as well to commit it with intelligence. Otherwise you are insulting God as well as defying Him, don’t you think?--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 116)Everyone is interested in sex in their own way.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 143)This, after all, was the commonest, the most banal of personal tragedies. You loved someone. They didn’t love you. Worse, still, in defiance of their own best interests and to the destruction of your peace, they loved another. What would half the world’s poets and novelists do without this universal tragicomedy?--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 143)In any relationship there was one who loved and one who permitted himself or herself to be loved. This was merely to state the brutal economics of desire; from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. But was it selfish or presumptuous to hope that the one who took knew the value of the gift; that she wasn’t wasting love on a promiscuous and perfidious little cheat who took her pleasure wherever she chose to find it?--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 170)I’m beginning to wonder what’s happening to nursing. Every report and recommendation seems to take us further away from the bedside. We have dieticians to see to the feeding, physiotherapists to exercise the patients, medical social workers to listen to their troubles, ward orderlies to make the beds, laboratory technicians to take blood, ward receptionists to arrange the flowers and interview the relatives, operating theatre technicians to hand the surgeon the instruments. If we’re not careful nursing will become a residual skill, the job which is left when all the technicians have had their turn. And now we have the Salmon Report with all its talk of first, second, and third tiers of management. Management for what? There’s too much technical jargon. Ask yourself what is the function of the nurse today.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 176-7)Vanity, Mr. Dalgliesh, is a surgeon’s besetting sin as subservience is a nurse’s. I’ve never yet met a successful surgeon who wasn’t convinced that he ranked only one degree lower than Almighty God. --P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 181)“You have little respect for men apparently, Sister?” “A great deal of respect. I just don’t happen to like them. But you have to respect a sex that has brought selfishness to such an art. That’s what gives you your strength, this ability to devote yourselves entirely to your own interest.”--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 181)Only the young or the very arrogant imagined that there was an identikit to the human mind.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 198)I suppose a surgeon is rather like a lawyer. There’s no glory to be had in getting someone off if he’s obviously innocent. The greater the guilt the greater the glory.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 204)You can’t run a nurse training school like a psychiatric unit. I’m not going to be blamed. People here are supposed to be sane, not homicidal maniacs.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 221-2)“Miss Brumfett,” said Dalgliesh, “you seem determined by your behaviour to give me the impression that you killed these girls. It’s possible you did. I shall come to a conclusion about that as soon as I reasonably can. In the meantime, please curb your enthusiasm for antagonizing the police and wait until I can see you. That will be when I’ve finished talking to Mr. Morris. You can wait here outside the office or go to your own room, whichever suits you. But I shall want you in about thirty minutes and I, too, have no intention of chasing over the house to find you.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 232)You men like to make things so complicated.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 239)Here were no photographs to invite speculation; no bureau bursting with its accumulated hoard of trivia; no pictures to betray a private taste; no invitations to advertise the diversity, the existence even, of a social life. He held his own flat inviolate; it would have been intolerable to him to think that people would walk in and out at will. But here was an even greater reticence; the self-sufficiency of a woman so private that even her personal surroundings were permitted to give nothing away.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 248)Then she said that she had once slept with a surgeon and it was only too apparent that most of the bodies he came into contact with had been anaesthetized first; that he was so busy admiring his own technique that it never occurred to him that he was in bed with a conscious woman.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 272)“I know that I wanted to make love to a woman. I wanted to know what it was like. That’s one experience you can’t write about until you know.” “And sometimes not even then.”--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 273) I know she could. Not for long. Not often. But when she was happy she was marvellous. If you once know that kind of happiness you don’t kill yourself. While you live there’s a hope it could happen again. So why cut yourself off from the hope of it for ever?--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 278)He wasn’t particularly interested in people. He divided them into two broad groups, the law-abiding and the villains and the ceaseless war which he waged against the latter fulfilled, as he knew, some inarticulated need of his own nature. But he was interested in facts. He knew that, when anybody visited the scene of a crime, some evidence was left behind or some was taken away. It was the detective’s job to find that evidence. He knew that finger-prints hadn’t yet been known to lie and that human beings did frequently, irrationally, whether they were innocent or guilty. He knew that facts stood up in court and people let you down. He knew that motive was unpredictable although he had honesty enough sometimes to recognize his own.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 302)The war [World War II] was old history. It had no more relevance to his life than had the War of the Roses, less since it did not even evoke the faintly romantic and chivalrous overtones of the history learned in his boyhood. He had no particular feelings about the Germans, or indeed about any race other than the few he regarded as culturally and intellectually inferior. The Germans were not among those. Germany to him meant clean hotels and good roads, rippchen eaten with the local wine at the Apfel Wine Struben Inn, the Rhine curving below him like a silver ribbon, the excellence of the camping at Koblenz.--P. D. James (The Shroud of a Nightingale p 327)We English are good at forgiving our enemies; it releases us from the obligation of liking our friends.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 327)I like that smell, sir. It reminds me of boyhood. I suppose. Summer camps with the Boy Scouts. Huddled in a blanket around the camp fire with the sparks soaring off into the night. Bloody marvellous when you’re thirteen and being patrol leader is more power and glory than you’re ever likely to feel again.--P. D. James (Shroud For a Nightingale p 331)

  • Fran
    2019-05-05 01:16

    James has raised the stakes in the 4th Dalgliesh mystery, with murders more frequent and more brutal than in the previous books. As in the first three novels, the case hinges on information the reader simply cannot surmise from the clues in the book. In fact, there are probably enough clues here to figure this one out, at least in terms of motive, if not the identity of the murderer. But as I work my way through the Dalgleish mysteries, I'm finding that I don't make a huge effort to solve the case; I just dive in, enjoying the intensely British settings and characters. I don't know how she does it, but P.D. James always manages to find plausible settings for her "locked room" mysteries -- where the suspects circle each other warily, confined, with a murderer in their midst, to a manor house, an isolated village, or in this case, a teaching hospital set on the grounds of a creepy Victorian estate:It was a night of violent but erratic storm, the wind varying in intensity and even in direction from hour to hour. At ten o'clock it was little more than a sobbing obbligato among the elms. An hour later it suddenly reached a crescendo of fury. The great elms around Nightingale House cracked and groaned under the onslaught, while the wind screamed among them like the cachinnation of devils. Along the deserted paths, the bands of dead leaves, still heavy with rain, shifted sluggishly then broke apart into drifts and rose in wild swirls like demented insects, to glue themselves against the black barks of the trees. In the operating theatre at the top of the hospital Mr. Courtney-Brigges demonstrated his imperturbability in the face of crisis by muttering to his attendant registrar that it was a wild night before bending his head again to the satisfying contemplation of the intriguing surgical problem which throbbed between the retracted lips of the wound. (Another thing I love about James: New words. I had to look up two words in this passage!) I've learned that James spent a good part of her career as a hospital administrator. That makes sense; both here and in A Mind to Murder, she shows an intimate knowledge of the medical bureaucracy. It was educational and cringe-inducing to learn about treatments patients were subjected to 40 or 50 years ago. I trust things have changed since the days of live-in hospital Matrons and nurses-in-training in their crisply peaked white caps.Once again, James has created characters who throb with secrets, ambition, jealousy, and hatred. Student nurse Christine Dakers is the first to die, quite horribly, during a demonstration of gastrointestinal feeding through a tube. Through narration and flashbacks, we learn that Nurse Dakers had a nasty habit of spying and blackmail. I can vividly picture this petty, plain girl who turns to destruction when she can't crack into the popular set. Julia Pardoe is everything Christine Dakers is not -- beautiful, sexy in a sly, manipulative way, and popular with her peers. Then there's student nurse Madeleine Goodall, a more bookish version of Hermione Granger, knowledgable, observant, and just a tad discomfiting as her grey, bespectacled eyes silently take it all in without revealing what she's thinking. Or the Burt twins, whose "polite antiphonal answers to his questions, spoken in a West Country burr, were as agreeable to the ear as their shining good health to the eye." The hospital staff includes Sister Rolfe, who had "the face of a woman who had never learnt to come to terms with life, and had, perhaps, given up trying"; Mary Taylor, the elegant, crisply efficient Matron; her sycophantic underling, Sister Brumfert, a dour by-the-books type who reflexively bristles at even the suggestion of change; and Sister Maevis Gearing, whose frippish femininity hides a more complex interior. My favorite character, the wonderfully named Morag Smith, doesn't show up until nearly 3/4 of the way through the book. A wind-blown redhead who assures Dalgleish that "I know how the milk got into coconut all right," Morag spends her spare time in an abandoned gardener's hut on the hospital grounds. Here's a great example of how James crafts a scene, managing to characterize a minor player, explore Dalgleish's deservedly melancholy worldview, and startle us with memorable imagery in a few deft words: He waited and watched while the porters manoevered their stretcher into the room and with brisk efficiency dumped the dead weight onto it. Sir Miles fretted around them with the nervous anxiety of an expert who has found a particularly good specimen and must carefully supervise its safe transport. It was odd that the removal of that inert mass of bone and tightening muscle, to which each in his different way had been ministering, should have left the room so empty, so desolate. Dalgleish had noticed it before when the body was taken away; this sense of an empty stage, of props casually disposed and bereft of meaning, of a drained air. The recently dead had their own mysterious charisma; not without reason did men talk in whispers in their presence. But now she was gone, and there was nothing further for him to do in the room. He left the fingerprint man annotating and photographing his finds, and went out into the passage. I'd give this one 3.5 stars if I could.

  • DeAnna Knippling
    2019-05-11 09:05

    Wonderfully written; odd to read an earlier book and be able to pick up on how it's put together. There's information near the end, for example, that should have been presented earlier in order to be strictly fair, but would have given too much away if presented earlier on. So be it: it's kind of neat to see a master at work.

  • Pili
    2019-04-23 07:54

    Que una novela negra escrita hace más de 40 años haya logrado mantenerme relativamente entretenida toda una tarde... tiene su mérito.

  • Michael A
    2019-05-02 05:13

    I commented last time how PD James, even though she seemed to "get" the puzzle mechanics of this kind of mystery writing and could show us how superficial the genre is through self-reference, needed to find a style of her own to make any kind of mark. The problem is that Christie blazed so much ground that writers have to deal with her legacy in this particular style of mystery. Back then, it was enough to have a stimulating guessing game with the author. But in this day and age, how do you keep the formula fresh and engaging for readers who have experienced the mystery tropes time and time again?I think PD James responds well enough to this challenge in two ways in this particular book.The first thing is, of course, that she worked in these kinds of environments and could draw personally on first-hand experiences to give the book life. I liked the fact her experiences from real life inspired this book. Thus I am sure the sexual escapades, the twisted relationships, the power grabs, and a lot of the related drama would have come from her own experiences and found its way into the novel. Also, the fact that she is willing to address lesbians and gays and sex directly in a novel does make it more interesting to read.The second is, to my mind, her main innovation in the English mystery. That is, we have the detective questioning his own role in the story. Dalgleish is the most introspective detective I have ever encountered in a mystery like this one. Secondarily, we have Masterson doing the same thing -- he also addresses his own working realtionship with Dalgliesh as an officer under his command. Before, as I think have noted before, the puzzle just was. The detective did his thing and the suspects did their thing and the writer left red herrings and that's all that was needed. Making the detectives more human gives an interesting minor twist to the otherwise straightforward English whodunit. It seems to be her raison d'etre in an overly saturated genre.Those two things being said, this is just business as usual for a whodunit. And given that the addition to the formula isn't revolutionary to the degree that Christie or Sayers were, it's hard to rate it highly as a result. On the other hand, it's clearly competent and anything below three stars would be unfair. Sadly, I liked her previous book, "Unnatural Causes," more.

  • Val Penny
    2019-04-28 02:03

    Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL, known as P. D. James, is an English crime writer and a life peer in the House of Lords. She was born in August 1920.This is a book my mother gave me many years ago. I probably read it then, but had forgotten the story, so when I cam across it, I read it again.Nightingale House is where a group of third year student nurses live while they learn the art of nursing. There is a routine inspection of the nursing school by the General Nursing Council. It ends horribly with the death of a student during a demonstration of intra-gastric feeding tubes. One of the students, Heather Pearce, who is playing the part of the patient during a demonstration, is internally fed bathroom disinfectant instead of milk and dies thrashing on the floor in front of the class. Jo Fallon was meant to be the patient. However, she was taken ill at the last minute and Heather Pearce was the substitute.The question is raised as to whether this is an accident or murder. Then, this gruesome beginning is compounded with a second student death. Another student nurse is found dead in her bed. This time Jo Fallon is the victim; poison is the method. It is now clear this is murder and Chief Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the murders. His implacable determination to get at the truth is welcomed by the nursing staff with varying degrees of coolness. Dalgliesh is not quite as developed as a character as he is in later books, but the basics are there.nightingale bookI love P.D. James’s attention to detail: the descriptions bring the locations so vividly to mind. There are a lot of red herrings in this story and I changed my mind a couple of times before I got to the end of the book. I still did not guess the end of the story. She never fails to produce clever, unexpected solutions, and a dramatically satisfying ending, and this novel is no different. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

  • Jenn
    2019-05-21 07:02

    I enjoyed this. P D James is a remarkably consistent writer, so if you like closed community whodunits, lots of twists and turns and false alibis – and I happen to do so - this is your novel. Otherwise you’ll find it slow and ponderous.It is set in a nursing training home in the late sixties. Its description of nursing is inadvertently a bit of social history itself, for I think nursing training has changed dramatically since those days. The story is slow starting, not withstanding the grisly murder in the first chapter, and it took me awhile to get into but once I did I was gripped in a gentle kind of way. A good novel if you happen to be ill or on a long journey.Having said all that Dalgleish is an annoying detective as ever. He supposed to be sardonic and attractive but is actually just dull. He could do with being murdered himself. Fortunately we don’t see his personal life in the novel, for I have no desire to read about his poetry or love affairs and probably would have skipped that part. P D James doesn’t do love very well and lacks a sense of humour, so she is not witty as say, Caroline Graham would be and almost all her characters are unsympathetic. She enjoys doing detailed pen portraits of people, which are entertaining but are generally unflattering. Other people have pointed she just didn’t like the human race very much and I suppose they might be right. Still, doesn’t detract from it being a good novel.And oh yes, I spotted the murderer in Chapter Two, which says more about the fact that I’ve read too many detective books than my powers of deduction.