The Murder Room

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The Murder Room
First edition
Author P. D. James
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Adam Dalgliesh #12
Genre Crime, Mystery
Publisher Faber & Faber
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 0-571-21821-0
OCLC 52143680
Preceded by Death in Holy Orders
Followed by The Lighthouse

The Murder Room is a 2003 detective novel and the 12th in the Adam Dalgliesh series by P. D. James. It takes place in London, particularly the Dupayne Museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath in the London Borough of Camden.

The Dupayne Museum is an eclectic collection of English memorabilia from the period between World War I and World War II. The Murder Room of the title refers to a room displaying relics of murders that occurred during these years. The Dupayne Museum is the property of three siblings, who are in the midst of a family row over whether or not to renew the lease on the building that houses the museum. When Neville Dupayne is killed in a manner mirroring one of the murders displayed in the Murder Room, Commander Dalgliesh is called in to investigate.

Emma Lavenham, a character from Death in Holy Orders, becomes important in this novel as a romance develops between her and Commander Dalgliesh. The novel ends with a love letter from Dalgliesh to Lavenham.

The BBC adapted the book for a two-part, three-hour TV production released in 2004, starring Martin Shaw as Dalgliesh and Janie Dee as Lavenham. The production was released on DVD in the U.S. in October 2005.[1]


Main Characters[edit]

Commander Adam Dalgliesh-(lead investigator)

Detective Inspector Kate Miskin (second in command)

Detective Inspector Piers Tarrant (another member of the investigation team, considering leaving for special branch)

Marcus Dupayne (the oldest of the three Dupayne siblings, middle-aged retired assistant to a state minister,hoping tho keep the museum open).

Caroline Dupayne (youngest of the siblings,also hoping to keep the museum open).

Dr Neville Dupayne (the middle sibling, a psychiatrist and the only sibling to want the museum to close).

Tallulah 'Tally' Cotton (a volunteer museum cleaner who lives in a cottage at the back of the museum)

Miss Muriel Godby (secretary-receptionist at the museum)

Mrs Faraday senior (volunteer gardener at the museum and the mother-in-law of Angela)

Ryan Archer (a part-time garderner/heavy cleaner at the museum)

James Calder-Hale (the museum curator, who is terminally ill with cancer)

Emma Lavenham (love interest of Dalgleish)

Sara Dupayne (daughter of Neville, wants museum to close to get her share of the profit)

Angela Faraday (Neville's lover and P.A, daughter-in-law of Mrs Faraday senior)

Other Characters[edit]

Major Arkright (sometimes shares his flat with Ryan Archer)

Marie Strickland (volunteer calligrapher at the museum)

Conor Ackroyd (a friend of Dalgliesh who travels with him at the start to visit the museum)

Stan Carter (a mechanic, interviewed during the course of the investigation)

Lady Swathling (owner of a girls school and part-time employer of Caroline Dupayne)

Assistant Commissoner Geoffrey Harkness (briefs Dalgliesh at the start of the investigation)

Bruno Denholm (MI5 agent who takes an interest in the case from the offset)

Maynard Scobie (a member of special branch, has no lines in the novel)

Clara Beckwith (Emma's friend)

Perkins (butler to Mrs Faraday senior)