Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shroud for a Nightingale

Shroud for a Nightingale (1971) is the 4th book in the Adam Dalgliesh mystery series by by P.D. James. It felt familiar as I read it. I may have read it long years ago, or perhaps I saw the Roy Marsden miniseries? At any rate, I didn't remember the details, and it was an enjoyable read. I generally find the Dalgliesh stories to be easy and enjoyable reads, with characters that are engaging and plots that keep me interested throughout. This is a good one.

from the back of the book:
The young women of the 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. The New York Times called Shroud for a Nightingale "mystery at its best."

In the book here's a description of a room that includes mention of "an original water colour, a charming landscape by Robert Hills, hung where the light from the window lit it most effectively." I looked this artist up (he doesn't have a Wikipedia page), and here's the type of thing I imagine hanging on the wall:

A Farmyard, by Robert Hills (1769-1844) from the Tate

I'm horrified at it being hung where sunlight directly shines on it, though.

That same room is described as containing "a Staffordshire pottery figure of John Wesley preaching from his pulpit." It's called "a collector's piece". I like to think it's this one:

There are several authors and specific books mentioned. In this same room, the author says,
[Dalgliesh] walked over to the bookcase beside the bed and again examined the books... A collection of modern poetry, his own last volume included; a complete set of Jane Austen, well worn but in a leather binding and printed on India paper; a few books on philosophy nicely balanced between scholarship and popular appeal; about two dozen paper-backs of modern novels, Greene, Waugh, Compton, Burnett, Hartley, Powell, Cary.
Of these, I have some Austen, Greene, Waugh, and Powell on my shelves.

A different character has different books. This shelf includes Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, In the Steps of St. Paul and In the Steps of the Master. I have read the first and third of those 3. Another of the suspects mentions "the new Iris Murdoch," but I don't know which one of her books that would've been. I like Murdoch and have several of her novels.

There's only one film mentioned: One of the suspects goes to a showing of Antonioni's L'Avventura. I haven't seen that movie.

I enjoy specific mentions of books and movies when I'm reading. I like noting which I've read or at least heard of and which I might even have on my own shelves. I think it's fun. Hey, I take my fun where I find it!

I have blog posts on these:

#2 A Mind to Murder
#5 The Black Tower
#7 A Taste for Death
#8 Devices and Desires
#9 Original Sin
#12 The Murder Room
#13 The Lighthouse

and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, which features an appearance by Dalgliesh.


  1. I used to read her books all of the time. I wonder why I stopped. I listed to her speak when I was 18 and that was cool, but many, many years ago.

    1. ooo i'm impressed you heard her. that would've been fun! maybe you read them all. or maybe you just tired of them. i try to space them out, so i don't read them too close together.