A Mind To Murder (1995)

“Your personal feelings are irrelevant.”

Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh (Roy Marsden) is ordered to investigate the murder of an employee which occurs at the prestigious Steen Clinic. The clinic caters to the wealthy and the privileged, and houses both those with chemical dependencies and those with serious mental problems. With a handful of brittle suspects, Dalgliesh tries to solve the crime. He’s hampered in his efforts by superiors who clearly want the case wrapped up as quietly and as quickly as possible.

A Mind to Murder is one of the least satisfying Dalgliesh mysteries, and this is mainly due to the plot. This made-for -elevision film begins with a tragic event, and then moves onto the seemingly unconnected murder at the Steen Clinic. The plot contains several holes, which are never explained to one’s satisfaction. Another problem with the plot is its setting–a clinic full of troubled patients very quickly boils down to one suspect, and while this character’s acting is good, the character’s problem itself seems a little too blatant and simplified for my tastes. A Mind to Murder–based on a P.D. James novel– at 101 minutes is also considerably shorter than most of the other Dalgliesh mysteries. The tangled truth at the bottom of all the disruption at the clinic is vastly interesting, and it certainly raises some questions for discussion, but A Mind to Murder does not possess the quality of other Dalgliesh mysteries. Ultimately, some aspects of the film seem somewhat hurried, and the over-the-top ending is a bit silly. If you’re a newcomer to Dalgliesh, I recommend starting with another, more enjoyable episode first.

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