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The Dark Room

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In this acclaimed psychological mystery, Jinx Kingsley, a prominent photographer and millionaire’s daughter, wakes up in an exclusive hospital suffering from amnesia. Not only can she not remember the car accident that caused her memory loss, but she doesn’t remember that her impending wedding has been called off or that her former fiancé and his girlfriend have been brutally murdered in the same way her first husband had been ten years before. Now she must try to piece together her memories in order to determine her innocence. With deft psychological explorations and shocking twists, Walters brings the story to an awe-inspiring conclusion.

400 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1995

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About the author

Minette Walters

86 books1,236 followers
Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for television in a BBC series starring Pauline Quirke. Her novels The Ice House, The Echo, The Dark Room, and The Scold's Bridle have also been adapted by the BBC.

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5 stars
975 (20%)
4 stars
2,040 (41%)
3 stars
1,497 (30%)
2 stars
287 (5%)
1 star
61 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 306 reviews
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,219 reviews2,049 followers
May 9, 2016
Gosh this one gets some mixed reviews but I really liked it. In fact I liked it so much I stayed up way too late at night to finish it. The mystery aspect was really good and I only just managed to guess the identity of the murderer largely because the other suspects were being slowly eliminated. It was an interesting read because I was never sure of the sincerity of any of the characters. Even the main character, Jinx, lied half the time and the reader was left in the same amount of doubt as the police about what was actually going on. I think this is the third book I have read by Minette Walters and as far as I am concerned she has not let me down so far!
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
547 reviews99 followers
May 24, 2019
Almost 5 stars.

This books is more than 20 years old and has gathered a bit of dust over the years, i.e. technology is not up to date and racism/sexism are displayed significantly more openly than today. But if you are ready to overlook this, you are in for a great read.

A young woman wakes up in a hospital with amnesia. She is told that she had a car accident trying to commit suicide.

Based on this starting point the author assembles a complex puzzle out of bits and pieces of small information scraps. She uses a variety of ways to transmit information: Police reports, newspaper articles, meeting minutes, letters and very short chapters narrated from different POVs. The whole picture develops slowly and takes a lot of turns, so that I kept guessing till the end

I thouroughly enjoyed this book and the only reason I didn't rate it with 5 stars was the silly romance part at the very end, which I found completeley unnecessary.
Profile Image for Lobstergirl.
1,713 reviews1,242 followers
March 31, 2015

If you cut out the parts where details were being rehashed, this book would be half as long. So much recapitulation. The relationship between Jinx and her doctor at the private clinic, Alan Protheroe, was irritating. The amnesiac Jinx quickly became tedious as a character. Was she supposed to arouse our sympathy, or were we supposed to believe the people who found her shifty and manipulative? Both of these personae are batted around like ping pong balls, endlessly. Also could Dr. Protheroe stop addressing women as "Woman!"? It didn't seem very professional. The only tolerable characters, besides a cat named Marmaduke, were the detectives, but there were so many of them I couldn't keep them straight.
Profile Image for Kirsten .
1,589 reviews255 followers
December 23, 2015
This is not one of Minette Walters best books. It is a good mystery. However, it is not the caliber of psychological thriller I am used to come from this author.
Profile Image for John.
1,141 reviews84 followers
August 6, 2021
This is technically a well written story. Jinx the main character is in hospital after an apparent suicide attempt using her car. She has lost her memory of the last few weeks. Then her ex fiancé Leo and her best friend Meg are found murdered in a similar fashion as Jinx’s first husband was murdered. Death by sledgehammer seems a bit over the top.

Is it her father a past gangster, her two useless half brothers, Meg’s business partner or someone else. Simon a vicar and Meg’s brother is also in the mix. There are a lot of conversations between the detectives, Dr Prothoroe who should be struck off and a few other characters. Marmaduke the cat and the irascible Colonel were the most likable characters.

The ending for me was a letdown. The murderer barely featured in the story and his ending seemed out of character for someone in his profession. Overall entertaining and the tv adaptation more exciting in particular with the different ending.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
939 reviews
April 22, 2015
Interesting psychological mystery. A woman wakes up in a hospital with amnesia and is told she tried to kill herself. Also, her friend and her fiance are dead. Did she kill them, or is she being framed? You have to be very alert reading this book, as events are presented out of sequence and times and dates of actions are important. Who is lying and who is telling the truth? It kept me guessing right up until the end. Worth the mental workout.
Profile Image for _kirsebaer_.
159 reviews11 followers
March 6, 2020
Eine junge Frau mit Amnesie nach einem Selbstmordversuch und mehrere Tote in Ihrem direkten Umfeld. Im Grundsatz einen nicht neuer Krimi/Thrilleransatz, der nichts desto trotz spannend und interessant sein kann bzw. hätte sein können.
Leider haben mich einige Dinge dazu bewogen sehr lange für das Buch zu brauchen und auch im Ende nur 2,5 Sterne (aufgerundet zu 3) geben zu können:

- es gab nicht eine einzige Person, die mir sympatisch war oder bei der es mich wirklich interessiert hat wie ihr Schicksal sich entwickelt.
- viel zu viele Ermittler, die ich alle nicht mehr auseinander halten konnte und deren Notwendigkeit sich mir auch nicht erschlossen hat
- man hätte aus dem 500 Seiten-Buch durch das Streichen von Wiederholungen mindestens 150-200 Seiten entfernen können und vermutlich hätte trotzdem nichts gefehlt

Insgesamt habe ich den Ausgang des Falls so nicht erwartet, allerdings hat er sich mir auch nicht vollständig erschlossen...
Profile Image for Christopher Hivner.
Author 48 books6 followers
May 10, 2012
Jinx Kingsley is found thrown from her car which has smashed head-on into a wall. It is believed that she was trying to kill herself because her fiance Leo has run off with her best friend Meg. Jinx's father Adam, a former gangster and now extremely rich and powerful businessman has Jinx admitted to a hospital where Dr. Protheroe tries to help her with her amnesia and why she doesn't believe she would try to committ suicide. Then Leo and Meg are found murdered and the police discover that Jinx's first husband was also murdered in a similar fashion. Now she and her gangster father are the prime suspects in three killings of which she can only remember bits and pieces.

The Dark Room is technically well written and Walters gives all the characters depth. The story keeps your interest enough that you want to know who actually committed the murders. However, the mystery is overplotted. Their are too many characters to keep straight and too many people lying so you, as the reader, never know what is going on either. The entire book devolves into nothing but conversations and question and answer sessions whether it's between Jinx and the police or Jinx and her doctor or Jinx and another patient or her half-brothers. Nothing happens for much of the book and it gets tedious covering the same ground again and again from a different character's perspective. Jinx, as the main character, is not all that likable either. She's petulant and arrogant and lies as much as everyone else. The ending is also a let-down, the real killer revealing theirself in an anti-climactic fashion and turning out to not have that much to do with the rest of the story anyway.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
863 reviews47 followers
December 21, 2016
The Dark Room is the author's first published novel , a blend of detective, mystery and horror genre. It is a psychological thriller that begins when Jinx Kingsley is found unconscious in the wreckage of a car accident on an abandoned air strip. The police suspect a suicide attempt due to her high level of intoxication after blood samples are taken. Then they discovered that the day before, she had been found by a neighbor in her garage with the engine running and the door closed. Further complicating the situation is the fact that her fiancé has run away with her best friend and they can't be located for questioning. Jinx is placed in an evaluation private clinic when she can't remember what happened. She struggles to regain her memory with the help of Dr. Alan Protheroe. He begins to see Jinx as brilliant and strong-willed. Not the sort of person who would kill themselves. She can't remember the suicide attempt, but with his probing, memories begin to surface. And they are terrifying. When a pair of bodies are found dumped in suspicious circumstances. Detectives, the psychiatrist, and Jinx work to solve the puzzle. At the beginning, the author supplies the reader with plenty of suspects. The picture is blurry and incomplete. But, as the plot progresses, readers see a filled-out, easier to picture, and understand. The book is a subtle form of brainwashing and the father comes into to play even though he is not a major character, he has major effects on the story line.
Profile Image for Asghar Abbas.
Author 4 books188 followers
July 12, 2016

My first Minette Walters book ever and it was quite the dance, let me tell you. I read this in 2005; crime genre at its best. It was also just the right amount of Britishness that made it a little special.
Profile Image for HyL.
33 reviews12 followers
March 16, 2013
This is a psychological thriller, where you are invited to be a] the protagonist b] the police inspector and c] the protagonist's psychiatrist. All are trying to piece together the answer to a key question: Did the protagonist (an amnesiac) kill two, perhaps three, people? As with any of the three perspectives, the information offered the reader is fragmentary. As with real life, there are numerous possible suspects besides the protagonist, and each has a reason not to be fully disclosing with what information they know; each has motives to protect someone who might be the killer. A lot of people have said this is not their favourite Minette Walters book, or they found it too complicated, overly plotted, too fragmented. But I think this is what makes this book a stellar example of Walter's craft: as readers, we are invited to truly experience - in structure as well as narrative - what it is like to be at the centre of a murder investigation. The characters are not candy-coated, not necessarily likeable, not necessarily trustworthy. This isn't the kind of fiction where you can imagine yourself as hero or heroine. This is a book that shows you how baffling, frustrating, scary and downright infuriating murder-solving can be.
Profile Image for Courtney LeBlanc.
Author 13 books59 followers
June 1, 2014
2.5 Stars: This book was...okay... There were parts that were interesting but unfortunately so much of it feels incredibly heavy-handed. The main character, Jinx, goes from fiercely defending her father to clearly despising him. She tells off her stepmother - calls her a jealous drunk (she is, but that's sort of irrelevant) and then the next minute bails her out when she has no where else to go. She's rude, arrogant, and downright nasty to her stepbrothers but then defends them when confronted by a cop. I realize all family relationships can be tangled and twisted but this felt too forced. The main character and her psychologist also exhibit some obvious and not real-feeling moments. One minute they don't trust one another and the next they're thinking sexual thoughts about one another? Just didn't seem real. When it comes to mysteries I want to be intrigued and when the truth finally comes out to have that "Ahhh, yeah, that makes total sense!" moment when you realize the killer was right there all along. This book has none of that and when the killer is finally revealed it was more of a "scratching my head in disappointment and confusion" kind of moment. Overall the book was okay but I would look elsewhere for a good mystery as this one doesn't deliver.
957 reviews10 followers
July 16, 2017
This was an okay psychological thriller. It was more complicated than it needed to be, I think. I didn't like how a policeman was called Superintendent in one paragraph and Frank in the next, more than once. It just didn't sit well with me. But the main character was likeable, and it was an interesting story.
Profile Image for Estcavi.
264 reviews21 followers
October 12, 2018
cuando vi que el título de esta novela era el cuarto oscuro pensé: no creo que me vaya a gustar, pero nada más lejos la realidad, una novela con una trama sin respiración, muy adictiva y claro con la señora Minette Walters es una apuesta segura.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,822 followers
June 15, 2015
This was one of the most complex thrillers I have ever read. Trust me, this is a good thing! I have been reading thrillers for over 25 years and it's one of my favorite genres. I knew nothing about this book other than what I read on the back of the paperback.

While this is over 400 pages, you don't notice the length thanks to the multiple POVs and all that is going on. I kept coming up with possible theories of "whodunnit" only to gasp aloud when it was finally revealed. I never guessed in a million years it was the person who it was and I give full credit to the author for keeping me in suspense!

I loved the complicated character Jane "Jinx" was and she was completely believable. I hated one of the police inspector. He went on and on saying how it had to be Jinx and wouldn't look at anyone else. He's a prick and should've been fired and/or humiliated.

The only thing I didn't like was the 20 page epilogue. 20 pages? It was filled with information dumping (which is a big no-no) and it was too long.

Other than that, I loved the book! I have a new author to read and I can't wait to read her other books.

My Rating: 4 stars
Profile Image for Jenna.
29 reviews13 followers
October 29, 2010
Two stars for two main reasons: I found it hard to tell who was speaking, and I really hated the inclusion of newspaper articles and reports and so forth.

The very tiny bit of romance was pretty lame and completely unnecessary. It didn't add anything to the story. But the ending did surprise me, and I liked one of the minor characters (Matthew).

If I ran across another book by Minette Walters, I'd avoid it. Even if it was free. There are just too many good books out there worth reading.
Profile Image for ash | spaceyreads.
346 reviews204 followers
December 2, 2014
I felt like this was one of her poorer novels. Alright, the writing was excellent - the dialogue easy to read and pacing comfortable - but the plot wasn't what I was looking for. I was drawn in at first, and admittedly I was well shocked when it turned out to be who it was, but I felt that it was a lazy twist.

947 reviews10 followers
January 23, 2012
I enjoyed this as much for the structure as I did for the story. The ever-shifting viewpoint, the date and time of each event appended to its section, the question as to the veracity of what any speaker is saying and the shifting motivations, as well as the slowly abating amnesia of the chief character and her own doubt as to the truth of what she is "remembering" all add to the realism of the cook, even if some of the characters are a little over the top.
Profile Image for Brian.
111 reviews3 followers
August 10, 2013
I found The Dark Room to be akin to torture. It is a long tedious path to a somewhat sursprising ending. The destination isn't worth the journey it takes to get there. I normally enjoy Minette Walters, but this was a big failure for me. It's really difficult to get into a book when the protaganist is as exciting as watching paint dry.
Profile Image for The Cats’ Mother.
2,060 reviews131 followers
May 27, 2017
Clever psychological thriller about a woman who wakes up in hospital with amnesia after an apparent suicide attempt when her fiancé runs off with her best friend.
Lots of red herrings and light foreshadowing mean you really don't know who to trust, but I didn't guess whodunnit at all (and I read a lot of mysteries.)
5 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2021
I got this book in a batch from a charity shop. I started reading it because I had nothing else and boy did I like it. Very well written and the mystery is superb. Up until the very last page (although I did feel it was a bit rushed in the end after all the build up). Will definatley keep an eye out for more books by Minette Walters.
1,139 reviews13 followers
April 22, 2020
Minette Walters books are fun to read, a bit repetitious, interesting and (with the three I’ve read) leave you wondering just what the heck REALLY happened. Maybe I’m dense but after everything is explained, I’m left with the feeling that the real murderers got away with their crimes. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️
Profile Image for John.
Author 326 books162 followers
September 16, 2013
As soon as I opened the book I dimly remembered having watch the tv movie adaptation of it many years ago; luckily I couldn't recall much about the movie itself, beyond that I'd thought it was pretty good. I must have been about two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through the book before memories stirred of whodunnit, but that didn't affect my enjoyment -- or slow the rapid pace of my reading! -- much if at all, because this is one of those tales where, while the mystery aspect is excellent, the real fascination comes from the workings out of plot, characters, and the relations between the characters.

Jinx Kingsley, successful-photographer daughter of an ex-gangster plutocrat, survives an apparent suicide attempt but with a severe case of partial amnesia: she can't remember anything about the days leading up to the calamity. She refuses to believe she could have tried to kill herself, even though it's known that her fiance Leo had just jilted her in favour of her best friend Meg. Slowly she convinces Dr Alan Protheroe, head of the swanky Nightingale Institute, where her father's put her to recuperate, that she really isn't the suicidal kind, that she'd been glad to see the back of Leo rather than devastated by his departure, and that she'd borne Meg no ill will. By then, though, the bodies of Leo and Meg have been discovered in woodland, their heads beaten to a pulp using a sledgehammer. Since Jinx's first husband, Russell, was ten years ago beaten to death with a sledgehammer -- and had also been having an affair with Meg -- the cops start looking at Jinx very carefully indeed . . .

One interesting narrative technique is that Walters keeps one of the principal suspects for all three killings -- the ruthless Adam Kingsley, Jinx's father -- offstage for all but the last three pages, even though his name and his actions permeate the tale. This gives us the impression that he's a true eminence grise, manipulating the plot as he wills. It's possibly a false impression -- Walters adeptly keeps us in some doubt even at the end as to who's been manipulating whom, and even as to whether the solution we've been presented to the mystery is the truth, or at any rate the whole of it.

A couple of clumsy scenes of dumbed-down-sitcom-style adolescent sexual innuendo briefly destroy the atmosphere of the book; Walters's editor should have stomped them. Unfortunately, one of those scenes is the envoi, which means that this reader at least came away from the book shaking his head wearily and wishing he could award 3.5 stars rather than 4 . . .
Profile Image for Lynn Weber.
511 reviews34 followers
December 15, 2020
Solid police procedural about a woman with amnesia who appears to have tried to kill herself.
Profile Image for Parwati Singari.
108 reviews16 followers
June 13, 2016

The dark room
When my mother wanted to say that we did something foolish, or she felt foolish, she used a term,”upper storey to let” somehow the book took me through the journey
Finally the throne of my idol Dame Agatha Christie is threatened.
The Debut Novel of author Minnette Walters, The Dark Room had me absolutely hooked. Published by Pan Boooks, the ISBN number is 0330343742
The story of three unsolved murders spanned over 10 yrs opens with a prologue which feels totally irrelevant when the actual story moves on. the relevance pops only towards the end.
It is so difficult to talk about this whodunit without placing the spoilers.
Set in contemporary England, the Story line is quite simple three unsolved murders, one attempted suicide the suicide victim is the suspect at the murder, so is her father, the plot is very simple what makes the book unique is the treatment, Walters focuses on relationship, and the subaltern thought process. She does not bother to vindicate her characters behaviour moral or amoral.
Though the book is about relationship, and one of the dead being sexually overtly liberal there are no sex scenes to distract, she actually rejects an obvious buzz issue child abuse to keep the focus.
Stories in Indian context even western contest are either plot driven or Prakarna as Sanskrit literature calls it, that is events dominate the narrative, while the other is Purana or the character dominated ones. each character is crafted quite conviencingly that one does excuse couple of misses here and there.
The young man who comes up from the ranks the hard way, him marrying a woman from the elite society of England, him idolizing her and the daughter that is born to them. when she dies he marries someone from his own environment, the jealousy the apparently dysfunctional family juxtapositioned with apparently well knit traditional families the story pans out very interestingly. Though being a seasoned whodunit reader, I did het a whiff of who the murder might be I realized the temptation to jump the plat was not there.
Hope I have not put a spoiler for anyone,

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