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The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Book 13) [Kindle Edition]

P.D. James
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.96 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A secure and secluded retreat for the rich and powerful becomes the setting for an unsettling series of murders.Combe Island off the Cornish coast is a restful haven for the elite. But when one of its distinguished visitors is found hanging from the island’s famous lighthouse in what appears to have been a murder, the peace is shattered. Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to handle the sensitive case, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. He is uncertain about his future with his girlfriend Emma Lavenham; his principle detective Kate Miskin is going through an emotional crisis; and the ambitious Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith is not happy about having a female boss. After a second brutal killing, the whole investigation is jeopardized, and Dalgliesh is faced with a danger even more insidious than murder.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British master James's 13th Adam Dalgliesh mystery, like its two predecessors, The Murder Room (2003) and Death in Holy Orders (2001), focuses at first on a hostile character who threatens to shatter a longstanding way of life. Acclaimed novelist Nathan Oliver incurs the wrath of his fellow residents on Combe Island, a private property off the Cornish coast used as an exclusive retreat by movers and shakers in many fields. When Oliver is murdered, Scotland Yard dispatches Dalgliesh and two of his team to Combe, where the commander checks alibis and motives in his trademark understated manner. Because the detective's new romantic attachment is more of a backstory than in The Murder Room, it intrudes less on the murder inquiry. The solution, which hinges on the existence of an unknown child, is less than fully satisfactory and also borrows elements from some of James's recent plots. Devotees more interested in her hero's personal growth than his deductive technique will find much to enjoy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Last seen in The Murder Room (2003) (*** Mar/Apr 2004), Dalgliesh is still pondering his romance, and there’s still a mystery to be solved. Critics, who generally praised this 13th installment of the series, saw similarities to the plot of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, to Jane Austen’s playful writing, and to Virginia Woolf’s themes. Vivid character studies and intricate settings reveal James’s eye for detail—from descriptions of Oliver’s insidious personality and Dalgliesh’s insecurities to an intelligent game of Scrabble. James also makes references to popular literature. But there are no quick rewards for the reader interested in a fast-paced mystery or a wholly original plot—except for the ending, which "will transfix even the most hopeless addict of potboilers" (Chicago Sun-Times).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 309 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0739325582
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 1, 2005)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
226 of 232 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A righteous addition to the resume of P.D. James November 30, 2005
I think an avid reader must have a certain elasticity and tolerance for the variability of writers. Like good, long-time friends, writers we've read for years become part of the pattern of our reading and we know their rhythms and how to approach their work. I know that Rankin and Mina are going to be rough and tumble and underworldly. Rendell/Vine and McDermid are going to be dazzling in their observations of the human psyche. And James is going to tell a damned good story in her own damned good time. "The Lighthouse" is no exception, except that perhaps it returns James to a higher place than she's reached in recent books.

If you read P.D. James, you must accept that every room will be created for you in aching detail and every horizon will be completely and lovingly described. If you read her without the sufficient time to appreciate these details, you'll also miss beautiful little bits of evidence that she drops like moonlit crumbs for you to follow. This is such a book.

When I read that "The Lighthouse" was set on an isolated island with a closely defined cast of characters, my heart sank a little because it was so like her last two books, which were good but not her best. This is not such a book. The shocking uncertainty of the murder that starts the book is matched by the turmoil in Commander Adam Dalgliesh's personal life, and who is to say that just because we get older, we aren't still allowed to be uncertain in love? James writes this element of the book with lovely poignancy and makes us understand that Dalgliesh is truly a copper with a poet's heart.

There are so many small things that make this book great.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Emotional Awakening of Commander Dalgliesh December 1, 2005
"The call could hardly have come at a less convenient time. After a month of working a sixteen-hour day tiredness had caught up with him, and, although he could mange tiredness, what he longed for was rest, peace and, for two blessed days the company of Emma. He told himself he only had himself to blame for the spoilt weekend. He wasn't compelled to undertake a possible murder investigation, however politically or socially important that victim or challenging the crime."

Thus Adam Dalgliesh has set the scene for portraying a little emotion in his life, and how he makes decisions. We come to realize that Commander Dalgliesh is a human after all. He does love Emma, and he does worry that she may not love him as he does her. The worries of a professional man wrapped up in his life, and how to separate the two so that he may enjoy what really matters in life.

Commander Dalgliesh decides he must take this assignment and comply with his Superior's request, fly to Combe Island off the Cornish coast of England. A suspicious death has occurred on this most elite island. He calls Detective Inspector Kate Miskin and his new Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, and they helicopter off to solve a mystery that is one of the best that PD James has written. What they find is a lovely, remote island that is populated by people who all have their own mysteries to hide.

It appears that a famous author, Nathan Oliver, has been found hanging from the lighthouse and he is dead. Was this suicide or was this murder? That is exactly what Adam Dalgliesh and Kate Miskin and Benton-Smith are there to find out. In the midst of the investigation, one of the occupants of the island becomes critically ill, and the diagnosis is SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are merely relics of the past." November 26, 2005
"The Lighthouse," by P. D. James, is one of the most carefully constructed and entertaining mysteries of the year. This novel has it all: a scenic landscape, a variety of fascinating, three-dimensional characters, enough red herrings to throw even the most savvy reader off the scent, a hint of romance, and an exploration of what makes human beings so complex and unpredictable.

The plot involves the murder of a world-famous individual on Combe, a secluded island off the Cornish coast in England. The investigators are Commander Adam Dalgleish and his team, Detective Inspector Kate Miskin and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith. The detectives are confronted with a "closed island mystery," since access to Combe is limited to a few invited guests. It would be almost impossible for an intruder to sneak onto Combe and kill someone unnoticed. Which one of the residents had the motive, opportunity, and strength to strangle the victim and hang him from a lighthouse railing?

James has complete control of her narrative from the first to the last page, whether she is describing an interview with a suspect, revealing Dalgleish's innermost thoughts, or subtly revealing little clues that only the sharpest observer might notice. The dialogue is pitch perfect, the author's descriptive writing is vivid and never intrusive, and she handles her large cast of characters with expertise. The residents of the island include Nathan Oliver, a novelist, his daughter, Miranda, and Emily Holcombe, an eighty-year old woman whose ancestor, Henry, set up a charitable trust which designated Combe as "a place of rest and seclusion for men in positions of responsibility.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Another 400 page P D James book that could have been 300 pages.
Published 5 days ago by Roscoe G. Hastings
5.0 out of 5 stars PD James,
PD James, who sadly died recently was the foremost crime writer using a vocabulary that stretches the imagination and heightens the plot
Published 1 month ago by DAVID J
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK mystery,with an interesting variety of characters.
A bit complex for me, I should have written up a cast of characters.
Published 2 months ago by FangmuttToo
5.0 out of 5 stars I personally rate books by how believable they are and ...
I personally rate books by how believable they are and how hard it is to guess the ending. PD James nevr disappoints me and this book is no exception.
Published 2 months ago by Mary Carlson
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Novel with a tad too much description at times
Good mystery with well-drawn main character in Dalgleish. Some descriptions are too much information for the intent of the novel, but it is enjoyable.
Published 2 months ago by Thomas W. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Her last and maybe her finest.
Published 2 months ago by Olivetree
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid James Mystery
A good book by one of the greats of mystery writing. This is like a set piece, could easily be a riveting play. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical of PD James...
I'm particularly fond of British mysteries and the PD James series are among my favorites, including The Lighthouse. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maggie Musselman
4.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
I didn't read this book until a few days ago. I'm sorry that there won't be any more Adam Dalgliesh mysteries and am sorry that this one wasn't up to par. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A reader
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lighthouse With A Body
So sad to hear of the passing of P.D. James such an elegant and wonderful murder mystery English author. I was in the midst of reading this book when I got the news. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Frank
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More About the Author

P. D. James is the author of twenty previous books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great Britain's Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991 and was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008. She lives in London and Oxford.

Photo credit Ulla Montan


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