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The Lighthouse
By P. D. James

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The Lighthouse

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The Lighthouse
An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery
By P.D. James
Random House Large Print, (2005)
ISBN: 0-7393-2558-2
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - February 8, 2006

Commander Adam Dalgliesh is once again on the trail of a deadly criminal in P.D. James' newest book, The Lighthouse. In this gripping tale, Dalgliesh is ordered to the Isle of Combe, off the Cornish coast, to uncover the truth behind the murder of Nathan Oliver. A famed novelist, Oliver had many enemies on the Island, in part because he had such a fine knack for rubbing people wrong. As the island serves as a second home to many famous and powerful personages, Dalgliesh must step lightly as he investigates this puzzling case.

The Lighthouse is typical James, and follows much the same pattern that has been the hallmark of previous Dalgliesh mysteries - which is just what her fans want and expect of her. Dalgliesh is meticulous, intelligent, and arresting character to follow as he matures as both a man and a detective. In solving this crime, Dalgliesh is aided by Detective Inspector Kate Miskin and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, and as the murder took place on an isolated and insular island, the number of suspects is necessarily limited. Nonetheless, James manages to create the illusion of suspense as Dalgliesh shifts through the suspects.

In addition to the basic investigation of Oliver's murder, James also explores the personalities and quirks of the myriad of people on Combe that Dalgliesh comes into contact with. James has also increased the tension in this story by highlighting the conflict between Miskin and Benton-Smith, and by allowing each of these characters to shine in their own right. However, Dalgliesh's long-term love affair with his girlfriend Emma is almost an afterthought in this fine addition to the Dalgliesh mystery series. The Lighthouse is a well-paced and intriguing mystery that will delight James' fans, as well as anyone who likes to read police procedurals or who is simply looking for an absorbing read. The Lighthouse is one of her best books yet!


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