Customer Reviews for

The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh Series #13)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

Much better than 'Death in Holy Orders,' which was so disappointing that I did not bother with 'The Murder Room,' 'The Lighthouse' is a fine atmospheric tale from Baroness James, whose obsessive love affair with her character (similar, as I have stated in the past, to E...
Much better than 'Death in Holy Orders,' which was so disappointing that I did not bother with 'The Murder Room,' 'The Lighthouse' is a fine atmospheric tale from Baroness James, whose obsessive love affair with her character (similar, as I have stated in the past, to Elizabeth Sayers' for Lord Peter Wimsley) is far more muted this time around. I was actually surprised at how similar this novel seemed to Colin Dexter's final two Inspector Morse novels, dealing with Morse's health travails. [In fact, this plot thread made the revelation of the murderer seem facile and rushed.] Nevertheless, there are enough red herrings here to satisfy, and, again, a very satisfying effort. While the heady days of 'Devices and Desires' and 'Original Sin' might be behind us, I might just fancy another go at an Adam Dalgliesh mystery if James can maintain this newfound quality she reached in 'The Lighthouse.'

posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I needed a dictionary

Maybe I'm a dummy but I couldn't read this book. Too many long words to connect. Couldn't get into a flow. I gave up.

posted by Anonymous on June 23, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    Much better than 'Death in Holy Orders,' which was so disappointing that I did not bother with 'The Murder Room,' 'The Lighthouse' is a fine atmospheric tale from Baroness James, whose obsessive love affair with her character (similar, as I have stated in the past, to Elizabeth Sayers' for Lord Peter Wimsley) is far more muted this time around. I was actually surprised at how similar this novel seemed to Colin Dexter's final two Inspector Morse novels, dealing with Morse's health travails. [In fact, this plot thread made the revelation of the murderer seem facile and rushed.] Nevertheless, there are enough red herrings here to satisfy, and, again, a very satisfying effort. While the heady days of 'Devices and Desires' and 'Original Sin' might be behind us, I might just fancy another go at an Adam Dalgliesh mystery if James can maintain this newfound quality she reached in 'The Lighthouse.'

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2009

    The Thinking Man's Mystery

    This book was immediately decadent and richly engrossing. My first P.D. James, but most definitely not my last. She masterfully weaves a web of suspense so intricate that you hardly realize you are clenching your jaw. I don't know what kept the pages turning more; the multi-faceted characters, so intimately and realistically crafted that you find yourself deeply invested in the resolution of their thoughts and feelings; or the well paced plot that keeps you suspecting everyone of the capability of a horrific crime. A poetic and beautifully told story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2006

    A Locked Room Variation

    Here¿s an interesting variation on the ¿locked room¿ plot. Rather than an actual room, James employs an isolated island with a limited number of suspects and a variety of motives. Combe Island is a secure location for the powerful to seek respite. When a famed writer is found hanged in the island¿s lighthouse, authorities aren¿t certain whether it was suicide or murder. Hoping to avoid unwanted publicity, government sidesteps the local constabulary and sends in Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team to discretely sort out the situation. Ever responsive to duty, Dalgliesh accepts the assignment even though it means another disruption in his ongoing courtship of Emma Lavenham. Coping with her own emotional problems, Detective Inspector Kate Miskin is handed another as she must now supervise the ambitious and ambivalent Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith. The team has barely begun sorting out the clues which determine the first was murder when they are confronted with a second brutal slaying. James complicates the situation further by throwing in a contagious disease that puts Dalgliesh in jeopardy and throws more responsibility on Kate. Despite his health problems, it is still AD who comes up with the solution. As is usual in her novels, action is slowed down to allow ample opportunity for us to get to know the characters and the location. For some all the description and back story may be a distraction. For those of us who grew up on Dickens, Stevenson, Poe, Dostoevsky, Conrad and other greats of the past it¿s a welcome change from the thin cinematic writing that is so prevalent in this television age.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2006

    Fine Mystery by a Great Storyteller

    P.D. James unfolds her story of a double murder in one of her favorite settings: a remote cliffside community on a rocky coast. The evocative atmosphere adds to the reader's enjoyment of the tale, along with sympathetic characters and carefully-hidden clues. Mystery fans looking for a quick, fun read in the style of M.C. Beaton or Sue Grafton will not find it here. The author develops her story gradually with attention to setting, characters, and a complex plot. A great lady has written another great mystery.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Great read !!

    Wonderful charaters keep you wondering who did it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    Highly recommended--good read!

    The author did not keep tidbits from you to make it impossible to solve the mystery. I would love to see more of Ms. James' work available in ebooks, great author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Lured me in

    Enjoy all of her Adam Dalgliesh books-all the characters are well defined & you see in depth glimpses into their lives. Book is informative on many levels but the plot is what I enjoy the most.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    GRIPPING

    This was my second PD James novel. I had already read Devices and Desires. I liked that so much I dove into The Lighthouse. The murder on a secluded island means that there are a limited number of suspects. The character development is amongst the best I have ever read. Once you get past the English phrases, it is fascinating to learn more about each character and why almost all of them are capable of the murder. I listened to it on an audiobook (unabridged) and it was worth the 14 discs. I am going to have my book club read this. I couldn't stop until I was finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    Wrong genre?

    The writing is fine but the story is misclassified as a mystery. It would be more appropriate under Interior Design, Architecture of Island cottages or even Culinary Arts. It was a tough read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Wow, what a boring novel! What more can I write?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2006

    I needed a dictionary

    Maybe I'm a dummy but I couldn't read this book. Too many long words to connect. Couldn't get into a flow. I gave up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2006

    Could have been better

    I struggled to get through this book. I got the impression she was writing this for the movie studios rather then her audience of readers. While the first chapter got right into a 'murder' the next 50 pages were meeting the principal characters, a definite change in her usual style of allowing us to meet them as they enter the story. While I still love PD James, I wish her latest Dalgliesh msytery had been better. I see she has another one out but the reviews are bad. But loving her the way I do, I'll still buy the book. I'm just not looking forward to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    Another masterpiece from P.D. James

    P.D.James really raises the mystery genre to the level of serious literature. So very detailed and crafted. I love her style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    Exciting whodunit

    THE LIGHTHOUSE is a great book. I'm rather choosy about mysteries. Anything experimental or slangy --- especially authors who strive too visibly to write 'more' than a mystery --- turns me off James is a favorite because she is a master at taking the classic formulas to a higher level and burnishing them until they glow. Not only is 'The Lighthouse' an exciting whodunit, it also is a deeply psychological novel in which the reader gains insight into the personalities of Dalgleish, Kate, and Benton. The central theme of the novel is the intersection of the past and the present, and the impossibility of anyone ever being completely free of his history. This rich and beautifully developed story shows that P. D. James, at eight-five, could give a few lessons to her younger counterparts in the field of mystery writing. Normally one for something a tad more ¿literary¿, say, like McCrae¿s KATZENJAMMER, I found THE LIGHTHOUSE to be a hoot! Entertaining beyond all belief!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2005

    very disappointed

    awful! bought the book and returned it. it is way too wordy and very hard to get into.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining Dalgliesh police procedural

    The other affluent residents on Combe Island off the Cornish coast are outraged by the behavior and disregard of their feelings and property by renowned novelist Nathan Oliver. The staff detests him even more. Most just want him to leave, but someone does not wait as Oliver is murdered and hung off the famous lighthouse. --- Scotland Yard assigns Metropolitan Murder Squad Commander Adam Dalgliesh to lead the homicide investigation that requires extraordinary prudence as the stressed out elite who reside there will not tolerate even a gentle police interrogation nor does the owning family want a media frenzy. Assisting him are DI Kate Miskin and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith. The three cops quickly learn that no one, not even the victim¿s daughter Miranda or his editor Dennis Tremlett grieve their loss. Some prefer to believe he hated himself as much as other loathed him so they insist he committed suicide. An accident is possible, but looks doubtful to the investigators as they lean towards murder. --- THE LIGHTHOUSE is an entertaining Dalgliesh police procedural that hooks the audience from the moment the super Commander and his crack team reach Combe Island. They are received by locals that do not wish to cooperate because all agree whether it was murder, suicide, or an accident, the outcome was correct. The romance plays a supporting role to the investigation that showcases the great P.D. James at her best. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2005

    Mystery┬┐ and Exceptional Literature┬┐ by 85 years young author--P.D. James

    'The Lighthouse' is a must read for mystery fans and followers of P.D. James, whose many stories have been filmed for television. This is James's nineteenth book in the series of Commander Adam Dalgliesh, and his police investigative staff, including Detective Inspector Kate Miskin, and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith. The center stage for a murder is a lighthouse on Combe Island (a fictitious place) off the Cornish coast of England. Owned of late by the Holcombe dynasty, who have established a charitable trust to maintain Combe Island, to be lent out for the purpose of 'a place of rest and seclusion for men in positions of responsibility'. Under consideration by the PM as a prime location for a top-secret international meeting, the killing on the premises halts that meeting. Authorities immediately call on Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team to investigate. The victim is a well-known, publicized author Nathan Oliver. Supposedly he was disliked by everyone on the island, allowing for probable, justifiable reasons to kill him. Dalgliesh and his team barely have begun piecing together the author's murder, when another killing occurs. With varied suspects to lead the page-turning onward, James surprises the reader with the identity of the killer, and reeling in a satisfactory ending. This is my first read of P.D. James's work. It was totally tantalizing and tasty to whet the appetite for more. 'The Lighthouse' will not be my last read of this exceptional author. James's descriptions of the countryside and surroundings in England is superb, the intelligence in writing is obvious in the lucrative plotting, strong characters, and settings only achieved by a skilled writer, and that is signature P.D. James. P.D. James was in the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great Britain's Home Office, and a magistrate and governor of the BBC. In 2000 at the time of celebration of her 80th birthday, James published her autobiography -- 'Time to Be in Earnest'. Bestowed with many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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