Monday, 23 February 2009

Review - P. D. JAMES - "The Lighthouse"

Publ: 2005 Faber and Faber
Pensby Library
ISBN: 0 571 22918 2
Genre: Crime
Pages: 323p
Recommended by a Blogger
Rating: ***** ****

What led you to pick up this book?

It was recommended by a blogger faily recently but I regret I have not made of a note of who. Thanks to whoever it was!

Describe the plot without giving anything away.
P D James's well known poet detective, Adam Dalgliesh, is called to investigate a suspicious death on an island off the coast of Cornwall. The island is used by senior government and business folk to obtain peace and relaxation in seclusion. Taking with him Inspector Kate Miskin and Detective Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith who are in the process of feeling their way into a new working relationship. Predictably the island gets cut off and the three are left to establish the identity of the killer (for the suspicious death was undoubtedly a murder) from among the limited number of suspects (all of whom have reason to dislike the victim) without any aid from the mainland. As usual Dalgliesh solves the mystery with a thunderbolt of realisation as he reviews the clues in his head. An old, old story told in a new and credible fashion with the usual skill of P D James.

What did you think of the characters?
In addition to the underlying thread of Dalgliesh's romantic life and the working relationship of the three detectives there is excellent characterisation of all the staff and visitors to the island.

What did you think about the style?
P D James' usual easy-to-read style with her above average skill with the English language and its ability to evoke an atmosphere.

What did you like most about the book?
The clever way an old chestnut was made credible in the modern age.

Was there anything you didn't like about the book?

Thoughts on the book jacket / cover.
A good enough picture but I do wish the artists who do book covers were adequately briefed / stuck to their brief / read the book. The lighthouse in the book has red on it.

Would I recommend it?
Yes, this is the 13th in the Dalgliesh series and one of the best books by her that I have read.

P D JAMES spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Divisions of the Home Office, and has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 1991, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park. P. D. James lives in London and Oxford.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this - I read it last year and thought it was very good. There are lots of P D James novels that I haven't read, and I do keep meaning to fit some more in - if only there were time!

  2. Oh boy, that was a good review. I like the style you use. When I first began doing what I call, 'book reports,' I thought of doing them the way I did in school when I was little, but honestly couldn't find a form. I remember stuff like title, author, locale, plot, characters - anyhow much like yours and I so enjoy reading them! Thanks so much.

  3. Thanks Nan, the style owes much to Bookfoolery and Babble -

    I borrowed it (and have acknowledged it a couple of times) because I too thought it was a really useful format.


Hello folks - your comments are always welcome.