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The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh, #13)
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The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh #13)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  7,770 ratings  ·  570 reviews
Mystery
Paperback, 321 pages
Published 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Blurb
Love PD James and obviously she's a great writer, but her books (even though nominally set in the present day) always seem very old-fashioned to me. I feel like you could have almost a PD James drinking game around everything that doesn't seem like it belongs in this century. Like...

Take a sip every time someone:

* Writes a letter
* Eats a home cooked meal (have two sips if it's made by an actual personal cook)
* Employs a maid, laundress, butler or other personal servant
* Talk about something that
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Jon
I was a great fan of P.D. James long ago when she was the latest thing and she seemed far more erudite than her rivals. But gradually I lost interest as her writing became more turgid, pompous, and needlessly detailed. My wife recommended that I try this one, but James put me off from the first sentence. Could this be self-parody? "Commander Adam Dalgliesh was not unused to being urgently summoned to non-scheduled meetings with unspecified people at inconvenient times, but usually with one purpo ...more
Jim
The Lighthouse, by PD James isn't a book that those who want realism in their crime stories will like.

It's set on an island off the British coast that the "well to do" use as a retreat from their stressful (but "terribly correct") lives. When a prize winning author is found hanging in the lighthouse on the island, the police, in the shape of Adam Dalgliesh and his merry band of men, are called in to solve the case.

I've read worse books. I've read worse crime books in fact, but this one didn't gr
...more
***Carol***
3 & a half stars.

I Googled PD James when I was nearly finished this novel & found she was 84 when it was published. 84! I promise that this isn't going to be the start of rugby analogies in my reviews (I hate rugby) but this is like Colin Meads getting on the field for the current All Blacks & playing a creditable game. No longer at his legendary best, but not being laughed off the field.

But I feel that age & past glories can't be allowed for in reviews & this was one slow m
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John

On a remote island off the coast of Southwest England, used as a getaway by the influential, the famous novelist Nathan Oliver is found one morning murdered -- hanged from the topmost railing of the island's fastidiously restored lighthouse. Since there were fewer than a dozen people on the island at the time, and since it's unlikely anyone could have come ashore secretly, the task of solving the murder would seem a simple one for Alan Dalglish and his crew. Yet lots of old coals have to be rake
...more
S.C. Skillman
P.D. James's scrupulous examination of this closed community of characters rivetted me. The phrase "late-night page-turner" has never been more accurately used. This is a novelist who compels you to overcome tiredness, as you read through to the end. In the character of Nathan Oliver she challenges us with the chilling juxtaposition of a brilliant novelist and an unpleasant, universally-disliked personality. James is masterful in her use of the murder mystery device upon which to hang her examin ...more
Hannah
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Very engaging police procedural by P.D. James. The thing I most enjoyed about this one was the setting (an island off the Cornish coast) and the fact that it was a "locked-room" murder mystery. James has a very easy to read writing style that keeps the pages turning. I also like the fact that even though her books are part of a series, they can still be read as stand-alones by readers (like myself) who pick up a book out of series order.

Good series, good mysteries,
...more
Bhavnashivalkargmail.com
After spending all of last year reading non fictional accounts on Indian history I decided to start this year by reading fiction and my choice was “The Lighthouse” by the Grand Dame of English fiction ‘P. D. James”. Besides Sue Grafton, Marian Keyes and Val McDermid, P D James tops my list of the best women fictional writers of her time. As usual her books are set in the English countryside, and her mastery over the English language is precise and spot on. The plot is set on a very remote 'Combe ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones
4.5*
A secure and secluded island retreat for the rich and powerful becomes the setting for the murder of an author who is a regular visitor to the island.
Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to handle the sensitive case, but soon falls victim to an infective illness that has also felled one of the island's other visitors, so is forced to hand the case over to his principle detective Kate Miskin and the ambitious Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith.
Can they identify the killer before there is anothe
...more
Leslie
Perhaps it is even 3 stars.

While I did enjoy this mystery, I felt that there was something about the structure of the novel that bothered me -- it was mostly a police procedural, albeit in an unusual set of circumstances, with the exception of the fairly long second section. Not only did this section differ in style, but for some reason, it also went back in time to before the first section. Why?? Couldn't this information have been conveyed to the reader while maintaining the style of the rest
...more
Yngvild
I bought The Lighthouse twice: once when it first came out five years ago and again the other day. From the blurb on the dust jacket and a quick flick though the book, I did not recognize the story and thought it must be a new P D James novel. That tells you that the story is not particularly memorable and that professional reviewers do not always read the books they review.

In many ways, The Lighthouse is a reworking of James’ The Skull beneath the Skin: an annoying artist or writer delights in
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Pris robichaud

The Emotional Awakening of Commander Dangliesh, 1 Dec 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
...more
daniel
Essendo il primo Romanzo di P.D.James da me letto sono rimasto piacevolmente sorpreso da questa autrice che riesce ad affiancare un appassionante ritmo thriller con un'ottima introspezione dei personaggi.
Unica pecca il fatto che, facendo questo libro parte della serie di gialli dell'ispettore Dalgliesh, una gran parte dei dettagli dei personaggi principali sembrava non finalizzata al libro ma alla serie di libri. E' così che la rappresentazione di alcune figure marginali mi è sembrata totalmente
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Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Adam Dalgliesh, Kate Mishkin and her new partner fly in to a remote island frequented by the rich and famous to investigate a murder. A wealthy and renown author has been found hanging in the Lighthouse. There is no love loss among the island's residents and guests; the writer was a despicable man and no one but no one is mourning his loss. Dalgliesh and his team have a wealth of suspects as well as great digs. His boss wants the case contained - no press. But something else is present on this b ...more
Rebecca
I found this latest installment in the Dalgliesh series rather cold and disjointed. James' usual skill at plotting is in evidence, but perhaps because I haven't read the two or three before this one, I found myself uninterested in the personal lives of most of the characters. The prose is always poetic in a particularly English reserved kind of way, but usually I find the people endearing, especially Adam and Kate. For some reason, in this book, I could not bring myself to care much what happene ...more
Lisa
The Lighthouse is a novel written by P.D. James, firstly published in 2005. It is the thirteenth part of a series of Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. Set on Combe Island, a private holiday location for the rich and famous, it tells the story of the murder on Nathan Oliver, a successful writer. One day he is found hanging from the top of the island’s lighthouse. Immediately an investigation team, led by Adam Dalgliesh, arrives on the island. Will they find out what happened that day?

This novel was defin
...more
Beverley Carter
I liked this story. I've only given it three stars because there were some elements that I thought didn't quite work well enough for a higher rating. There are rather a lot of characters, most of whom are introduced to us quite rapidly at the beginning of the story and I found myself struggling to remember who was who. I very much liked the setting, although I thought the names of the cottages were a little contrived and, as with the characters, there were rather of lot of them and I struggled t ...more
Elisa
There were so many factors that added to my dislike of this book: I couldn't stand any of the characters, and the only passable one got very little lime light; the romantic scenes were so tacked on; I found the writing excessively descriptive and contrived to the point that I started ignoring the narrator wishing they'd shut up; the plot was not well paced and all of the vital action took place in the first and last 100 pages (making 200+ superfluous); and the qualifying of all female profession ...more
Jessica
I haven't read much P.D. James so I don't know if this is one of her best. She does seem to be in top form. James follows her detectives as well as the islanders: victims and murderer both (and keeps us uncertain as to his identity). The result is a compellingly rich tapestry. It seems James's characters enjoy healthy sex lives, especially women, and espcially detectives. Good to know! And don't pay attention to the the back of the book; according to it, Kate Miskin, Adam Dalgliesh's principle d ...more
Don Rea
A brilliant novelist is found hanged from a lighthouse on an exclusive resort island off the Cornish coast. Is it suicide or murder? Well, this is an Adam Dalgliesh book, so that's not such a mystery. And actually I guessed the murderer's identity pretty early, unusual for me reading James. But still and all this is good example of her work.

It has all her typical accoutrements: Several suspects with strong and sympathetic motives, well established before any violence occurs; AD and his team reso
...more
Alex Howard
It's a testament to P.D. James that she can give a brilliant realism to what on the surface would normally be classed as a very unlikely situation. Before you started reading, if you analysed the setup you'd be tempted to dismiss it as unbelieveable. However, in doing so, you'd be missing a treat. As you get into the novel, you are increasingly drawn into her world so that by the end, you end up thinking that in this and no other way could the book have been written.

In all honesty, you could le
...more
jill
Aug 11, 2008 jill rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jill by: Mom
Shelves: mystery
I like that P.D. James uses a team of detectives and gives us all their perspectives in turn, along with the perspectives of most of the suspects. She doesn't create a new voice for each, it's the same narrator in a different head, but it still helps to vary the narration a bit. To be honest, I think 300 pages of Adam Dagliesh, poet-policeman, would do me in.
The SARS thing was weird, but otherwise I thought the plot and characters were interesting.
Also, "But that was in a different country, and
...more
KarenC
Great description of place - could hear the surf & easily imagine the rock-strewn coast. Central characters well done, three-dimensional, dynamic, easily related to. Another well-drawn story overall. Enjoyed my second reading as much as the first. The jacket blurb didn't help me remember the story, so took it with me on a trip. Remembered the criminal but not the reason, so kept my interest - appreciated the excellent descriptions of location & characters. Crime seemed to be solved by an ...more
Margie
Jul 24, 2007 Margie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who have read other Adam Dalgleish mysteries
Shelves: mystery, series, brit
Not my favorite P.D. James mystery, but I like her work in general, and enjoy the ongoing development of the Adam Dalgleish character. Many of her novels are set in East Anglia, a big plus as far as I'm concerned.

When I first started reading P.D. James, I noticed immediately that she uses very little visual description, unless it's required. She spends almost no time telling us whether someone is tall or blonde unless is bears upon the story. It's an interesting trait which I found only notewort
...more
Rhonda
this is probably my favorite from this author that i've read so far. i liked the setting - the lighthouse drew me in immediately (love them!) and i wish it had played more of a role than it did - or that more of the action had taken place there. i liked the idea of the isolated island and the peaceful surroundings and would like to visit such a place (minus the murder and mayhem, of course). i'd want to stay in the lighthouse, though. i like dagleish and his team and the careful and meticulous w ...more
Nancy Allen
I am a fan of PD James, and of the character Adam Dalgliesh, whom I feel I know after reading a dozen of the novels featuring him and his team of investigators. In this novel, we get to know Adam even better, and we see and feel more of the nature of both Kate and her partner Benton. With a critical eye, I would say this its a more enjoyably story than some, despite a weaker mystery; I knew who did it since there were some spoiler clues along the way. But an intense relationship has been brewing ...more
Kerry
This book was a fairly easy read. Fun, but little difficult to get into at first because I have not read any of the Adam Dagliedesh stories before and this one is about #13 (?) in a series. I picked up this murder mystery book (a different genre for me) because PD James also wrote Children of Men and I was fascinated that this gray haired English woman could have written such a story. Well, she apparently churns out these thriller novels on a regular basis. It’s well written with a few good twis ...more
K
Ho-hum. The mystery and characters felt too familiar, and not sufficiently engrossing. Felt more curiosity over personal lives of investigators. Rolled eyes at a couple overwritten parts intended to indicate how complex a man is Adam Dalgliesh. Ex: at one point, Dalgliesh observes that the housekeeper has placed a small collection of classical CDs in the cottage he's staying at during the investigation, and either he or the narrator observes, "Apparently his taste for jazz was not to be indulged ...more
Bill Rogers
Coombe Island is a retreat for the rich and famous. Here, with security more than good enough to provide a variation on the English Manor House Isolated in the Storm where murder mysteries always seem to happen, the powerful can wander and relax for a few days free of reporters or security details.

And then there's Nathan Oliver. As the last living person born on Coombe Island back when it had a permanent population, the Foundation's charter allows him to visit whenever he wants. Now he wants to
...more
Keri
I think I read one of the earlier Dalgliesh mysteries years ago, and since it was before my Anglophilia really set in I didn't have the capacity to appreciate good British writing so it wasn't memorable. This is #13 in what is one of the most popular English mystery detective series', so I don't have much knowledge of the characters that have surely developed over time. I might go back and remedy that.

In this installment, Dalgliesh is called to a remote Cornish island mostly unknown and inacces
...more
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English Mysteries...: November 2014 - The Lighthouse 50 118 Dec 02, 2014 06:39PM  
  • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)
  • Arms And The Women (Dalziel & Pascoe, #18)
  • The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse, #3)
  • Harm Done (Inspector Wexford, #18)
  • Blood At The Root (Inspector Banks, #9)
  • Blood from a Stone (Commissario Brunetti, #14)
  • A Finer End (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #7)
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P. D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James was the author of twenty 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 Department of Great Britain's Home Office. She served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BB
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More about P.D. James...

Other Books in the Series

Adam Dalgliesh (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1)
  • A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh, #2)
  • Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3)
  • Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4)
  • The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)
  • Death of an Expert Witness (Adam Dalgliesh, #6)
  • A Taste for Death (Adam Dalgliesh, #7)
  • Devices and Desires (Adam Dalgliesh, #8)
  • Original Sin (Adam Dalgliesh, #9)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
Death Comes to Pemberley The Children of Men Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh, #1) Shroud for a Nightingale (Adam Dalgliesh, #4) The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)

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“Not so much two ships passing in the night as two ships sailing together for a time but always bound for different ports.” 148 likes
“Every island to a child is a treasure island.” 17 likes
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