THE LIGHTHOUSE by P.D. James

THE LIGHTHOUSE

KIRKUS REVIEW

The doyenne of British mystery celebrates her 85th birthday by packing off Adam Dalgliesh and two members of his Metropolitan Murder Squad to investigate the violent death of a famous novelist on a remote island off the Cornish coast.

For 75 years, Combe Island has been administered by a charitable trust as a restorative refuge for distinguished citizens. Now its lighthouse seems destined for notoriety as the place where novelist Nathan Oliver was launched into eternity at the end of a rope. In the hope of keeping a lid on the unsavory publicity, Dalgliesh, DI Kate Miskin and Sgt. Francis Benton-Smith are dispatched from the City. They find the island’s staff and its handful of other visitors, including Oliver’s daughter Miranda and his copyeditor Dennis Tremlett, shocked but hardly grief-stricken. Well-hated Oliver’s murder (or was it a suicide or a bizarre accident someone wanted to look like murder?) inevitably opens the doors to secrets long locked away. James doesn’t stint on the old-fashioned complications of mechanics and motives. But her most telling details are the quietest—a police record, a lost vial of blood, a tag from Christopher Marlowe, a telltale cough—each of which will take its place in the resolution.

Although the story is briefer than James’s recent double-deckers (The Murder Room, 2003, etc.), readers will still revel in her matchless fullness of characterization. A stay on Combe Island really is tonic.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-307-26291-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2005




MORE BY P.D. JAMES

FictionDEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by P.D. James
by P.D. James
FictionTHE PRIVATE PATIENT by P.D. James
by P.D. James
FictionTHE MURDER ROOM by P.D. James
by P.D. James

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionTHE VAULT by Ruth Rendell
by Ruth Rendell
MysteryTHE BONES BENEATH by Mark Billingham
by Mark Billingham