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Black Tower Hardcover – Apr 1975

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (April 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571107311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571107315
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Product Description

Review

"People" P. D. James is "the greatest living mystery writer." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Set on the Dorset coast, The Black Tower by P.D. James is the fifth Adam Dalgliesh mystery and a thrilling work of crime fiction from the bestselling author of Death in Holy Orders, Children of Men and Death Comes to Pemberley. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
Set on a lonely stretch of the Dorset coast in the mid-Seventies, The Black Tower is an unusual crime thriller. Although it functions perfectly well as a conventional whodunit, it's also a modern gothic, and, like its predecessors in that genre, it's a meditation on mortality and human frailty. Much of the book's power derives from James's scrupulous exploration of the character and states of mind of her hero. The poet-policeman, Commander Adam Dalgleish, is a subtle and compelling creation, and his substantiality helps to ground a plot that might otherwise seem to teeter on the brink of melodrama.
The tone is set with the 'resurrection' of Dalgleish, who as the book begins is recovering from a serious illness, which initially had been misdiagnosed as mortal. This brush with death has had a profound psychological impact on Dalgleish, and his decision to make his convalescence coincide with a duty visit to an old acquaintance seems from the first an attempt to postpone a confrontation with his own unanswered questions.
Disenchanted with policing Dalgleish may be, but when he is confronted with the merest suspicion of foul play, his instincts reassert themselves in spite of his inclinations. The atmosphere of illness, frustrated hopes, and impending disaster gathers force with every page as Dalgleish, against his will, is drawn deeper into the poisoned community of Toynton Grange.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Clifford on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The novel is certainly well written and is an intelligent thriller. As one would expect from PD James, the characters are intereting and well rounded. I particularly liked the ending where she plays a little game with the reader, casting just a scintilla of doubt about whether Dalgleish really did experience it all. But what I did not like was the continuous stream of typographical errors, many of them originating from what I assume was the scanning of the text into the kindle format. For example, cliff might become diff and so on. It is this sort of irritating error that makes one prefer the real, paper artefact.
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Format: Paperback
Least enjoyable of the Dalgleish novels. It is written with Dalgleish being in a potentially career/life changing time and with him not leading his team following procedure. PDJ is even handed in her novels in that all the supporting cast are always flawed and unpleasant in their own ways. This is always combined with a strong link between the physical descriptions and assigned characters (e.g. tall slim characters are intelligent and aloof independent types, then there are the sturdy reliable sidekicks, and so on). Where it makes uncomfortable reading is when all the chronically sick are mean and selfish or pathetically needy and self obsessed. I wish that PDJ had on this occasion included a altruistic decent character, whether or not they were one of the chronically ill, to lighten the feel of the book.

I wish I had been reading one of the better Dalgleish novels when PDJ's death was announced, the series novels are usually formulaic enjoyable period detective stories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The plot is absorbing and the setting very unusual and atmospheric. The Dalgleish in this book is not the usual one either, but a weakened character recovering from a serious illness and considering leaving the police force. The theme of frailty is mirrored in the main characters and where most of them live - in a home for the disabled not far from a ruined tower.
The frustration felt by Dalgleish at not being his usual, masterful and confident self and his general disillusionment comes across well, but some of the main characters were rather eccentric, straining credulity a bit. Also, the method used for the murders and the motive for them (no spoilers here) seemed a bit dated as the book was written in the seventies.
While this is not her best book in terms of plausibility, it deserves four stars for being well written and just as much of a "page-turner" as her other books.
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Format: Paperback
This book, the 5th in the Adam Dalgliesh series, wasn't a bad read. It's set in a private nursing home where terminally ill patients and their Church of England priest die semi-unexpectedly within a few weeks of each other. Dalgliesh happened to be there because he was a friend of the priests, and happened to be invited to come and stay just before the priest died.

I've said this about a number of early James books, and it bears repeating here. The book themselves aren't bad, but they do feel dated. They're set in England at a certain time in history (the late 1960s, and early 1970s), and speak to a certain style that we're probably not that interested in any more. If you can put up with that, you'll enjoy these books. If you can't I wouldn't bother reading them.
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By Allan DB on 9 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
PDJ returns to Adam Dalgliesh after the first Cordelia Gray book and it is rather different from the earlier books. It is set in a private nursing home and Dalgliesh is there in a private capacity as a guest. The story unfolds slowly and there is a great deal of time spent on the individual characters, most of whom are rather unsympathetic. The ending is rather unsatisfactory as Dalgliesh has a flash of inspiration, which has little to do with what has gone on before. Not a typical Dalgliesh but worth reading despite the sleight of hand.
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