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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent modern gothic
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...
Published on 30 Oct. 2000

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle vs book
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...
Published on 24 Sept. 2011 by Clifford


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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent modern gothic, 30 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle vs book, 24 Sept. 2011
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Least enjoyable of the Dalgleish novels, 1 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Black Tower (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery) (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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4.0 out of 5 stars While this is not her best book in terms of plausibility, 11 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Black Tower (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery) (Paperback)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars A decent, if a little dated, read., 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Black Tower (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery) (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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4.0 out of 5 stars The Black Tower, 9 April 2014
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reading, 25 Mar. 2013
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Malcolm Gillett (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
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P.D. James is such a wonderful author. She has a gift for getting the reader engrossed in her highly intelligent and ingenious plots right from the word go. Her narratives are simply stunning.

This particular book is one of my favourites. The characters and setting are second-to-none. Difficult to get up to make tea when so deeply absorbed by it.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read, and re-read and will again read!, 7 Dec. 2003
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K. J. Kloian - See all my reviews
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what a fantastic book. One of my absolute favourite adam dalgliesh mysteries. The classic 'whodunnit', the surprise ending will satisfy, and getting there is exciting too!
you will not be disappointed!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite, 22 April 2013
Began in expectation of the Black Tower being of the same quality as the previous ones (I am reading all in chronological order) - but not this time. Confusing characters, plodding pace until the last 4% when murderer revealed and conclusion reached. Annoying typos throughout.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This is not as good as most of P D James Dalgliesh books, 9 April 2015
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This is not as good as most of P D James Dalgliesh books, largely because of a very lengthy second chapter which takes some wading through. As yet, the characters do not appear too interesting.
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The Black Tower (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery)
The Black Tower (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Mystery) by P. D. James (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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