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The Lighthouse Paperback – 7 Sep 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (7 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141025107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141025100
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,124,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

While PD James’ The Lighthouse moves satisfyingly in territory that the author has made very much her own -- the classic English crime mystery -- there are several new elements added, proving that Baroness James is not content to rest on her laurels. While Commander Adam Dalgliesh is once again at work, solving a case of murder in a secluded setting, cut off from the rest of the world (James has long been pleased to introduce variations into the beloved crime situations that exercised her predecessors), and while the structure of the novel presents the reader with the usual strongly drawn cast of suspects and victims, there is a new frankness here, with the treatment of sexuality more upfront than would ever have been countenanced in the era of Dorothy Sayers and co. But long-time readers of this most accomplished of British novelists will also be pleased to learn that the things we turn to James for are all satisfyingly in place.

A secluded island off the Cornish coast, renowned for its history of bloody piracy, has become a retreat for under-pressure men and women in the upper echelons of society. But when one of their number is murdered in a grotesque fashion (his body found on the eponymous lighthouse), Adam Dalgliesh is requested to solve the case, but with maximum discretion. However, it is not a good time for Dalgliesh and his team: he himself is going through a fraught period with the woman in his life, Emma Lavenham, while DI Kate Miskin is struggling with similar upheavals in her life. And their Anglo-Indian associate, Francis Benton-Smith, has his own problems in regard to working with Kate. Nevertheless, the team make progress on the island, until a second savage murder threatens to bring chaos.

It's easy to underestimate James’ achievement with Dalgliesh and co. So often, long-time series characters betray signs of their authors’ growing disinterest, but James has always managed to find new nuances to ensure that we never tire of her cultivated copper. And there's pleasure here in seeing familiar themes orchestrated with such finesse: the difficult, combative figure who alienates a host of people (and thereby set themselves up as a candidate for murder) and, best of all, the cloistered setting -- often a cliché of the genre -- but here, treated with freshness and imagination. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

[The Lighthouse] must stand as one of the last in the line of classic English detective fiction. (Mark Lawson Guardian 2005-10-15) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first P.D. James novel that I have read, and as an occasional visitor to Lundy Island (on which Combe is clearly based) I was very much looking forward to it. However, the story never really held my interest and finishing it was quite hard work.

The first thing that started to grate on me was the tedious level of description of the various accommodations on Combe Island. Every time one of the police officers went into a room we were treated to a lengthy description of the view from the windows, where the tables and chairs were, where the drinks cabinet was, the type of pictures on the walls, the light fittings, and so on. It was just boring. We even got to hear about Adam Dalgleish's reaction to discovering the contents of his fridge, whereas of course most blokes would have been happy to discover a Cornish pasty and a bottle of beer (OK, I jest a little but you get the point).

The dialogue can best be described as functional, but there were some passages where I just thought to myself "people don't talk like that". The author also didn't succeed in making me relate to any of the characters, and there was no real sense of a "character arc" for any of the main figures, except perhaps Benton.

Finally, the revelation of whodunnit was rather unsatisfactory. There was never any sense that the police were getting closer to a solution; the answer just suddenly pops into someone's head and from thereon in it is just a matter of trying to chase down the killer.

I know P.D. James has a big reputation and maybe I'll give another one of her books a go, but this one just didn't work for me on any level.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am using this book to help me translate the French version. It is a close version of the one in French, but the translator not copied it directly. What it does show is the wonderful writing style of PD James
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I listened to this book on a CD while on a long drive through Spain. It entertained me. The narrator told the tale well. It's just a little on the plodding side. When we finally find out 'whodunit' I felt underwhelmed. It's almost as if Miss James didn't decide on who to have as the murderer until the end. I know that's an accusation that can be applied to many novels in this genre. There were enough suspects to provide red herrings. Not bad. Could be better.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Popular with us, a long car journey, listening to P D James and Adam Dalgleish, solving crimes, Detection and full of time, place and character.Unabridged and excellent value for money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unreadable
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A bit slow to start with but overall a very good audio book - the story line to start with was a bit boring but once into the book it really was quite exciting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't read P D James for a while but was disappointed. Frequent over- description detracted from the plot for me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was excessively wordy with a fog of description of everything encountered of which there was little. There seems to be no believable plot line. A gripper it was not.
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