I like James, but this novel was very wordy and oft confusing. I found myself skipping over sentences trying to get on with the plot.
From the British master of crime, another impossible-to-put-down murder mystery.
1975 paperback - yellowed pages
Adam Dalgliesh investigates a series of seemingly unrelated murders
PD James is a master, and this is a good, but not excellent example of her craft. Dagliesh pursues a murder case as a private citizen, with little evidence that there has, in fact, been a murder. Entertaining.
Although a bit slow to get into, it soon became an absorbing read. Commander Adam Dalgliesh investigates the death of an old friend who asks to see him, but dies before Dalgliesh arrives.
#5 Commander Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Dalgliesh is recovering from a bout of mononucleosis (at first thought to be leukemia) when he receives a letter from Father Baddeley, an old friend of his father's who asks to see him on a 'professional' matter. He lives at Hope Cottage near the sea and near a privately run care facility for young disabled people called Toynton Grange, and when Adam arrives, he finds that Fr. Baddeley died ten days previously.
Of course he's suspicious at first about the death--although the priest had only just returned from hospital after having a heart attack--and he sets out to find what it was that he'd been summoned about. While there, he learns of the presumed suicide of a patient a few days previous to the priest's death and meets a whole cast of strange characters--patients, medical professionals, caretakers and other hangers-on. Something just doesn't set right and more deaths ensue before Dalgliesh can figure out how they all tie together, as of course they must do.
I enjoyed the atmospheric setting of this mystery, but it had altogether too many peripheral characters to try to keep straight, and sometimes things happened that just seemed bizarre until I remember that the book was written in the '70's and it's most likely accurate for the place and time. As usual, the plot is the strong suit in James' novels, but her characterizations have definitely improved from the first book in this series.
THE BLACK TOWER, a profoundly bleak novel set in an isolated home for "the young disabled," a euphemistic term for victims of slowly progressing but ultimately fatal muscular disease.
The story begins when Inspector Dalgliesh, himself recovering from both a serious illness and a crisis of confidence, is invited to Toynton Grange by the home's elderly chaplin; something is amiss, and the chaplin would welcome Dalgliesh's advice. But when Dalgliesh arrives, he finds his old friend has died a few days earlier. With little to go on except his own suspicion, Dalgliesh slowly, grudingly begins to investigate... and finds one suspicious death after another.
Always a favorite! Had me fooled til the end! As usual!!
The front cover of this book is different than that shown by PBS. This is another one of P.D. James' unmatchable mysteries. The first victim was a priest without an enemy. The second victim, a monster of a man who spread hate wherever he went. The third corpse was that of a sweet spinster who was the soul of living kindness; the next, a deductive temptress who was the embodiment of sensual lust. Adam Dalgliesh knew that unless he could find the hidden pattern in this seemingly senseless series of slayings, the nightmare of death would go on and on.