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P. D. James is the author of twenty books, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She was the recipient of many honors, including the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, and in 1991 was created Baroness James of Holland Park. She died in 2014.
If-as some reviewers have speculated-The Lighthouse marks the end of James's 13-book mystery series about policeman/poet Adam Dalgliesh, at least in this artful and gripping audio version the commander is going out in style. Gifted veteran actor Keating rises above some familiar plot elements and obvious padding to create a convincing atmosphere set on an isolated private island where burnt-out leaders in the fields of business, politics and art go to rest and recuperate. Keating delineates James's many characters sharply and smoothly-from the top men in the police and foreign office who initiate the investigation through the three very different detectives who show up to probe the mysterious death of a noted and much-disliked novelist and find themselves in the middle of another murder. Dalgliesh is even calmer than usual, much of his mind still back in London with his new love interest. Insp. Kate Miskin is also preoccupied by the attentions of a former colleague, and Sgt. Francis Benton-Smith-his eye on the prize of promotion-sees Miskin as a hurdle in the road to success. Dedicated James fans should find this pleasant listening. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 17). (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A small group is staying at a manor house on a small Cornish island. One member is found dead, obviously murdered. The cast of characters includes a clergyman who has lost his faith, a doctor who has lost his professional self-confidence, diplomats, the murdered man's daughter, and her fianc?. Scotland Yard commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate. The dead man was brilliant, manipulative, and abusive, and the island's inhabitants are quirky. Inspector Kate Miskin takes over the investigation when Adam falls ill, but high fever or not, it is Adam who identifies the murderer. Like all of James's works, the book is well written and enjoyable, but there are many oddities, and too much time is devoted to flashbacks. Despite the extensive back stories, the characters seem flat, like figures being moved around a game board. The crime is solved by what appears to be divine inspiration, not the collection of evidence. Charles Keating gives a satisfactory reading, and despite its many flaws, The Lighthouse is a pleasant listening experience. Although far from James's best, this title should be in high demand. Recommended for all collections.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"One of the most compelling books of her remarkable career. . . . A magisterial and subtle exploration of all-too-human emotions."-The Seattle Times"Appealing. . . . Something to gladden hearts-at least among aficionados of the formally perfect murder scheme. . . . Even its murder victim is delectable. . . . The reader . . . secretly thrills to the discovery of each new corpse."-The New York Times"Thrilling. . . . Tantalizing. . . . Intense. . . . The solution to the crime is satisfyingly elegant."-The Boston Herald"James is at the height of her writing powers in describing this craggy bit of rock off England's coast so thoroughly that you can feel the wind against your face and the scrubland brush against your boots. Like Dalgleish and Miskin, you will wish you could return." -The Baltimore Sun"With her trademark blend of subtle characterization, vivid sense of place and deceptively simple plot, James pulls off another triumph. A beautifully written page-turner from the queen of the genre." -Toronto Sun "An elegant and perceptive writer - rich drifts of prose pile up on the page, descriptive passages are Dickensian in length, ornament and power. . . James's many fans will relish The Lighthouse, for all its poise and narrative familiarity." -The Globe and Mail"James's gifts animate and transform the armature into something exceptional. Her disciplined conventions, her observation of social and class niceties, renew the traditional Franco-British drama of domestic crime. She is a very superior writer of detection." -Times Literary Supplement"James has proven that she deserves her reputation as our leading 'literary' crime writer. The Lighthouse confirms that she is also the most enjoyable." -Daily Express