Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: The Black Tower

P. D. James's mysteries are book yoga for me. They follow an anticipated sequence, starting with a gentle warm up to the story, moving on to stretch the plot, progressing through a series of moves and poses, with variations and repetitions to accommodate all the characters and clues, culminating in increasingly difficult moves, and winding down to a contemplative final end. Namaste.

The Black Tower follows the same pattern and is just as satisfying as the first four Adam Dalgliesh novels. Like the others, it involves mysterious deaths in a closed society, this time a private seaside hospital for disabled adults. Dalgliesh, recovering from a serious illness, incorporates a visit to an old family friend into his convalescence, only to arrive at Hope Cottage to learn that his friend had died. He stays around, reluctantly drawn in to solve the mystery.

Inspector Dalgliesh is one of my very favorite sleuths because he is a complicated, fully-formed character. He is world-weary, but not callous. He reads books and writes poetry. He is patient with the weak, but does not suffer fools. Most importantly, he is interesting but does not dominate the stories – he is a foil for the varied personalities of the suspects, victims, and villains.


If you would like your review of this or any other P. D. James book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


This counted as one of the audio books I read with my ears for the Audio-Book Challenge


  1. Love love love Dalgliesh! I really like how the novels follow a predictable pattern each time but go in such different directions. The Murder Room and Death In Holy Orders are two of my favorites :)

  2. I've been in love with Adam Dalgliesh for many years. P.D. James writes so much more than a mystery; her books are deep and satisfying reads, and her regular characters are a hoot. Having said that, though, I don't plan to read her latest book, the Jane Austen rerun.

  3. I haven't read a P. D. James in a while but they are masterpieces.

  4. ShaReKay: Me too! I like Dick Francis books for a reason. They follow a "formula" but are still so interesting and entertaining.

    Barbara: Satisfying is exactly the word I was looking for with my yoga reference. The stories leave me feeling content.

    Kathy: Masterpieces, indeed!


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