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