While Commander Adam Dalgleish is recuperating from health issues and questioning his future as a police officer, he receives a letter from Father Michael Baddeley, a priest he hasn't seen in twenty years. The priest requests that Dalgleish come see him at Toynton Grange, a private home for young, severely disabled people, which is a fair distance away. The only reason Father Baddeley gives for his request is that it's in a professional capacity. By the time Dalgleish arrives several days later, the elderly priest has died from heart failure. Dalgleish stays on at Father Baddeley's cottage to sort through the books bequeathed to him; however, during his stay two more deaths occur. Neither appears to be homicide and, given Dalgleish's physical health--not to mention state of mind--he's not all that interested in learning more. But things are said, inconsistencies noted, and Dalgleish is slowly drawn into solving a devious puzzle.
The Black Tower is a great example of James's trademark talent for detailed narrative, carefully revealed plots, and isolated settings that provide as much of an ominous tone as the unhappy suspects. What appealed most to me were the changes in Dalgleish as he questions his career. Reminisces about his past with Father Baddeley also provide a glimpse of the boy he once was. Great stuff!