From Publishers Weekly
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.)
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*Starred Review* At 85, the remarkable P. D. James has written one of her most moving novels. As she has done throughout her career, she sticks closely to formula in the shape of her mystery story but injects her characters with a range of emotions and subtlety of motive that lifts the proceedings well beyond the level of a puzzle and its solution. In the past, she has often isolated her group of victims and suspects by homing in on a particular profession, but this time she uses an even more classic mystery device: an isolated location. Combe Island, off the Cornish coast of England, was once a pirates' enclave but is now used as a retreat for powerful people who need time to recharge their batteries, making it all the more shocking when one of the guests is found murdered. Commander Adam Dalgleish is called to the politically sensitive scene to investigate. The action plays out pretty much as it has in 19 previous James' novels: Dalgleish and his team--Inspector Kate Miskin and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith--interview the finite group of suspects, making deductions along the way until the commander puts all the pieces together. But it's what happens between the lines that gives James' stories their punch: the tension between Miskin and the ambitious sergeant; the added frisson that comes from Dalgleish finally having a personal life but being unable to move forward with his lover, Emma; and, of course, the personal lives of the various suspects, all of whom James treats with unmatched depth and care. Each new Dalgleish novel should be treated as a gift by mystery fans everywhere. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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