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The Lighthouse

Written by: P. D. James
Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
Series: Adam Dalgliesh
Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty, but now, privately owned, it offers respite to overstressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered.

Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the mystery quickly and discreetly but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. Dalgliesh is uncertain about his future with Emma Lavenham, the woman he loves; Detective Inspector Kate Miskin has her own emotional problems; and the ambitious Anglo Indian, Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, is worried about working under Kate.

Hardly have the team begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects than there is a second brutal killing, and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder.

P. D. James (1920-2014) was a best-selling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray and their long and successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), The Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).

James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected president of the Society of Authors and stood down from this role in 2013.

©2005 P.D. James (P)2015 Faber Audio

Critic Reviews

"P. D. James at her finest." ( Daily Mail)
"P. D. James on top form and you will love it." ( Spectator)
"Formidable, classy whodunit...superlative scene-setting...expert, adroit and entertaining." ( Literary Review)
"Tightly structured and well-plotted and has enough twists, turns and false leaps to keep one gripped throughout." ( Mail on Sunday)
"James's people, places and plots are as artful as ever...long may she reign." ( Guardian)

What listeners say about The Lighthouse

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elisabeth
  • 26-02-17

Standard P D James fare

What did you like best about The Lighthouse? What did you like least?

An interesting setting with a good 'reveal' but otherwise standard P D James. Love interests are not her thing and their presence waters down the story.

If you’ve listened to books by P. D. James before, how does this one compare?

The reading was competent enough but slightly flat in the listening, perhaps reflecting the absence of real tension in the story.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The sewing room - written with expertise, the description accurate and interesting, three dimensional where other settings in the book are not.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

If the island was sufficiently dramatically portrayed.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 26-01-16

Into the Shining Air

As always with P.D.James, this book is beautifully written, a pleasure to read or to hear. The narration is excellent and very easy on the ear. The main story, too, is ingenious with the cast of players isolated from the rest of the world on an island off the coast of Cornwall. It has an old fashioned feel to the writing.
And yet there is something missing, something not quite satisfying. In fact, it feels more like an ending...
That said, it is still superior to so many others of the genre, enjoyable and recommended.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Fiona Adamson
  • 07-12-18

Thrilling tale, beautifully told

Another of PD James’ intricately woven mysteries set on an island with a range of well drawn characters, each one playing their part as the denouement comes in a thrilling account of detection and bravery of the two officers in Adam Dalgleish’s small team. He is absent throughout much of the narrative isolated and in the grip of SARS as his team come into their own. There is justice and redemption finally.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Norah Eddy
  • 27-07-19

fabulous narration

I find PD James to always be a great read but I found the narration to be superb! My attention often wanes with long books but Daniel Weyman kept my consistent engagement. I will search out other work read by him.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rosie J.
  • 02-12-19

Intriguing but a cheat at the end

Like all PD James novels the characters are beautifully moulded and the descriptions of people and places are excellent. She builds the story by placing all the characters first and bringing the detectives in afterwards. As a reader I have invested in her characterisation and her story development. What I don’t want is a quick denouement which does not require any build up any serious detective work or clever forensics - just a hunch of Dalgliesh’s and you are left wondering why the other detectives are sent off to do investigations that in the end are not required. Read it but bear in mind you might be a bit disappointed by the brief explanation as to who the murderer was

3 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 28-12-15

Another gripping story from PD

Loved the location of Combe Island n it's many interesting characters. I didn't guess the murderer and was surprised. Love the narrator and his many voices. Very enjoyable :)

7 people found this helpful

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  • Paula McMullan
  • 04-07-19

Rather lifeless story, not her usual quality

It feels like PD James was running out of steam and ideas when she wrote this. The end came as a surprise, not because the murderer was a surprise, simply that there was no crescendo. Shame really.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stan
  • 12-05-18

Great story. Perfect narration

A real sense of place and tension. Would strongly recommend it if you enjoy a good all round story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Annette East
  • 07-04-16

Excellent

A very good gripping read kept me enthralled until the end. I would recommend this.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Learning is fun!
  • 10-06-18

Moving and thoughtful

Well read, unusual storyline but not surprising when PD James is the author. Well worth listening to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • gertrude
  • 15-02-17

The Lighthouse

Just brilliant, the way PD James uses words to paint pictures. I felt like I was there, on Combe Island. I loved the story and performance. This was my first PD James novel, looking forward to another.