Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Black Tower by P D James

Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is not dying of cancer but after his recent illness he has decided to retire. He had one personal commitment to fulfil. Father Baddeley had written to Dalgliesh that he needed his professional advice and invited him to Toynton Grange, a private home for the disabled. On reaching Toynton Grange, Dalgliesh finds that Father Baddeley is dead. He also finds that one of the inmates had committed suicide. Was Father Baddeley murdered? Are both these deaths related? Did the inmate really commit suicide or was he murdered?

Not knowing if there was really a crime, weakened the case for me. For all we know Father Baddeley may have died a normal death. It was difficult for me get involved maybe because Dalgliesh does not want to get involved with the inmates or the case. There really wasn't one character I could root for. There are other deaths that got me involved. So what really is happening here. As for the mystery, I didn't guess what was happening.

It looks like P D James is an expert in creating isolated communities thus creating a perfect setting for a whodunit. In the Lighthouse it is an isolated island, in the Private Patient it is a gated Private Hospital here it is an isolated home for disabled.

I have noticed before in James novels that both suspects and the victims are despicable. I wonder if James specialises in characters we could not sympathise or love. Usually in whodunits there is somebody you would like and maybe they end up the killer but that's a different story. Here there is nobody to like. I have mixed feelings about this book while the mystery is great, I felt like an outsider and couldn't enjoy it. The Black Tower is published in 1975 is the fifth book featuring Adam Dalgliesh. This is not my favourite James book. I liked Private Patient and Cover her Face better. I am planning to read James' Unsuitable Job for a Woman featuring Cordelia Gray next.

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