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The Black Tower

Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
Series: Adam Dalgliesh, Book 5
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)

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Summary

An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Commander Adam Dalgliesh is recuperating from a life-threatening illness when he receives a call for advice from an elderly friend who works as a chaplain in a home for the disabled on the Dorset coast. Dalgliesh arrives to discover that Father Baddeley has recently and mysteriously died, as has one of the patients at Toynton Grange. Evidently the home is not quite the caring community it purports to be. Dalgliesh is determined to discover the truth of his friend's death, but further fatalities follow and his own life is in danger as he unmasks the evil at the heart of Toynton Grange.

©2014 P.D. James (P)2014 Faber & Faber Ltd

Critic reviews

"More expertise from P. D. James. The writing is excellent, the pitch of final terror beautifully sustained." ( Evening Standard)
"She writes like an angel. Every character is clearly drawn. Her atmosphere is unerringly, chillingly convincing. And she manages all this without for a moment slowing down the drive and tension of an exciting mystery." ( The Times)

What members say

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bleak and unsettling

This is an unusual one. The book opens with Dalgliesh finding out that, contrary to an earlier diagnosis, he does not after all have a life-threatening disease and leaves hospital sure that he is going to leave the police force and do something else with his life.

An elderly priest has invited him to stay with him as he wants to consult him about something unspecified. Dalgliesh goes to see him to spend some of his recuperation time with him but when he arrives, the priest has been dead for nearly two weeks. Despite himself, he finds he cannot stop being a policeman and starts asking questions. He finds plenty of suspicious behaviour but somehow does not follow through with any of it as he is not there officially and of course does not have his usual team with him. He is under-par as the result of his illness, and because he is no longer sure he wants to be a policeman.

The investigation is unfocused and to this reader at least confusing. James' supporting characters are usually very vividly drawn and easily distinguished but in this book some are rather hazily drawn even when they come to play an important role in the story.

The persistent feeling of menace is very strongly conveyed but none of the characters have any redeeeming features. I missed the presence of the decent older woman who features in later books to give a humane core to the story. I felt I had lived through a nightmare with Dalgliesh as he found his way through the mire of his weakness from his illness and his indecision about his future and I cannot imagine wanting to go through it again.

Daniel Weyman is a marvellous reader and gave his usual fine, flawless performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • Peterborough
  • 14-07-15

A Familiar Tale

PD James has been my favourite author for many years (sad to record in this review that she has now passed away). I have physically read this book, seen a tv adaptation and enjoyed both thoroughly. This unknown narrator (to me at least), was not perfect for me. I would have greatly loved to have heard it being read by the actor Roy Marsden, as he for me is Adam Dalglesh. However having said all this, I enjoyed listening to this crime thriller.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A bit slow to get-going but worth a listen

Over the years I've read all of PD James books and enjoy revisiting them as audiobooks, not least thanks to Daniel Weyman's excellent narration that bring the characters to life. All her books are good but with so many under her belt some will inevitably be better than others. The Black Tower is certainly worth listening to, especially if following the Adam Dalgleish books in chronological order as it carries his life forward. However, I thought this story took a while to get going. It's has many of the facets of classic detective fiction: a closed community in an isolated location, a detective conveniently staying nearby and complicated crimes. But simple crimes would be boring.

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Always a twist

PD James’ writing never disappoints me. It’s a joy to listen to the twists and turns on audible with an accomplished reader like Daniel Weyman

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brilliant

the story was good,the narrator was good, I really enjoyed this book but it finished too quick!

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Brilliant as ever

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, P D James was an amazing writer. It doesn't matter in whatever order you read Adam Dalgliesh they still naked sense.

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THE BLACK TOWER

OMG
This book was outstanding., with PD James you can never anticipate what will happen neext.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another winner from PD James

What did you like most about The Black Tower?

The writing was excellent ( as usual) and it was a while before I began to guess whodunnit! Dalgliesh is terrific.

What did you like best about this story?

Edge of seat thriller. Loved it.

What does Daniel Weyman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He has a lovely voice and captures the characters so well.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Keeps you enthralled with lots of action.

Any additional comments?

Always have enjoyed P D James books. She is a wonderful writer. Good on audio.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good listen

What did you like most about The Black Tower?

This was a good paced story and kept me enthralled throughout. The narration was well done.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wasn't able to listen in one sitting but would have been very willing to do so.

Any additional comments?

A typical PD James story. Entertaining, enthralling and with the odd twist and turn to keep you listening/reading.

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A well-researched whodunnit

Beautiful and perceptive descriptions and characterisations.
A plot with twists and turns and a dramatic climax.
Blasphemies which are de rigeur these days only make an occasional if jarring appearance here.