The Black Tower, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Award-winning P.D. James, one of the masters of crime fiction, takes her best-known detective to the Dorset coast in this murder mystery.

Awakening on his sick bed to a deepening sense of his own mortality, Dalgliesh fights with his illness and finds himself embroiled in a thrilling murder investigation packed with lies, suspicion and deceit.

Commander 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. From the bestselling author of Death Comes to Pemberley, Children of Men and The Murder Room, comes the fifth novel in the Adam Dalgliesh series, a thrilling work of crime fiction that explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the unique crime of murder, with authority and sensitivity.

Set on the Dorset coast, The Black Tower possesses all of the qualities which distinguish P.D.

James as a novelist. This novel won the Silver Dagger award for crime fiction and was adapted into a television program in 1985 starring actors such as Roy Marsden, Pauline Collins and Martin Jarvis.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780571248865

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Dalgleish finds out that what's wrong with him is a bad bout of mononucleosis, it's nothing fatal and he should take some time to rest. At the same time he receives an invite from an elderly friend to visit him as he wants to pick his brains about something. Dalgleish is shocked when he arrives that his friend is dead. His friend is living in a group of cottages associated with a house that is now a home for people with degenerative illnesses. Shortly before Dalgleish's friend, Father Baddeley, died, another person in the house also died and as further residents start to have accidents, Dalgleish starts to ask questions and resolves his questions about his career.

Review by

James does a great job at recreating a reclusive, almost cultish society prone to curious habits and an unhealthy proximity. I particularly enjoyed the mix of generations in this one, where old and young live with different world views. This is the second I read where Dalgliesh is an observer of the case, although he actively contributes to its resolution. As always, James's style is impeccable: with few words, she recreates a dark and foreboding atmosphere which keeps the reader on her edge of her seat!