The Lighthouse (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, Book 13)

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Discuss how this detail, along with others, allows the story—a fiction set on a remote island—to remind us of the dangers of life in the real world. What mood does the setting of Combe Island provide in The Lighthouse?


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Does the island provide, eventually, a healing and restorative function for various characters? For the three highly stressed detectives of the story, what are the positive and negative effects of their stay on Combe? James seems to be interested in people who are so consumed by their work—and are indeed so good at their work—that their intimate relationships suffer accordingly. Which of the characters in the novel would you include in this category, and is there hope that this imbalance between love and work can be resolved for them?

Do Kate and Francis seem to have the skill, talent, and sensibility that have allowed Dalgliesh to rise to the top of his profession? Is Kate the real heroine of the story? How does the ending reflect upon the romance between Adam Dalgliesh and Emma Lavenham? What steps might be taken in the next novel?

What temperamental qualities do Daniel Padgett and Nathan Oliver have in common? Do these qualities create a sort of family resemblance between the father and his unacknowledged son? It can provide catharsis, a means by which both writer and reader exorcise irrational feelings of anxiety or guilt.

They're still the deadlier species

The basic moral premise, the sanctity of life, is also an attraction as is the solution of the plot at the end of the book. The classical detective story affirms our belief that we live in a rational and generally benevolent universe. Share: Share on Facebook. Add to Cart. A magisterial and subtle exploration of all-too-human emotions. Introduction Combe Island, off the southwestern edge of England, is a beautiful wind-worn place with a dark history of slave trading and piracy.


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In the present, it has become a highly secure getaway for world leaders and the very rich, and the Combe Island Trust sees to it that no one is disturbed during these restorative visits. But when a world-famous writer is found murdered, hanging from the lighthouse, Combe is the site of an urgent manhunt led by Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team.

Nathan Oliver, the writer in question, is acknowledged to be a great fiction author—yet he is a terribly difficult and selfish person. Having been born on the island, he is permitted to return whenever he likes, much to the dismay of the small permanent community of islanders. There are several people who might have had motives for killing Oliver, yet before Dalgliesh, Detective Inspector Kate Miskin, and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith can single out the murderer, someone else is found brutally beaten to death. In addition to the terrifying sense of entrapment on an island where a murderer is at large, those present also have to deal with a biological killer: a German diplomat who has just arrived from Beijing is diagnosed with the deadly SARS virus, and Adam Dalgliesh is stricken with it as well.

The Lighthouse : Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Series : Book 13

While Dalgliesh is under quarantine, Kate Miskin and Francis Benton-Smith must find the murderer without the aid of their brilliant boss. The tensions are high and the dangers are many in this gripping tale of crime and punishment in which the sins of the past are visited—unexpectedly—upon those in the present.

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Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. About this Author P. James is the author of nineteen books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.

Observer review: The Lighthouse and End in Tears | Books | The Guardian

The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in She lives in London and Oxford. Sayers, Whose Body? Learn More About The Lighthouse print. 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 when there is a second brutal killing and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and potentially as fatal as murder.

James: sensitive characterisation, an exciting and superbly structured plot and vivid evocation of place. Genre: Mystery. Title: The Lighthouse, No.

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