Excerpt from The Lighthouse by P.D. James, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lighthouse

by P.D. James

The Lighthouse by P.D. James X
The Lighthouse by P.D. James
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Dalgliesh said, "So Maycroft rang you as soon as possible after finding the body? I suppose he was following instructions."

Harkness said, "He was given a phone number, told that it was top secret and instructed to phone the Trustees if anything untoward happened on the island. He's been warned that you'll be arriving by helicopter and to expect you by early afternoon."

Dalgliesh said, "He'll have some difficulty explaining to his colleagues why this particular death should attract a Metropolitan Police commander and a detective inspector instead of being dealt with by the local CID, but I suppose you've covered that."

Harkness said, "As well as we can. The Chief Constable has been put in the picture, of course. There's no point in arguing over which force should take responsibility until we know whether we've got a murder to investigate. In the meantime they'll cooperate. If it is murder and the island is as secure as they claim, there'll be a limited number of suspects. That should speed up the inquiry."

Only someone ignorant of a murder investigation, or who had conveniently forgotten the less successful incidents of his past, could have been so misjudging. A small group of suspects, if each was intelligent and prudent enough to keep his or her counsel and resist the fateful impulse to volunteer more than was asked, could complicate any investigation and bedevil the prosecution.

At the door Conistone turned. "The food's all right on Combe Island, I suppose? The beds comfortable?"

Harkness said coolly, "We've had no time to enquire. Frankly, it didn't occur to me. I should have thought that whether the cook knows her job and the state of the mattresses is more your concern than ours. Our interest is in a dead body."

Conistone took the barb with good humour. "True. We'll check on the amenities if this conference comes off. The first thing the rich and powerful learn is the value of comfort. I should have mentioned that the last surviving Holcombe is a permanent resident on the island, Miss Emily Holcombe, aged eighty plus, a former Oxford academic. History, I believe. Your subject, wasn't it, Adam—but weren't you at the other place? She'll either be an ally or a perfect nuisance. If I know anything about academic women it will be the latter. Thank you for taking this on. We'll be in touch."

Harkness rose to escort Conistone and Reeves out of the building. Leaving them at the lifts, Dalgliesh went back to his office. First he must phone Kate and Benton-Smith. After that there was a more difficult call. He and Emma Lavenham were to have spent tonight and tomorrow together. If she planned to spend the afternoon in London, she might already be on her way. He'd have to reach her on her mobile phone. It wouldn't be the first call of its kind and, as always, she would be half expecting it. She wouldn't complain—Emma never did. Both of them had occasional urgent commitments and their time together was the more precious because it could never be relied upon. And there were three words he wanted to say to her which he found he could never speak over the phone. They too would have to wait.

He put his head round the door of his PA's room. "Get DI Miskin and Sergeant Benton-Smith for me, will you, Susie. Then I'll need a car to go to Battersea Heliport, picking up Sergeant Benton-Smith first, then Inspector Miskin. Her murder case is in her office. See that it's put in the car, will you."

Excerpted from The Lighthouse by P. D. James Copyright © 2005 by P. D. James. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Calypso
    Calypso
    by David Sedaris
    David Sedaris' Calypso is every bit as hilarious and irreverent, as clever and incisive, as ...
  • Book Jacket: The Word Is Murder
    The Word Is Murder
    by Anthony Horowitz
    A wealthy widow enters a London funeral home to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours ...
  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.