The Lighthouse (Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Series #13)
P. D. James
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A secure and secluded retreat for the rich and powerful becomes the setting for an unsettling series of murders.Combe Island off the Cornish coast is a restful haven for the elite. But when one of its distinguished visitors is found hanging from the island’s famous lighthouse in what appears to have been a murder, the peace is shattered. Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to handle the sensitive case, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. He is uncertain about his future with his girlfriend Emma Lavenham; his principle detective Kate Miskin is going through an emotional crisis; and the ambitious Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith is not happy about having a female boss. After a second brutal killing, the whole investigation is jeopardized, and Dalgliesh is faced with a danger even more insidious than murder.
expected encounter in his office about Atlantic Cottage. Now, glancing down at him, at the fine head which reached only to Maycroft’s shoulder, the strong white hair lifted by the breeze, he saw with reluctant compassion that even in that short time Oliver seemed visibly to have aged. Something—was it confidence, arrogance, hope?—had seeped out of him. He was now toiling painfully, that much-photographed head looking incongruously heavy for the short, enfeebled body. What was wrong with the man?
There was no help anywhere on earth, nor on those dead spinning worlds with their illusionary brightness. No one would be listening if he gave way to this almost irresistible impulse and shouted aloud into the unfeeling night, Don’t take away my words! Give me back my words! 10 In his bedroom on the top floor of the tower, Maycroft slept fitfully. At each waking he switched on the light and glanced at his bedside clock, hoping to find that dawn was near to breaking. Two-ten, three-forty,
he and Staveley left. Oliver’s face was not unfamiliar to Dalgliesh; he had seen it photographed often enough over the years, and the carefully chosen images had made their statement, imposing on the fine features the lineaments of intellectual power, even of nobility. Now all that was changed. The glazed eyes were half-open, giving him a look of sly malevolence, and there was a faint stink of urine from a stain on the trouser front, the final humiliation of sudden and violent death. The jaw had
meeting or another.” By the time they were eating their puddings the talk had become desultory. Suddenly Piers said, “I don’t like drinking coffee too soon after fish.” “Or after this wine, but I need sobering up.” But that, she thought, had been disingenuous. She never drank enough to risk losing control. “We could go to my flat. It’s near enough.” She had said, “Or mine. I’ve got a river view.” The invitation, his acceptance had been totally without strain. He said, “Then yours. I just
live if she left the island.” Dalgliesh and Kate sat at the long table while Mrs. Burbridge moved about the room, rolling up a transparent pattern for what was obviously a design for an altar frontal, placing the reels of silk in their boxes according to colour and replacing the bales of silk in the cupboard. Watching her, Dalgliesh said, “The cope is beautiful. Do you do the design as well as the actual embroidery?” “Yes, that’s almost the more exciting part. There have been great changes in