20: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse by P.D. James

Another library book sale find. Wasn’t a library book, though. Looked brand-new, still with remainder price tag on. Zing!

So it’s a police procedural in PD James’s Adam Dalgliesh series, with the three detective characters (who presumably, regular readers would be familiar with from previous books) sent to a private island to investigate a murder. The book starts out by introducing each of them in turn, and providing quite a bit of detail about each of their back stories. Which I was fine with in the beginning, but later on I wondered what the point of all that was since it was barely returned to at all in the main story.

The murder mystery itself is decent, but the pacing was bogged down by the amount of description. omg, so much description! Did I really need to know about the minutiae of the furnishings and refrigerators (!) of each cottage and apartment? I do not think so. I seriously felt like this book could have been half as long. With so much wandering detail, The Lighthouse didn’t have the urgency it might have had if it had been trimmed down.

Despite the endless detail, there was curious lack of emotional connection to the characters. Maybe if some of that detail had been cut, James could have expanded on the detectives’ stories that were rather left hanging. As it was, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly compelling. I guess I was supposed to care about Dalgleish mooning over Emma, but I really didn’t, and the other two, Kate and Benton, were like robot-people.

I did kind of wonder why Francis Benton-Smith was called just “Benton.” Mayhap it was explained in a previous book.