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Extended Audio Sample The Black Tower Audiobook, by P. D. James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 5 3.20 (59 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: P. D. James Narrator: Penelope Dellaporta Publisher: Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781415961452
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 AJ | 2/19/2014

    " I wanted to read something by PD James in her 'native' genre after loving Children of Men (highly recommend the book and movie) so I picked up this mystery at the local library. Set in 1970s England it proceeded at a snail's pace until the very end. Enjoyable but I probably won't quickly pick up another of her mysteries anytime soon. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/18/2014

    " Rather disappointing. I picked this book up at a book sale for a song, mostly because the cover advertised the book as "Agatha Christie's Crown Princess" and being a Christie fan I thought I'd try it out. The story was long, boring, and the mystery easy to figure out. Very few of the characters had any appeal to me and quite honestly, I skipped parts just to get through to the end. Sorry to say, I don't think I'll try any more of PD James's books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenni | 2/17/2014

    " I had a difficult time following the plot. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mikee | 2/17/2014

    " Agatha Christie-like. Many characters. Many murders. Neatly tied together at the end. Too neat. Who cares? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 2/17/2014

    " P D James born 1920. In an article in the Times, she explains " (In 1949), with a husband returned ill from war service and two young daughters, I needed to find work and applied for a post in the NHS, which had become law in 1948. I was living in Ilford with my parents-in-law and was employed at a small outpatient hospital for skin diseases in London" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine Jensen | 2/12/2014

    " I retread this book on August 7, 1988. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Writerlibrarian | 2/6/2014

    " This one is more an atmospheric murder mystery with an aura of angst, sorrow, regrets (mostly coming from Adam Dalgliesh's) and the malicious intents and actions coming from the tennants of the home. Dalgliesh's brush with death is like a grey cloud over the whole novel. Not a bad mystery but a melancolic and sorrowful one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ange | 2/3/2014

    " It's one of P.D. James earlier A.D. books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 1/21/2014

    " I am speechless "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ekd23 | 1/20/2014

    " PD James is so much fun to read. This is not her newest, but it is full of interesting characters and wonderful descriptions of the isolated, coastal location for the novel. I think it is worth a read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lianna | 1/19/2014

    " some light Christmas reading...the cover promises macabreness...macabreity...macabretude...oh let's just say macabre occurances "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heidi | 1/18/2014

    " This was my least favorite of her stuff so far. Dalgliesh is convalescing at a place and people start dying. He suspects the deaths are murders, but they are ruled accidents or natural. I couldn't get my head around the characters or care about the situation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 1/14/2014

    " Great P.D. James mystery. I really enjoy these well-written tales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 1/10/2014

    " Took a while to get going. With so many characters in similar situations it was hard keeping track of who was who. May go back and read more of the Dalgleish series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 12/29/2013

    " Just filling up the month of January with as much mystery as I can stand. I love P.D. James and as I am planning a trip to the UK in March, I am enjoying brushing up on the British psyche with the help of Commander Dalgliesh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivemylove | 12/12/2013

    " This so far has been more different and creepy than the other PD James I've been reading. It's set at an institution for the disabled. God, I love PD James. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 11/9/2013

    " One of the things I like about this series is that it provides the structure of a mystery in a well-written novel. Too many mysteries are slight and can be finished in a few hours. I particularly liked the plot of this one, but don't feel like going into detail at the moment! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 10/10/2013

    " I couldn't help it. I read the first two pages of The Sound and the Fury, but what I really wanted was another by 'The Queen of Crime'... And she delivered. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Manda | 6/28/2013

    " Not one of the best by James. The novel doesn't flow, and seems all too extraordinary to be true. True, I had no idea who done it or why - but them the reasons given in the book seem too implausable to be true anyway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allie | 3/18/2013

    " I really like her writing better than this actual story. I thought the book was good, but I'm motivated to read more of her stuff because of the writing style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 12/12/2012

    " A very very slow start - don't think anything really started happening until about 70 pages to go to the end! I read another book while I trudged through this one, but I suppose the pace is typical of PD James! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 9/27/2012

    " Was disappointed in this one. Starts out great, but James failed to hold my interest for the length of teh novel. One of the things I always loved about her writing was how all major and minor characters were developed equally as well, and yet in the Black Tower, they aren't. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dav'ne | 9/20/2012

    " Can't believe I missed this one...I figured out who the murderer was, but not the motive so I guess I'll give it a 3! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brynna | 8/5/2012

    " I'm never quite sure whether I like P. D. James's books or not. I like her style, her flow, her characters, but not the mystery part. Very weird. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elaine | 1/9/2012

    " The quintessential British mystery writer. But I get tired of Dalgliesh's mental whining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mad_Maudie | 7/27/2011

    " Adam Dalgliesh is a thinking person's detective. Good stuff! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lesley | 7/19/2011

    " the book was not good at all I did not like this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ice | 4/27/2011

    " This one is in my top 3 of Dagleish mystery thrillers. Usual pattern in rural England. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 4/19/2011

    " As always a literate and well-thought out mystery "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 4/17/2011

    " One of the things I like about this series is that it provides the structure of a mystery in a well-written novel. Too many mysteries are slight and can be finished in a few hours. I particularly liked the plot of this one, but don't feel like going into detail at the moment! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 3/12/2011

    " Early Adam Dalgliesh novel. Almost guessed the ending ... but not quite. I do like PD James! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Saugat | 3/4/2011

    " P D James has come up with an engrossing murder mystery plot in this book. Toynton Grange and its occupants' characters has been beautifully written. Even though I felt that the end could have been better but being a big fan of her work I can ignore that! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frank | 2/17/2011

    " Least favorite of all the AD books. Pretty much disliked every character in it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teacatweaves | 1/23/2011

    " I do enjoy watching the PBS series. I found this one a little depressing because of the implications of institutional care and why some people are left to rot in it. The plot kept me interested, although it took longer to read than current authors because PD James goes into much more detail. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mikee | 1/2/2011

    " Agatha Christie-like. Many characters. Many murders. Neatly tied together at the end. Too neat. Who cares? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesa | 12/9/2010

    " Adam Dalgliesh is a thinking person's detective. Good stuff! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Geraldine | 10/1/2010

    " Excellent. Wonderful characterisation, though would prefer a little less description. Thoroughly recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 9/28/2010

    " Better than the others I've read. AD works much better when he's in the lead role. I still hate how there's no plot development and then suddenly some unknown piece of evidence (in this case a letter from beyond the grave) suddenly explains everything. But still mire interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 8/11/2010

    " Pretty good murder mystery. PD James is a master of description so you can really imagine the scenes in the novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brynna | 7/22/2010

    " I'm never quite sure whether I like P. D. James's books or not. I like her style, her flow, her characters, but not the mystery part. Very weird. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Naomi | 7/3/2010

    " Meh, PD James has written much better Adam Dagliesh books than this but one must read this to continue on with the series..which does bounce back and kick butt after this one! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deborah | 6/21/2010

    " The best parts of this book are the ruminations on life, death and those who are nearer one than the other. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivemylove | 5/20/2010

    " This so far has been more different and creepy than the other PD James I've been reading. It's set at an institution for the disabled. God, I love PD James. "

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About the Author

P. D. James (1920–2014), English crime writer, was the author of numerous detective novels, many of which were New York Times bestsellers. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British civil service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of the Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was named Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991.

About the Narrator

Penelope Dellaporta is a published narrator. Some of her published credits include Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary and Edith Wharton’s The House Of Mirth.