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P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.
P. D. James died in November 2014.
Photograph © Ulla Montan
As the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best of these have been drawn from the archives and published here. P. D. James' prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide tantalizing puzzles to keep the reader guessing. P. D. James embraces the challenge of the short-story form, and ingeniously weaves the strands of plot, setting, characterisation and surprise to create a satisfying whole within only a few thousand words.
Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, P.D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice , and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 8 December 2011. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 9 December 2010. P. D. James and T. A. Critchley piece together the evidence of an early 19th century murder case in this fascinating book.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 23 October 2008. PD James is still at the top of her game at the ripe old age of 88. Great plotlines of murder and mystery and plenty of characters to get your teeth in to and as always Adam Dalgliesh to solve the crime.
This eagerly awaited successor to The Murder Room displays the qualities which aficionados have come to expect of P.D. James: sensitive characterisation, an exciting and superbly structured plot and vivid evocation of place. The Lighthouse is a subtle and powerful work of contemporary fiction.Comparison: Nicci French, Elizabeth George, Laura Wilson.
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.
The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills.
A piercing scream, shattering the evening calm, brings Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh hurrying from his literary party to the nearby Steen Psychiatric Clinic, where he discovers the body of a woman sprawled on the basement floor, a chisel thrust through her heart. As Dalgliesh probes beneath the apparently unruffled calm of the clinic, he discovers that many an intrigue lies hidden behind the Georgian terrace's unassuming facade. Professionally, he has never known the taste of failure. Now, for the first time, he feels unsure of his own mastery as he battles to unmask a cool killer who is proving to be his intellectual equal, and who is poised to strike again.
St Cedd's Church fete has been held in the grounds of Martingale manor house for generations. As if organising stalls, as well as presiding over luncheon, the bishop and the tea tent, were not enough for Mrs Maxie on that mellow July afternoon, she also has to contend with the news of her son's sudden engagement to her new parlour maid, Sally Jupp. On the following morning the village are shocked by the discover of Sally's body. Investigating the violent death at the manor house, Detective Chief-Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is embroiled in the complicated passions beneath the calm surface of English village life.
Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh has been looking forward to a quiet holiday at his aunt's cottage on Monksmere Head, one of the furthest-flung spots on the remote Suffolk coast. With nothing to do other than enjoy long windswept walks, tea in front of a crackling wood fire and hot-buttered toast, Dalgliesh is relishing the thought of a well-earned break. However, all hope of peace is soon shattered by murder. The mutilated body of a local crime writer, Maurice Seaton, floats ashore in a dinghy, dragging Adam Dalgliesh into a new and macabre investigation.
A stand-alone thriller from P. D. James. Philippa Palfrey, adopted as a child, believes herself to be the motherless, illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic father. At eighteen she exercises her right to find out the truth. What she discovers will change her life forever. Philippa enters a new and terrifying world and soon comes to realize that she is not the only one interested in her parents' whereabouts. Innocent Blood is both a mystery and a thriller, a superb novel that explores the themes of self-identity and the meaning of life.
Winner of the CWA Crime Awards Silver Dagger Two men lie in a welter of blood in the vestry of St Matthew's Church, Paddington, thier throats brutally slashed. One is Sir Paul Berowne, a baronet and recently-resigned Minister of the Crown, the other an alcoholic vagrant. Dalgliesh and his team, set up to investigate crimes of particular sensitivity, are faced with a case of extraordinary complexity as they discover the Berowne family's veneer of prosperous gentility conceals ugly and dangerous secrets.
An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery The Peverell Press, a two-hundred-year-old publishing firm housed in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames, is certainly ripe for change. But the proposals of its ruthlessly ambitious new managing director, Gerard Etienne, have made him dangerous enemies - a discarded mistress, a neglected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues and staff. When Gerard's body is discovered bizarrely desecrated, there is no shortage of suspects and Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of extraordinary complexity and a murderer who is prepared to strike again.
'On the whole, it was easier than I had expected. Only once did I feel myself at risk. That was when the Inspector suddenly intervened. He said in a harsh voice: He married your wife, didn't he? Took her away from you some people might say. Nice piece of goods, too, by the look of her. Didn't you feel any grievance? I had been expecting this question. I knew exactly what I would say.' The late, great P. D. James takes us inside the mind of a murderer.
The acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P. D. James, was a past master of the short story, weaving together motifs of the Golden Age of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories contained four of these perfectly formed stories, and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time. As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution. The punishments inflicted on the guilty are fittingly severe, but here they are meted out by the unseen forces of natural justice rather than the institutions of the law. Once again, P. D. James shows her expert control of the short-story form, conjuring motives and scenarios with complete conviction, and each with a satisfying twist in the tail.
Two great literary minds-master of suspense P.D. James and literary icon Jane Austen-come together in Death Comes to Pemberley, a bestselling historical crime fiction tribute to Pride and Prejudice. Conjuring the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and combining the trappings of Regency British society with a classic murder mystery, James creates a delightful mash-up that will intrigue any Janeite. The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband, George Wickham, has been murdered. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, P.D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice. Combining Austen's wit and the social commentary of Downton Abbey with her own signature excitement and suspense, James has crafted a brilliant crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time, and was adapted as a miniseries by the BBC in 2013, starring Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, and Matthew Goode.
Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead in her chambers. Commander Adam Dalgleish, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients she has defended, her colleagues, her family - even her lover. As Dalgleish and his team narrow the field of suspects, a second brutal murder draws them into greater complexities of intrigue and evil.
When the notorious investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, books into Mr Chandler-Powell's private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring scar, she has every prospect of a successful operation and the beginning of a new life. But she was never to leave Cheverell Manor alive. Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate the murder, and later a second death, which raises far more complicated problems than merely the question of innocence or guilt . . .
P. D. James a bator, de sebezheto fiatal nyomozonot, Cordelia Grayt egy rendkivul veszelyes kirakosban mutatja be, amely egy percre sem engedi lankadni az olvaso figyelmet."e; (The New York Times) A cambridge-i egyetemrol utolso eveben kimarado, jokepu Mark Callender neveltetesehez meltatlan modon halt meg: felakasztva talaltak ra, a szajan halvany ruzsnyommal. Gazdag apja nem nyugszik bele a hivatalos velemenybe, amely szerint ongyilkossagot kovetett el, es felfogadja a kezdo magandetektivet, Cordelia Grayt, hogy deritse ki, mi kergette a fiat az onpusztitasba. Amikor azonban Cordelia osszerakja a minduntalan megdobbenest kelto es igencsak buzlo ugy mozaikjait, nem Mark inditekaira, hanem reg eltemetett szennyes titkok es szegyenletes bunok hosszan kigyozo sorara bukkan, es egyre erosebbe valik a gyanuja, hogy gyilkossag tortent. Az 1970-es evekben irodott, de maig sem veszitett atuto erejebol."e; - VOGUE Lebilincselo, szepirodalmi igenyessegu bunugyi regeny..."e; - CHICAGO SUN-TIMES [P. D. James] a klasszikus krimi legnagyobb kortars iroja."e; - THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK)
The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably as he faces agonising choices which could affect the future of mankind.
No one gets inside the head of the murdereror makes it a more thrilling readthan the late, great P. D. James. Fast on the heels of her latest best seller: a new, fiendishly entertaining gathering of previously uncollected stories, from the author of Death Comes to Pemberley and The Private Patient. It's not always a question of "e;whodunit?"e; Sometimes there's more mystery in the why or how. And although we usually know the unhealthy fates of both victim and perpetrator, what of those clever few who plan and carry out the perfect crime? The ones who aren't brought down even though they're found out? And what about those who do the finding out who witness a murder or who identify the murderer but keep the information to themselves? These are some of the mysteries that we follow through those six stories as we are drawn into the thinking, the memories, the emotional machinations, the rationalizations, the dreams and desires behind murderous cause and effect.This selection 2017 by the Estate of P.D. James. ';The Yo-Yo' written 1996; revised as ';Hearing Ghote' in The Verdict of Us All, ed. Peter Lovesey copyright P. D. James 2006. ';The Victim' first published in Winter's Crimes 5, ed. Virginia Whitaker copyright P. D. James 1973. ';The Murder of Santa Claus' first published in Great Detectives, ed. D. W. McCullough copyright P. D. James 1984. ';The Girl Who Loved Graveyards' first published in Winter's Crimes 15, ed. George Hardinge copyright P. D. James 1983. ';A Very Desirable Residence' first published in Winter's Crimes 8, ed. Hilary Watson copyright P. D. James 1976. ';Mr Millcroft's Birthday' first published as ';The Man Who Was 80' in The Man Who copyright P. D. James 1992; revised as ';Mr Maybrick's Birthday' copyright 2005. Foreword copyright 2017 by Peter Kemp.