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P. D. James - Author

About the Author

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

Featured books by P. D. James

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

Author: P. D. James Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

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.

ebook of the month
The Children of Men

The Children of Men

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2010

ebook of the month

Other books by P. D. James

Sleep No More

Sleep No More

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 14/11/2017

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.

Sleep No More Six Murderous Tales

Sleep No More Six Murderous Tales

Author: P. D. James Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/10/2017

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.

Sleep No More Six Murderous Tales

Sleep No More Six Murderous Tales

Author: P. D. James Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 05/10/2017

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.

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/10/2017

P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a short story for Christmas, and four of the best have been drawn from the archives and published here together for the first time. From the title story about a strained country-house Christmas party, to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, plus two cases for detective Adam Dalgliesh, these are masterfully atmospheric stories by the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime'.

Sleep No More

Sleep No More

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 03/10/2017

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.

Devices and Desires

Devices and Desires

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 24/08/2017

When Adam Dalgliesh visits Larksoken, a remote headland community on the Norfolk coast in the shadow of a nuclear power station, he expects to be engaged only in the sad business of tying up his aunt's estate. But the peace of Larksoken is illusory. Someone is terrorising the neighbourhood, and Dalgliesh finds himself drawn into the lives of the isolated headlanders in an attempt to uncover what sinister forces are at work.

Mistletoe Murder

Mistletoe Murder

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 25/10/2016

Four previously uncollected stories from one of the great mystery writers of our time--swift, cunning murder mysteries (two of which feature the young Adam Dalgliesh) that together, to borrow the author's own word, add up to a delightful "e;entertainment."e; The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is "e;pure Agatha Christie."e; . . . A "e;pedantic, respectable, censorious"e; clerk's secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder . . . A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier . . . Dalgliesh's godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather's mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author's sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex--not to say the most damning--aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James's legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.From the Hardcover edition.

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Faber Modern Classics

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Faber Modern Classics

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/06/2015

Meet Cordelia Gray: twenty-two, tough, intelligent and now sole inheritor of the Pryde Detective Agency. Her first assignment finds her hired by Sir Ronald Callender to investigate the death of his son Mark, a young Cambridge student found hanged in mysterious circumstances. Cordelia is required to delve into the hidden secrets of the Callender family and soon realizes it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister. PD James is the bestselling author of Death Comes To Pemberley, Children of Men and The Murder Room. Her first Cordelia Gray novel An Unsuitable Job For a Woman is a brilliant work of crime fiction packed with secrets and suspense. This novel has been adapted for television twice, the second adaptation in 1997 starred Helen Baxendale as Cordelia Gray.

Time to Be in Earnest

Time to Be in Earnest

Author: P. D. James Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/05/2015

In this intriguing and very personal book, part diary, part memoir, P. D. James considers the twelve months of her life between her 77th and 78th birthdays, and looks back on her earlier life. With all her familiar skills as a writer she recalls what it was like to be a schoolgirl in the 1920s and 1930s in Cambridge, and then giving birth to her second daughter during the worst of the Doodlebug bombardment in London during the war. It follows her work, starting out as an administrator in the National Health Service, then on to the Home Office in the forensic and criminal justice departments. She later served as a Governor of the BBC, an influential member of the British Council, the Arts Council and the Society of Authors, and eventually entering the House of Lords. Along the way, this diary and personal memoir deals with her burgeoning reputation as a novelist, starting with Cover Her Face in 1962, and with the craft of the classical detective story. She also details the writing of one of her most intriguing and carefully researched books, A Certain Justice. This wonderful memoir will enthral aficionados of detective fiction, and will also appeal to anyone who lived through those turbulent years of the twentieth century.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2015

Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but now, privately owned, it offers respite to over-stressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered. Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the mystery quickly and discreetly, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. Dalgliesh is uncertain about his future with Emma Lavenham, the woman he loves, Detective Inspector Kate Miskin has her own emotional problems and the ambitious Anglo-Indian Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith is worried about working under Kate. Hardly have the team begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects that there is a second brutal killing and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder. 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.

The Murder Room

The Murder Room

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/08/2014

Commander Adam Dalgliesh is already acquainted with the Dupayne Museum in Hampstead, and with its sinister murder room celebrating notorious crimes committed in the interwar years, when he is called to investigate the killing of one of the trustees. He soon discovers that the victim was seeking to close the museum against the wishes of both staff and fellow trustees. Everyone, it seems, has something to gain from the crime. When it becomes clear that the killer is prepared to kill again, inspired by the real-life crimes from the murder room, Dalgliesh knows that to solve this case he has to get into the mind of a ruthless killer. The investigation is complicated for Dalgliesh by his love for Emma Lavenham, but their relationship, at a sensitive stage for them both, is continually frustrated by the demands of his job. As step by step he moves closer to the murderer, is the investigation taking him further away from commitment to the woman he loves? Award-winning P.D. James (author of Death Comes to Pemberley, The Murder Room and A Certain Justice) plots a thrilling work of crime fiction packed with intrigue and suspense. In 2004, this novel was adapted for BBC television and starred Martin Shaw as Adam Dalgliesh and Janie Dee as Emma Lavenham.

Death in Holy Orders

Death in Holy Orders

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2014

When the body of a theology student is found on a desolate stretch of coast in East Anglia, his wealthy father demands that Scotland Yard should re-examine the verdict of accidental death. Commander Adam Dalgliesh agrees to pay a visit to the young man's theological college, St Anselm's, a place he knew as a boy, expecting no more than a nostalgic return to old haunts and a straightforward examination of the evidence. Instead he finds himself embroiled in intrigue, secrets and mystery as the college is torn apart by a sacrilegious and horrifying murder . . . Award-winning P.D. James (author of Death Comes to Pemberley and Children of Men) masterfully explores an isolated and beleaguered community coping with the evil and disruption of murder. In 2003, this novel was adapted for BBC television and starred Martin Shaw, Hugh Fraser and Robert Hardy. Set on the wild coast of East Anglia, this number one bestseller is the fourteenth Adam Dalgliesh novel and a thrilling work of crime fiction possessing all of the qualities which distinguish P. D. James as a novelist.

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/11/2013

The world is classic Jane Austen. The mystery is vintage P.D. James. The year is 1803, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet 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 Bennet's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. 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 Bennet and Mark Darcy and combining the trappings of Regency British society with a classic murder mystery, P.D. James creates a delightful mash-up that will intrigue any Janeite. From the bestselling author of The Murder Room, Children of Men and A Certain Justice, comes a wonderful mixture of the nation's greatest romance and best-loved crime fiction. In 2013, this novel was adapted as a miniseries by the BBC, starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Jenna Coleman as Lydia Wickham.

Der Tod kommt nach Pemberley

Der Tod kommt nach Pemberley

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 01/03/2013

Im Jahr 1803, sechs Jahre nach der Hochzeit von Mr. Darcy und seiner Elizabeth, geht das Leben auf dem Herrensitz Pemberley seinen idyllischen Gang. Doch am Abend vor dem groen Herbstball wird die Vorfreude empfindlich gestort: Aus dem waldigen Teil des Pemberley-Parks bricht in rasender Fahrt eine Kutsche, darin eine vollig aufgeloste Lydia Wickham - Elizabeths missratene kleine Schwester -, die behauptet, ihr Mann sei ermordet worden! Nachdem die Damen in Sicherheit gebracht wurden, machen sich Mr. Darcy und sein Cousin in den Wald auf, um den Toten zu suchen. Was sie finden, ist ein lebender, blutverschmierter, verwirrter Wickham - und neben ihm eine Leiche.

Certain Justice

Certain Justice

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 15/01/2013

It begins, dramatically enough, with a trial for murder. The distinguished criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge is defending Garry Ashe on charges of having brutally killed his aunt. For Aldridge the trial is mainly a test of her courtroom skills, one more opportunity to succeed--and she does. But now murder is in the air. The next victim will be Aldridge herself, stabbed to death at her desk in her Chambers in the Middle Temple, a bloodstained wig on her head. Enter Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team, whose struggle to investigate and understand the shocking events cannot halt the spiral into more horrors, more murders...A Certain Justice is P.D. James at her strongest.In her first foray into the strange closed world of the Law Courts and the London legal community, she has created a fascinating tale of interwoven passion and terror. As each character leaps into unforgettable life, as each scene draws us forward into new complexities of plot, she proves yet again that no other writer can match her skill in combining the excitement of the classic detective story with the richness of a fine novel. In its subtle portrayal of morality and human behavior, A Certain Justice will stand alongside Devices and Desires and A Taste for Death as one of P.D. James's most important, accomplished and entertaining works.

Original Sin

Original Sin

Author: P. D. James Format: eBook Release Date: 15/01/2013

Adam Dalgliesh takes on a baffling murder in the rarefied world of London book publishing in this masterful mystery from one of our finest novelists.Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm's fortunes. Etienne was clearly a man with enemiesa discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues, one of who apparently killed herself a short time earlier. Yet Etienne's death, which occurred under bizarre circumstances, is for Dalgliesh only the beginning of the mystery, as he desperately pursues the search for a killer prepared to strike and strike again.

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