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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

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Other books by P. D. James

The Part-Time Job

The Part-Time Job

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/07/2020

I wasn't in any particular hurry to kill him. What was important was to make sure that the deed was done without suspicion settling on me. Follow P D James, 'Queen of Crime', as she takes us into the mind of a man who has waited decades to enact his patient, ingenious revenge on a school bully. A small, dark, treat, 'The Part-Time Job' is published in this special edition - for the first time in book form - in celebration of what would have been P.D. James' 100th birthday.

A Mind to Murder

A Mind to Murder

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/07/2020

Lies. Adultery. Blackmail. 'Neat and startling . P. D. James is simply a wonderful writer.' New York Times 'Highly recommended.' Daily Telegraph Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh has never failed to solve a case. When he is called to the scene of a gruesome murder at a psychiatry clinic in London, he finds it in lockdown: no one has entered or left the building since the discovery of the body. So, it figures, the culprit must be amongst the people before him. As Dalgliesh quickly discovers, however, the intricate web of lies and grudges among the staff and patients at the Steen Clinic cast confusing shadows. Amid all that deceit, could the killer be preparing to strike again?

The Murder Room

The Murder Room

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2020

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 Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2020

Combe Island off the Cornish coast offers a peaceful and secure respite to the over-stressed professionals who holiday there. But their peace is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is found hanging in the island's lighthouse, and the islanders realise it is murder, not suicide. As Adam Dalgliesh arrives to investigate, a second murder is discovered and the whole case is jepoardised by a new danger on the island, one more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder.

Death in Holy Orders

Death in Holy Orders

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2020

When the body of a theology student is found on a desolate stretch of East Anglican coast, 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, conflict and dangerous secrets as the college is torn apart by a sacrilegious and horrifying murder.

A Certain Justice

A Certain Justice

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/03/2020

A chilling murder mystery packed with forensic detail from the 'Queen of Crime' 'Ingenious.' Sunday Telegraph 'Fiendishly clever.' Sunday Times 'Spine-chilling.' Guardian 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 distinguished career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead at her desk. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family - even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder draws them into greater complexities of intrigue and evil . . .

Death of an Expert Witness

Death of an Expert Witness

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/01/2020

When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the exhibits is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggatt's forensic science laboratory. But nothing could have prepared them for the brutal death of one of their own. When the senior biologist is found dead in his laboratory Commander Dalgliesh is called to the bleak fens of East Anglia, where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again.

The Skull Beneath the Skin

The Skull Beneath the Skin

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/01/2020

A Cordelia Gray Mystery Hired to protect a beautiful but neurotic actress, Cordelia Gray soon becomes embroiled in a case as dangerous to her own life as it is mysterious. Clarissa Lisle hopes to make a spectacular comeback in a production of The Duchess of Malfi, to be played in Ambrose Gorringe's sinister castle at Courcy Island. Cordelia is there to ensure her safety following the appearance of a number of poison-pen letters. But it soon becomes clear that all are in danger. Trapped within the walls of the Gothic castle, the treacherous past of the island re-emerges, and everyone seems to have a motive for sending Clarissa 'down, down to hell'. Marking the return of Cordelia Gray, The Skull beneath the Skin is a complex mystery which more than lives up to its predecessor, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/12/2019

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. Required to delve into the hidden secrets of the Callender family, Cordelia soon realises it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister.

Shroud for a Nightingale

Shroud for a Nightingale

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

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.

The Black Tower

The Black Tower

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

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.

A Mind to Murder

A Mind to Murder

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2019

Lies. Adultery. Blackmail. 'Neat and startling . P. D. James is simply a wonderful writer.' New York Times 'Highly recommended.' Daily Telegraph Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh has never failed to solve a case. When he is called to the scene of a gruesome murder at a psychiatry clinic in London, he finds it in lockdown: no one has entered or left the building since the discovery of the body. So, it figures, the culprit must be amongst the people before him. As Dalgliesh quickly discovers, however, the intricate web of lies and grudges among the staff and patients at the Steen Clinic cast confusing shadows. Amid all that deceit, could the killer be preparing to strike again?

Cover Her Face

Cover Her Face

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2019

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.

Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes

Author: P. D. James, P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2019

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.

Innocent Blood

Innocent Blood

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2019

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.

A Taste for Death

A Taste for Death

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2019

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.

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