P. D. James
Lady Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, born August 3rd 1920.
She is best known for her crime novels with (presently) Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland yard (he is also a poet) as the hero. This is intelligent, slow-moving crime, usually set in some close quarter with a limited number of suspects - quite classic British crime. Most of these novels have been made into television series- they are favourites of mine.
She has also written two crime novels with private eye Cordelia Gray as the heroine, and one stand-alone crime novel (Innocent Blood).
Her Children of Men is a science fiction novel, set in 2021 when no child has been born on earth for 25 years.
She has written an entertaining autobiography in the form of a diary of her 78th year, where events prod her to think of her past and in a kind of collage technique gives us a portrait of her - quite unlike the normal timeline biography, starting at the parents' wedding and ending today.
Adam Dalgliesh crime novels
Cordelia Gray crime novels
[01.01.04] P.D. James' last book, The Murder Room, is a classic Dalgliesh novel. A close-knit group of people, this time centered around a private museum, is investigated as one of them dies. He is found dead, at a time when he and his siblings are in profound disagreement over the future of the museum – and the murder has some uncanny resemblance to a murder exhibited in the museum. Painstakingly Dalgliesh and his sidekicks Miskin and Tarrant unravel the mystery. At the same time, Dalgliesh needs to spend some energy on his love life, which he seems at risk of making a total mess of.
A lot of detail in the description of the setting, which is well executed, but overall it becomes too much setting and too little nerve and excitement, even if the solution comes as a surprise to me, at least. And Dalgliesh's love life, interesting though it may be, feels a distraction and not a part of the plot of the novel. Not James' best, a good read still, though.
for the reader of modern crime novels, The
Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction gives a encyclopedic
view of post-war crime fiction. For non-English readers it is a drawback
that very little non-English material is included, but it is a great fountain
of facts about English language authors. Its scope is strictly crime,
leaving thrillers out - it still fills 780 pages, so you'll have more
than enough to read.
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