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.
P. D. James’s extraordinary memoir of her early life and time starting out as a novelist, as well as diaries recording her in old age.
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 during a bombing raid. 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 entered 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 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.
‘She has served up a feast of a book.’ Penelope Lively
‘A wonderful read and as such will give pleasure to all P. D. James fans.’ Antonia Fraser, Mail on Sunday
‘Like all the best diaries hers allows the reader to share in the small pleasures and domestic dramas of her days.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘A wonderfully vivid evocation of a lower-middle-class childhood of oil lamps and gas mantles, water heated up on a coke boiler for the weekly bath, liberty bodices, prickly combinations, a father severely remote from his three children and a long-suffering mother.’ Francis King, The Oldie
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.
Among the blackmail, lies and secrets of the Nightingale nursing school, 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.
In Shroud for a Nightingale, P. D. James plots a complex story of secrets, blackmail and suspicion.
Shroud for a Nightingale was adapted for television in 1984, starring Roy Marsden, Joss Ackland and Sheila Allen.
Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh had 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 walks and a little desultory bird-watching, Dalgliesh was 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 drifting dinghy to drag Adam Dalgliesh into a new and macabre investigation. This is a thrilling work of crime fiction possessing all of the qualities which distinguish P. D. James as a novelist.
Unnatural Causes was adapted for television in 1993, starring Roy Marsden, Simon Chandler and Kenneth Colley.
P. D. James takes her best-known detective to the Dorset coast in this murder mystery. Awakening on his sick bed to a deepening sense of his own mortality, Adam Dalgliesh fights with his illness and finds himself embroiled in a thrilling murder investigation packed with lies, suspicion and deceit.
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 Black Tower is the fifth novel in the Adam Dalgliesh series, a thrilling work of crime fiction that explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the unique crime of murder, with authority and sensitivity.
This novel won the Silver Dagger award for crime fiction and was adapted for television in 1985, starring Roy Marsden, Martin Jarvis and John Franklyn-Robbins.
From P.D. James comes the second novel to feature the famous female detective Cordelia Gray of the Pryde Detective Agency. Set on the sinister Courcy Island, The Skull Beneath the Skin is a thrilling murder mystery.
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’.
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 for ever. Philippa embarks on a thrilling investigation, enters a new and terrifying world and soon comes to realise 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, blood ties, guilt and revenge.
From P. D. James comes the seventh Adam Dalgliesh novel, set against the bleak fens of East Anglia. Death of An Expert Witness is a classic work of detective fiction, packed with forensic detail, intrigue and suspense.
When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the remains is 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 East Anglia, where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again.
With a wealth of potential suspects and cautious forensic scientists quick to pass on the blame, Dalgliesh becomes embroiled in the complicated passions that lie hidden beneath the calm surface of the laboratory.
Death of An Expert Witness was adapted for television in 1983, starring Roy Marsden, Barry Foster and Ray Brooks.
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 realises it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister.
James’s first Cordelia Gray novel An Unsuitable Job For a Woman is a brilliant work of crime fiction packed with secrets and suspense.
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman has been adapted for television twice, the second in 1997 starring Helen Baxendale, Annette Crosbie and Rosemary Leach.
Two men lie in a welter of blood in the vestry of St Matthew’s Church, Paddington, their throats brutally slashed. One is Sir Paul Berowne, a baronet and recently resigned Minister of the Crown, the other an alcoholic vagrant. Commander Adam 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 family secrets.
In A Taste for Death, P. D. James explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the unique crime of murder, with authority and sensitivity.
A Taste For Death won the Silver Dagger award for crime fiction and was adapted for television in 1988, starring Roy Marsden, Wendy Hiller and Fiona Fullerton.