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P D James

About The Author


P D JamesP D James - or to give her her full name Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park - is the doyenne of British crime writing, most famous for her series featuring Adam Dalgliesh of the Metropolitan Police Service.

James was educated at Cambridge High School for Girls, upon which Ronald Searle once told her the infamous St Trinians' was based. James was awarded an OBE in 1983 and made a Conservative life peer in 1991. In 2008, she was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame and, in 2009, she was a guest editor on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, during which she conducted a combative interview with Mark Thompson, Director-general of the BBC.

Adam Dalgliesh is also a published poet and is modelled on Mr Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. His surname came form a favourite English teacher and his forename is that of her father. He first appears as a Detective Chief Inspector in Cover Her Face, published in 1960. He has appeared in a further thirteen novels since, rising to the position of Commander. His most recent outing was in 2008's The Private Patient. Ten of Adam Dalgliesh novels have been adapted for television, starring Roy Marsden or, latterly, Martin Shaw.

James has also written two novels featuring private detective Cordelia Gray, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972) and The Skull beneath the Skin (1982); the former was developed into a series of television adaptations between 1997 and 2001, starring Helen Baxendale.

She has written two earlier standalone novels: Innocent Blood was published in 1980 and The Children of Men in 1992; the latter was adapted into a film in 2006 starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine. Her most recent novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, is inspired by her lifelong passion for the novels of Jane Austen and was dramatised by the BBC.

She has also written three books of non-fiction. The Maul and the Pear Tree, co-written with T A Critchley, covered the Ratcliff Highway murders of 1811; Time to be in Earnest (1999) is autobiographical, covering her 78th year; and in Talking about Detective Fiction (2009), she applies her five decades of expertise to analysing mystery fiction from throughout history, from Wilkie Collins to Henning Mankell.

 

As the Guest Author opening the Crime Department at our new Charing Cross Road flagship shop, P D James shares some of of her favourte crime fiction with us.

 

 

Author Picks

The Moonstone
(Paperback)
Wilkie Collins
 
'The Moonstone' was described by TS Eliot as 'the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective stories'. He may not have been totally accurate, but 'The Moonstone', if not the first detective story, introduces much that has been part of detective fiction ever since, notably a believable professional detective in Sergeant Cuff, an unexpected solution, accuracy in police and scientific clue-making and brilliant characterisation.
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The Nine Tailors
(Paperback)
Dorothy L. Sayers
 
Dorothy L Sayers made important contributions to the art of detective fiction: an original detective in Lord Peter Wimsey, scrupulous attention to details of the plot, settings which immediately come alive and books which can be read as literature as well as ingenious puzzles. 'The Nine Tailors' brilliantly evokes a world which has long passed away, the life of a remote Fen village and its splendid and historic church. The Nine Tailors, which also makes use of Sayers’s interest in campanology, is regarded as one of her most distinguished novels as well as being an international favourite.
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£8.99
 

Currently out of stock

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Tragedy at Law
(Paperback)
Cyril Hare
 
Crime novels set in the legal world have always had an appeal and Cyril Hare’s 'Tragedy At Law' is one of the best ever written. The book is set at the beginning of the war when judges moved about the country from one assize court to another. The victim is a judge, Mr Justice Barber, and although he survives several attempts on his life, the murderer is at the end successful. It is a brilliant description of England at the beginning of the Second World War and a legal system that has now largely changed. The hero, Francis Pettigrew, is an engaging but largely unsuccessful lawyer who also appears in other detective stories by Cyril Hare, who was himself a judge.
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Poirot: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
(Paperback)
Agatha Christie
 
A list of the best crime novels would hardly be complete without the name of Agatha Christie, and although Christie in this novel seems to flout one of the accepted conventions of the Golden Age detective story, 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' makes use of those conventions to create a puzzle with perhaps the most brilliantly original plot device of the genre.
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A Judgement in Stone
(Paperback)
Ruth Rendell
 
This book is highly unusual as a crime novel in that the reader knows from the start that murder will happen, the name of the killer and something about those destined to be victims. The story centres on the dismissal of Eunice Parchman, a housekeeper regarded by the family as a paragon. Although there is no mystery about the identity of the killer, the reason why the murders take place is a powerful study of evil, and of how a personal deficiency can lead to appalling tragedy. It is not a comforting read, but undoubtedly a classic among crime novels.
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The Complaints
(Paperback)
Ian Rankin
'The Complaints' is the second Ian Rankin novel since John Rebus, his police hero, retired in 'Exit Music', and Inspector Malcolm Fox, the hero of "The Complaints", shares Rebus's integrity and a dogged determination to get the job done. 'The Complaints' is the colloquial name for the section dedicated to detecting the most serious police offences and this Fox does with honesty and persistence, accepting that to work in The Complaints can make you a pariah to your colleagues. Rankin is a master at the integration of setting, plot, characters and the theme, which, for Rankin, is the moral dimension never far from his writing.
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Available Titles By This Author

Death Comes to Pemberley
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
A Taste for Death
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£7.99
 

Currently out of stock

Cover Her Face
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
Death of an Expert Witness
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£6.99
 

Currently out of stock

Shroud for a Nightingale
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£7.99
 
The Private Patient
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£7.99
 
Unnatural Causes
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
£7.99
 
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£7.99
 
Death of an Expert Witness
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
Devices and Desires
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
Innocent Blood
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
The Black Tower
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 
The Skull Beneath the Skin
(Paperback)
P. D. James
 
 
£8.99
 

Past Events for this Author

Latest Blog
#FoylesFive: Forlorn Festive Fiction
09/12/2016

Jay from our Birmingham branch gets us in the Christmas mood, or gets us moody for Christmas with his Forlorn Festive Fiction picks.

#FoylesFive: Non-Fiction Picture Books
07/12/2016

Matt from our web team tells us all about his favourite Non-Fiction children's books for this Christmas and beyond.

Damian Barr Revisits a Christmas Classic
06/12/2016

It’s Christmas so this month we had to choose Dickens’s classic festive ghost story, A Christmas Carol.

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