Oxford, Reino Unido , 1920 - Oxford, Reino Unido , 2014

P. D. James was born in Oxford 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 was used in her novels, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts and served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She was an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and The National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She 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, stepping down from the post in August 2013.

 

Carmen Balcells Literary Agency represents the author for Spanish language and Portuguese language (Portugal).

Bibliography

Novel

In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor, her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favourable. And preparations for their autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state –shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same.

« This book had its beginnings in December 2006, when, at the request of the Bodleian's Publishing Department, the then Librarian invited me to write a book on British detective fiction in aid of the Library. As a native of Oxford I had known from early childhood that the Bodleian Library is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the world, and I replied that I was very happy to accept the invitation but must finish the novel on which I was then working. The book which I was privileged to write now makes its somewhat belated appearance. I was relieved that the subject proposed was one of the few on which I felt competent to pontificate, but I hope that the many references to my own methods of working won't be seen as hubris; they are an attempt to answer some of the questions most frequently asked by my readers and are unlikely to be new to audiences who have heard me speaking about my work over the years—nor, of course, to my fellow crime-writers. » P.D. James

 

On November the twenty-first, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there in a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision which would lead inexorably to her death. Later that day she was to lunch at The Ivy. The timing of the two appointments was fortuitous. Mr. Chandler-Powell had no earlier date to offer and the luncheon later with Robin Boyton, booked for twelve-forty-five, had been arranged two months previously; one did not expect to get a table at The Ivy on impulse. She regarded neither appointment as a birthday celebration. This detail of her private life, like much else, was never mentioned. She doubted whether Robin had discovered her date of birth or would much care if he had. She knew herself to be a respected, even distinguished journalist, but she hardly expected her name to appear in theTimes list of VIP birthdays.

A secure and secluded retreat for the rich and powerful becomes the setting for an unsettling series of murders. Combe Island of the Cornish coast is a restful haven for the elite. But when one of its distinguished visitors is found hanging from the island’s famous lighthouse in what appears to have been a murder, the peace is shattered. Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to handle the sensitive case, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. He is uncertain about his future with his girlfriend Emma Lavenham ; his principle detective Kate Miskin is going through an emotional crisis ; and the ambitious Sergeant  Francis Benton-Smith is not happy about having a female boss. After a second brutal killing, the whole investigation is jeopardized, and Dalgliesh is faced with a danger even more insidious than a murder.

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?

In 2004, this novel was adapted for BBC television and starred Martin Shaw as Adam Dalgliesh and Janie Dee as Emma Lavenham.

 

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 ...

The tenth novel to feature commander Adam Dalgliesh,  A Certain Justice is a chilling murder mystery packed with forensic detail, set in the treacherous legal world of London.

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.

 

The Peverell Press, a two-hundred-year-old publishing firm housed in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames, is certainly ripe for change. But the proposals of its ruthlessly ambitious new managing director, Gerard Etienne, have made him dangerous enemies - a discarded mistress, a neglected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues and staff. When Gerard's body is discovered bizarrely desecrated, there is no shortage of suspects and Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of extraordinary complexity and a murderer who is prepared to strike again.

 

 

Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiatt, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably, as he faces agonising choices which could affect the future of mankind.

Children of Men was adapted into a hit film in 2006, directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Clive Owen, Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.

When Commander 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. A serial killer known as the Whistler is terrorising the neighbourhood and Dalgliesh is drawn into the lives of the headlanders when it quickly becomes apparent that the Whistler isn't the only murderer at work under the sinister shadow of the power station.

This novel was adapted for BBC television in 1984 and starred Roy Marsden as the inspector protagonist Adam Dalgliesh.

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. 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.

A Taste for Death, won the Silver Dagger award for crime fiction and was adapted into a BBC television series starring Roy Marsden as the inspector protagonist Adam Dalgliesh.

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 ofThe 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 forever. Philippa embarks on a thrilling investigation, 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, blood ties, guilt and revenge.

 

 

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 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.

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.
This novel was adapted into an ITV television series in 1983 and starred Roy Marsden, Geoffrey Palmer and Ray Brooks.

 

Award-winning P. D. James, one of the masters of crime fiction, 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, 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.

 

 

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.

P.D. James 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.

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.

Amongst the blackmail, lies and hastily kept 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.

The novel was adapted for television in 1984, with Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgliesh and Joss Ackland as the surgeon, Stephen Courtney-Briggs.

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 wind-swept walks, tea in front of the crackling wood fire and hot buttered toast, 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. 

The novel was adapted into a hit film in 1993, starring Roy Marsden, Simon Chandler and Kenneth Colley.

 A piercing scream, shattering the evening calm, brings Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh hurrying from his literary party to the nearby Steen Psychiatric Clinic, where he discovers the body of a woman sprawled on the basement floor, a chisel thrust through her heart.

As Dalgliesh probes beneath the apparently unruffled calm of the clinic, he discovers that many an intrigue lies hidden behind the Georgian terrace's unassuming façade. Professionally, he has never known the taste of failure. Now, for the first time, he feels unsure of his own mastery as he battles to unmask a cool killer who is proving to be his intellectual equal, and who is poised to strike again.

A Mind To Murder is the second novel to feature Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh. In 1995 the novel was adapted into a hit film and starred Roy Marsden as the inspector protagonist.

 

 

The debut novel that introduced Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh. Set in the peaceful English countryside, Cover Her Face is a classic murder mystery.

St Cedd's Church fête 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 Eleanor Maxie on that mellow July afternoon, she also has to contend with the news of her son's sudden engagement to the new parlour maid, Sally Jupp. On the following morning Martingale and the village are shocked by the discovery of Sally's body.

Investigating the violent death at the manor house, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh becomes embroiled in the complicated passions beneath the calm surface of English country life.

 

 

Biography / Memoirs

 

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, 'a time to be in earnest', as Dr Johnson said at the comparable moment of his very different life two centuries ago. In recording the events, thoughts and reflections of her present, Baroness James has found herself simultaneously remembering the past of her remarkable career. She recalls what it was like to be a schoolgirl in the 1920s and 1930s in Cambridge, then giving birth to her second daughter during the worst of the Doodlebug bombardment in London during the war, working as an administrator in the National Health Service, entering the Home Office in the forensic and criminal justice departments, serving 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. During this busy year she also published one of her most intriguing and carefully researched books, A Certain Justice. This record of twelve months in a life of creativity and public service, told with honesty and perception, will enthral aficionados of detective fiction. It will also appeal to those who themselves have lived through the turbulent years of the twentieth century.

 

 

 

Prizes

1972 -Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: Shroud for a Nightingale

1976 - CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: The Black Tower

1983- Officer of the Order of the British Empire

1987 - CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: A Taste for Death

1987 - CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger (lifetime achievement award)

1992 - Deo Gloria Award: The Children of Men

1992 - The Best Translated Crime Fiction of the Year in Japan, Kono Mystery ga Sugoi! 1992Devices and Desires

1999 - Grandmaster Award, Mystery Writers of America

2002 - WH Smith Literary Award (shortlist): Death in Holy Orders

2008 - Premio Carvalho (Spain)

2009 - Premio Terenci Moix (Spain)

2010 - Best Critical Nonfiction Anthony Award for Talking About Detective Fiction

2010 - Nick Clarke Award for interview with Director-General of the BBC Mark Thompson whilst guest editor of Today  radio programme.

 

Honours

1983- Officer of the Order of the British Empirehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Officer_of_the_Order_of_the_British_Empire

1986 - Associate Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, 1986

1991 - LIfe peerage, Baroness James of Holland Park, of Southwold in the County of Suffolk

Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

1997 – 2013 President of the Society of Authors