Author of the Month

May 2021 – P.D James

I was searching for an author who wrote in a similar style to Agatha Christie (My favourite author. You can find out more about her here), I came across P.D James and decided to get a copy of one of her novels. It was an impulsive buy as I didn’t do enough in depth research (reading book reviews) about her books yet, but I am delighted to report that I have no regrets!.. And I am a very picky reader, so that says a lot. 😀🌈

Here is a bit about the author and her most notable novels, book series, characters and awards —>


Early life of the Author

Her full name is Phyllis Dorothy James and was born August 3, 1920 in Oxford, England. James attended the British School in Ludlow and Cambridge High School for Girls but had to leave school at sixteen to work because her family needed the money (Wikipedia).

She worked in a tax office for three years and then went on to work as an assistant stage manager for a theater group (Encyclopedia of World Biography). James married an army doctor in 1941, she was twenty-one years old. Her husband, Ernest Connor Bantry White, returned from WW2 mentally ill and was institutionalized (Wikipedia).

After completing her studies in hospital administration, she worked for a hospital board in London. She went on to work for the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department as well (Faber).

The Start of her writing Career

The first novel of P.D James was called “Cover her Face”, published in 1962 (The book I am reading at the moment so be prepared for a book review soon!). This is the first in a series of fourteen books to feature her character, Adam Dalgliesh, a Detective Chief Inspector from New Scotland Yard. This series is described as a mystery and thriller (BookSeriesInOrder.com).

Two years after her first novel was published, James’s husband died on August 5, 1964 (Wikipedia). It was only after the death of her husband that James began writing more frequently.

It was James’ employment background in the National Health sector, the Police Department and in the Criminal Policy Department that influenced her writing and helped to develop her powers of observation and thought (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Her experience helped in her description of police detective work and the procedures involved in both police and medical procedures.

It is James’ series of novels with the character Adam Dalgliesh that I most excited to read. I’m a huge fan of detective fiction and I pray that Dalgliesh doesn’t disappoint!

Dalgliesh is described as a gentleman detective and a true staple of the detective fiction of England (BookSeriesInOrder.com). I’m quite keen to read more books in this series as I would like to determine the character description of Dalgliesh for myself and to find out what his character progression approximates to.

BookSeriesInOrder.com lists the chronological order of the series.

Publication Order of Adam Dalgliesh Books
Cover Her Face-1962
A Mind to Murder-1963
Unnatural Causes-1967
Shroud for a Nightingale-1971
The Black Tower-1975
Death Of An Expert Witness-1977
A Taste for Death-1986
Devices and Desires-1989
Original Sin-1994
A Certain Justice-1997
Death in Holy Orders-2001
The Murder Room-2003
The Lighthouse-2005
The Private Patient-2008

Works Cited List

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “P.D. James”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 23 Nov. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/P-D-James. Accessed 30 April 2021.
SMITH,  JENNIFER and DE GRAAF,  MIA. “PD James, queen of crime fiction who gave the world detective Adam Dalgliesh, dies aged 94”. 30 April 2021. Associated Newspapers Ltd. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2851824/Acclaimed-crime-novelist-PD-James-dies-aged-94.html
“P.D. James”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 April 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._D._James
“P. D. James Biography”. Encyclopedia of World Biography, Advameg, Inc. 01 May 2021. https://www.notablebiographies.com/Ho-Jo/James-P-D.html
“P. D. James”. Faber, FABER & FABER. 01 May 2021. https://www.faber.co.uk/tutors/p-d-james/
McGraw, Graham. “ADAM DALGLIESH BOOKS IN ORDER”. BOOK SERIES IN ORDER. 01 May 2021. https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/adam-dalgliesh/

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