P. D. James was the grand dame of British mystery writing when she died in 2014 at age 94. She published her first mystery in 1961, following the Golden Age traditions of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh.
James is best known for her series featuring Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, a poet as well as a detective. The books are all set in some kind of closed society -- an adaptation of the "closed room" mystery. She also has two mysteries starring Cordelia Gray, stand-alone novels, a book of four Christmas short stories, and non-fiction books.
She was appointed OBE in 1983. In 1991, she was made a life peer as Lady James of Holland Park.
I've now read 12 of James's books. Unusual for me, all but one with my ears. The audiobook editions are particularly good and readily available from my library.
Those I have read are in red; those currently on my TBR shelf are in blue.
ADAM DALGLIESH MYSTERIES
Cover Her Face (1962) (country house)
A Mind to Murder (1963) (private mental hospital)
Unnatural Causes (1967) (writers' colony)
Shroud for a Nightingale (1971) (nursing school)
The Black Tower (1975) (reviewed here) (adult care home)
Death of an Expert Witness (1977) (forensic lab)
A Taste for Death (1986) (parish church)
Devices and Desires (1989) (community with a nuclear power plant)
Original Sin (1994) (publishing house)
A Certain Justice (1997) (inns of court)
Death in Holy Orders (2001)
The Murder Room (2003)
The Lighthouse (2005)
The Private Patient (2008)
CORDELIA GRAY MYSTERIES
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972)
The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982)
Innocent Blood (1980)
The Children of Men (1992)
Death Comes to Pemberley (2011)
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories (2016)
The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811 (1971), with Thomas A. Critchley
Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography (1999)
Talking About Detective Fiction (2009)
If you have written about P. D. James or reviewed her books and would like me to link your post here, please leave a comment with a link to your post and I will list it.
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