P. D. James
|The Right Honourable
The Baroness James of Holland Park
|Born||Phyllis Dorothy James
3 August 1920
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Ernest Connor Bantry White, an Army doctor (m. 1941–1964, his death)|
|Children||2 daughters, Claire, (b. 1942) and Jane, (b. 1944)|
Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL (born 3 August 1920), commonly known as P. D. James, is an English crime writer and a life peer in the House of Lords. She is most famous for a series of detective novels starring policeman and poet Adam Dalgliesh.
Life and career
James had to leave school at the age of sixteen to work, because her family did not have much money and her father did not believe in higher education for girls. James worked in a tax office for three years, and later found a job as an assistant stage manager for a theatre group. In 1941, she married Ernest Connor Bantry White, an army doctor. They have two daughters, Claire and Jane.
When White returned from the Second World War, he was suffering from mental illness and James was forced to provide for the whole family until her husband's death in 1964. With White in a psychiatric institution and their daughters being mostly cared for by his parents, James studied hospital administration and from 1949 to 1968 worked for a hospital board in London.
James began writing in the mid-1950s. Her first novel, Cover Her Face, featuring the investigator and poet Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard, named after a teacher at Cambridge High School, was published in 1962. Many of James's mystery novels take place against the backdrop of the UK's bureaucracies, such as the criminal justice system and the National Health Service, in which James worked for decades starting in the 1940s. Two years after the publication of Cover Her Face, James's husband died and she took a position as a civil servant within the criminal section of the Home Office. James worked in government service until her retirement in 1979.
James is an Anglican and a Lay Patron of the Prayer Book Society. Her 2001 work, Death in Holy Orders, displays her familiarity with the inner workings of church hierarchy . Her later novels are often set in a community closed in some way, such as a publishing house or barristers' chambers, a theological college, an island or a private clinic.
Talking About Detective Fiction was published in 2009. Over her writing career James has also written many essays and short stories for periodicals and anthologies, which have yet to be collected. She revealed in 2011 that The Private Patient was the final Dalgliesh novel.
As guest editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme in December 2009, James conducted an interview of BBC Director General Mark Thompson, in which she seemed critical of some of his decisions. Regular Today presenter Evan Davis commented that "She shouldn't be guest editing; she should be permanently presenting the programme". In 2008, she was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame at the inaugural ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards.
Film and television
During the 1980s many of James's mystery novels were adapted for television by Anglia Television for the ITV network in the UK. These productions have been broadcast in other countries, including the USA on its PBS channel. These productions featured Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgliesh. According to P.D. James in conversation with Bill Link on 3 May 2001 at the Writer's Guild Theatre, Los Angeles, Roy Marsden "...is not my idea of Dalgliesh, but I would be very surprised if he were." The BBC has since adapted Death in Holy Orders (2003) and The Murder Room (2004) as one-off dramas starring Martin Shaw as Dalgliesh.
Her novel The Children of Men (1992) was the basis for the feature film Children of Men (2006), directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine. Despite substantial changes from the book, James was reportedly pleased with the adaptation and proud to be associated with the film.
Adam Dalgliesh mysteries
- 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)
Cordelia Gray mysteries
- Crime Times Three (1979), later reprinted as Three Complete Novels (1988), comprising Cover Her Face, A Mind to Murder, and Shroud for a Nightingale
- Murder in Triplicate (1980), later reprinted as In Murderous Company (1988), comprising Unnatural Causes, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, and The Black Tower
- Trilogy of Death (1984), comprising Innocent Blood, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, and The Skull Beneath the Skin
- A Dalgliesh Trilogy (1989), comprising Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower, and Death of an Expert Witness
- A Second Dalgliesh Trilogy (1993), comprising A Mind to Murder, A Taste for Death, and Devices and Desires
- An Adam Dalgliesh Omnibus (2008), comprising A Taste for Death, Devices and Desires, and Original Sin
- 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)
TV and film adaptations
- Death of an Expert Witness (1983)
- Shroud for a Nightingale (1984)
- Cover Her Face (1985)
- The Black Tower (1985)
- Unnatural Causes
- Original Sin
- A Taste For Death
- Devices and Desires
- A Mind to Murder
- A Certain Justice
- An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
- Death in Holy Orders (2003)
- The Murder Room (2004)
- Children of Men (feature film). (2006)
- Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
Selected awards and honours
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire, 1983
- Associate Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, 1986
- Life peerage, Baroness James of Holland Park, of Southwold in the County of Suffolk, 7 February 1991
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
- President of the Society of Authors 1997–
- University of Buckingham, 1992
- University of Hertfordshire, 1994
- University of Glasgow, 1995
- University of Essex, 1996
- University of Durham, 1998
- University of Portsmouth, 1999
- University of London, 1993
- St Hilda's College, Oxford, 1996
- Girton College, Cambridge, 2000
- Downing College, Cambridge, 2000
- Kellogg College, Oxford
- 1971 Best Novel Award, Mystery Writers of America (runner-up): Shroud for a Nightingale
- 1971 Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: Shroud for a Nightingale
- 1973 Best Novel Award, Mystery Writers of America (runner-up): An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
- 1975 CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: The Black Tower
- 1986 CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction: A Taste for Death
- 1986 Mystery Writers of America Best Novel Award (runner-up): 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! 1992: Devices and Desires
- 1999 Grandmaster Award, Mystery Writers of America
- 2002 WH Smith Literary Award (shortlist): Death in Holy Orders
- 2005 British Book Awards Crime Thriller of the Year (shortlist): The Murder Room
- 2007 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award (longlist): The Lighthouse
- 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 the Today programme
- Richard B Gidez. P. D. James. Twayne's English Authors Series, New York: Twayne, 1986.
- Norma Siebenheller. P. D. James. New York: Ungar, 1981.
- Ruth Rendell, a writer of detective fiction who is also a member of the House of Lords
- "P. D. James". Front Row. 3 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0211jrx. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- UK Parliament – Alphabetical List of Members.
- "Faber & Faber : P. D. James". Faber.co.uk. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- Emma Brockes, The Guardian profile: P D James – "Murder She Wrote", 3 March 2001. Accessed 20 January 2013
- The Guardian Paperback Writer Column – Why Detection? by P.D. James
- Reese, Jennifer (26 February 1998). "The Salon Interview – P.D. James – The Art of Murder". Salon. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
- "Why I am still an Anglican", Continuum, 2006, page 16
- Guardian interview, 2011
- Guardian review, 31 Dec 2009
- Allen, Katie (6 October 2008). "Rankin and P D James pick up ITV3 awards". theBookseller.com. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Children of Men at IMDB
- "P. D. James Pleased With Film Version of Children of Men". internetwritingjournal.com. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
- The London Gazette: . 11 June 1983.
- The London Gazette: . 13 February 1991.
- British Council contemporary writers
- "PD James wins BBC's Nick Clarke Award for journalism". New Statesman (UK). 12 October 2010.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: P. D. James|
- The British Council's Contemporary Writers. Accessed 2010-09-15
- Faber and Faber (U.K.), publisher. Accessed 2010-09-15
- Random House (U.S.), publisher. Accessed 2010-09-15
- Penguin Books (U.K.), publisher. Accessed 2010-09-15
- Shusha Guppy (Summer 1995). "P. D. James, The Art of Fiction No. 141". The Paris Review.
- The Guardian', 4-3-01. Accessed 2010-09-15
- The Sunday Herald newspaper (U.K.), 13-9-08. Accessed 2010-09-15
- CBC News broadcasting (Canada), 22-9-08. Accessed 2010-09-15
- The Globe and Mail (Canada), 30-1-09. Accessed 2010-09-15
- The Daily Telegraph newspaper (U.K.), 21-7-10. Accessed 2010-09-15
- The Independent newspaper (U.K.), 29-9-08. Accessed 2010-09-15
- The American Spectator magazine (U.S.), 4-1-10. Accessed 2010-09-15
- Extended audio discussion on Death Comes to Pemberley for the Faber website. Recorded October 2011.
- Video interview discussing Death Comes to Pemberley. Filmed October 2011.