Peter James (writer)

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Peter James.jpg
Peter James in 2011
Born (1948-08-22) 22 August 1948 (age 68)
Nationality United Kingdom
Genre Crime fiction
Notable awards
  • 2012 Sussex Police, Outstanding Public Service Award
  • 2015 WHSmith, The Best Crime Author of all Time Winner
  • 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger recipient, the prestigious award by the Crime Writers Association
Spouse Lara James (m. 2015)
Relatives Jack James (father)
Cornelia Katz (mother)

Peter James (born 22 August 1948) is an international best-selling British writer of crime fiction. He was born in Brighton, the son of Cornelia James, the former glovemaker to Queen Elizabeth II.

Education and early career[edit]

James was educated at Charterhouse School and went on to Ravensbourne Film School. For a brief period of time whilst at film school James worked as Orson Welles' house cleaner. Subsequently he spent several years in North America, working as a screenwriter and film producer, beginning in Canada in 1970 working first as a gofer, then writer, on the children's television series Polka Dot Door.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Today he divides his life between his country home near Brighton, Sussex and his apartment in Notting Hill, London. His interests include criminology, science and the paranormal, as well as food and wine − he currently writes a monthly column for Sussex Life magazine. He also as self-confessed "petrol head", having owned many fast cars over the years, including four Aston Martins, AMG and Brabus Mercedes, a Bentley Continental GT Speed and two classic Jaguar E-Types. He holds an international racing licence, and has in the past competed in the Britcar series in both a Honda Accord and a former British Touring Car Championship SEAT Toledo. He currently races three historic cars, and his 1965 BMW 1800 Ti, with his co-driver Steve Soper, came 10th overall in the St Mary's Trophy in the Goodwood Revival in 2013. In 2016 he is continuing to race this BMW as well as his 1958 Fiat Abarth Evocation (which he will be co-driving with his wife Lara, who has recently passed her ARDS licence) and his 1958 Austin A35.



James has written 35 novels, including the International best-selling crime thriller series featuring Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, which have sold 18 million copies worldwide and have given him eleven consecutive UK Sunday Times number ones, as well as number ones in Germany, France, Russia and Canada, and he is also a New York Times best-seller. James's books have been translated into 37 languages. In the UK and US they are published by Macmillan Publishers. In 1993 Penguin Books published his novel Host on two floppy discs (in addition to conventional print formats) as has been called the world's first electronic novel; a copy of it is in the Science Museum.[2] James has written supernatural thrillers, spy fiction, science-based thrillers, a children's novel, and the novella The Perfect Murder which was 15 weeks at number one on iBooks, and 45 weeks in their top 10, was adapted by Shaun McKenna into a stage play which had a smash hit tour in 2014 and returned to stage in 2016 starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace. Dead Simple, the second adaptation of his work, also by Shaun McKenna toured nationwide during 2015 with an all-star cast including Tina Hobley, Jamie Lomas and Rik Makarem. It is also in development for both film and television. Not Dead Enough is his third stage adaptation, which will be touring nationwide from Jan 2017 starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore. James has served two consecutive terms as chairman of the UK Crime Writers Association, and is Overseas Vice-President of International Thriller Writers in the USA.

James was the Programming Chair for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in 2016, part of the Harrogate International Festivals portfolio.


James has been involved in 26 movies in writer and/or producing roles. Films on which he is credited include: Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, The Neptune Factor, Blue Blood, Malachi's Cove, The Blockhouse starring Peter Sellers, Spanish Fly starring Terry-Thomas and Leslie Phillips, A Different Loyalty starring Sharon Stone, The Bridge of San Luis Rey starring Robert De Niro, and The Statement starring Michael Caine.

In 2005 The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford and for which James was Executive Producer, had a Royal Premiere in the presence of Charles, Prince of Wales and received a BAFTA Award nomination. In 2006 the film also won the Silver Ribbon for Best Production Design (Migliore Scenografia) from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

Other work[edit]

James is Patron of the Sussex Police Charitable Trust, Patron of Brighton & Hove Samaritans, Patron of the Brighton Greyhound Owners Association Retired Greyhound Trust, Patron of Brighton and Hove Independent Mediation Service, Patron of Relate in Sussex, Patron of Terrys Cross House, Patron of Little Green Pig, National Co-Patron of Neighbourhood Watch, Co-Patron of Sussex Crimestoppers, Honorary Patron for the South Mid Sussex Community First Responders, Vice-President of The Old Police Cells Museum in Brighton. He is an Ambassador for Brighton University, and a Martlets Hospice Champion. He supports Action Medical Research (supported by the annual Peter James Golf Classic).[3] He also supports and works with The Reading agency, a charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers.

James and his publisher, Macmillan, donated a police car to Sussex Police in 2008[4] and donated a second one in 2014 on which the livery (alongside the Police markings) changes each year to match the jacket of his latest Roy Grace novel.


  • 1967 Charterhouse school poetry prize
  • 1969 Esquire Magazine International College Film Festival, The Island
  • 1974 Sitges International Horror Film Festival, Best Foreign Film for Dead of Night
  • 1999 Honorary Fellowship, FHS Emeritus award by the Hypnotherapy Society
  • 2000 Public Awareness of Science Award, runner up, Alchemist
  • 2004 BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice
  • 2004 Rose D'Or nomination at the Montreux Television Festival, Bedsitcom
  • 2005 Krimi-Blitz, Best Crime Writer of the year in Germany
  • 2006 Le Prix Polar International, Comme Une Tombe (French translation of Dead Simple)
  • 2007 Le Prix Cœur Noir at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines festival, Comme Une Tombe (French translation of Dead Simple)
  • 2007 Richard & Judy Galaxy British Book Awards – Crime Thriller of the Year, shortlisted, Looking Good Dead
  • 2007 Prix SNCF du Polar, shortlisted, La Mort Leur Va Si Bien (French translation of Looking Good Dead)
  • 2007 Le Grand Prix de littérature policère, shortlisted, La Mort Leur Va Si Bien (French translation of Looking Good Dead)
  • 2008 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, shortlisted, Not Dead Enough
  • 2008 ITV Crime Thriller Author of the Year, shortlisted, Not Dead Enough
  • 2009 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, shortlisted, Dead Man's Footsteps[5]
  • 2009 CWA Dagger in the Library, shortlisted
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate of Letters at the University of Brighton[6]
  • 2010 Sounds of Crime Award, best abridged and unabridged novel, Dead Tomorrow
  • 2010 Galaxy British Book Awards – Sainsbury Popular Fiction Book of the Year shortlisted, Dead Like You
  • 2010 Quick Reads Readers' Favourite Award, The Perfect Murder
  • 2011 Sounds of Crime Award, best abridged and unabridged novel, Dead Like You
  • 2011 ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Winner, People's Bestseller Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year
  • 2011 Barry Award, winner, Dead Man's Grip
  • 2012 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, shortlisted, Perfect People[7]
  • 2012 Sussex Police, Outstanding Public Service Award
  • 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards, Crime Thriller of the Year, shortlisted, Perfect People
  • 2013 Argus Outstanding Contribution to Sussex Award
  • 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards, Crime Thriller of the Year 2013 – shortlisted – Dead Man's Time
  • 2014 Sainsbury's eBook of the Year Award - Winner - Want You Dead
  • 2015 WHSmith. The Best Crime Author of all Time - Winner
  • 2015 Honorary Mastership of the Open University
  • 2015 Dagger in the Library UK Crime Writers' Association award for an author's body of work in British libraries (UK)[8] shortlisted
  • 2015 Dead Good Readers Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain - Winner - You Are Dead
  • 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger Award Recipient
  • 2016 Dead Good Readers Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series - Winner - Roy Grace


Roy Grace Novels

  • Dead Simple (2005)
  • Looking Good Dead (2006)
  • Not Dead Enough (2007)
  • Dead Man's Footsteps (2008)
  • Dead Tomorrow (2009)
  • Dead Like You (2010)
  • Dead Man's Grip (2011)
  • Not Dead Yet (2012)
  • Dead Man's Time (2013)
  • Want You Dead (2014)
  • You Are Dead (2015)
  • Love You Dead (2016)
  • Need You Dead (2017)

Other Novels

  • Dead Letter Drop (1981)
  • Atom Bomb Angel (1982)
  • Billionaire (1983)
  • Travelling Man (1984)
  • Biggles: The Untold Story (1986)
  • Possession (1988)
  • Dreamer (1989)
  • Sweet Heart (1991)
  • Twilight (1991)
  • Prophecy (1993)
  • Host (1994)
  • Alchemist (1996)
  • Getting Wired (1996)
  • The Truth (1997)
  • Denial (1998)
  • Faith (2000)
  • The Perfect Murder (2010)
  • Perfect People (2011)
  • Twist of the Knife (2014) (short story collection)
  • The House on Cold Hill (2015)
  • Absolute Proof (2017)


  • Death Comes Knocking - Policing Roy Grace's Brighton (2016)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter James delivers twice the thrills". 8 January 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "All Eight Roy Grace Novels by Peter James Now Available in e-Book Format in the United States". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Martin Smith (7 June 2008). "You're booked: The crime writer who is sponsoring a police car | Mail Online". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Shortlist for Theakston's Crime Novel of the year Award 2009". 2 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Crime writer Peter James to receive honorary doctorate". 24 July 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Charlotte Williams (15 October 2012). "Random House gets four nods for Wellcome Trust Book Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dagger in the Library". Dead Good Books. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 

External links[edit]