Legendary crime writer P.D. James was born on this day in 1920. James was the author of twenty books and the recipient of many honors, including the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, and in 1991 was created Baroness James of Holland Park. She died in 2014.
We’re celebrating one hundred years of this incredible author with book recommendations. Whether you’re a regular crime reader or tend more toward the classics, we’ve got a read for you.
You’ve Never Read P.D. James before:
A Certain Justice
When distinguished criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge defends a young man for the brutal murder of his mother, she views the case as simply another opportunity to demonstrate her brilliance in the courtroom. But within weeks of the trial Aldridge is found dead at her desk, a bloodstained barrister’s wig on her head. And as Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard attempts to make sense of events, the murders continue, inexorably spiraling into fresh complexities of horror.
You Love a Dystopian:
The Children of Men
The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.
You Want to Know What Happened After the End of Pride and Prejudice:
Death Comes to Pemberley
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 favorable. And preparations for their annual 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.
You Only Have Half an Hour:
Sleep No More
When it comes to crime, it’s not always a question of “who dunnit?” Sometimes there’s more mystery in the why or the how. And what about the clever few who carry out what appears to be the perfect crime? Or whose most essential selves are changed by the crimes they commit? And what about those who know the identity of the murderer but keep the information to themselves? These are some of the questions that these six stories begin to unlock as they draw us into the inner workings—the thoughts and emotional machinations, the recollections and rationalizations, the dreams and desires—behind both murderous cause and effect. And no one gets inside the head of a perpetrator—or makes it a peerlessly thrilling and entertaining read—like the incomparable P. D. James.