Queen of Crime, P. D. James, dies at 94

Cover her faceP D James, one of the greats of crime fiction, has died aged 94.

She was the creator of the ‘suave, cerebral police officer’, Adam Dalgliesh.

Introduced to readers in 1962 in Cover Her Face , he was the intellectual, poetry writing senior Metropolitan Police officer. Dalgliesh was in the tradition of ‘the gentleman detective’, epitomised by Lord Peter Wimsey and Albert Campion.

He would feature in most of her crime novels, though she did write about Cordelia Grey, a Death comes to Pemberleyfemale private detective in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and The Skull beneath the Skin.

She also wrote pastiche of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes To Pemberley, in 2011, in which Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet become embroiled in a murder-mystery. It was adapted as a mini series for TV as a Christmas special last year.

Her 1992 novel, Children of Men, was set in an England of 2021 where mass infertility threatened the future of the population. The book was adapted for film and was nominated for an Oscar in 2006.

She rejected the idea that crime novels were not ‘proper literature’, and her wonderfully written stories prove her point.