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About the Author
Respected as one of the greats of modern crime writing, Phyllis Dorothy James (1920-2014), known as P. D. James, came to fame for her mystery series starring New Scotland Yard Commander and poet, Adam Dalgliesh. She was also the author of a number of stand-along novels including The Children of Men, which was the basis for the movie Children of Men, and Death Comes to Pemberly, which was adapted into a BBC mini-series. Many of her Adam Dalgliesh books were also adapted for television. In 1991 she was created Baroness James of Holland Park. She died in 2014.
Date of Birth:August 3, 1920
Place of Birth:Oxford, England
Education:Attended the Cambridge High School for Girls from 1931 to 1937 and later took evening classes in hospital administration
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For Unnatural Causes -A lot of this was familiar to me so that I think I read this once before. Either that or the fact that it¿s basically the same locale as Devices and Desires and even featured a couple of the same characters. There is something about the way James creates that setting that is so palpable. Yes, she does describe scenery and weather and surroundings, but she never goes overboard with it. Her writing transports me to that world and I¿m kind of jealous of the people who live in it. Except for the murder part.Another thing that I love is the semi-archaic means and methods peppered throughout. They are not special as the things mentioned were completely common and uninteresting at the time. Only from this period, 40 years in the future, do they become noteable and rather quaint. The use of carbon paper to make copies of documents written on mechanical typewriters. For those who could not type, the use of dictating equipment and a personal secretary was necessary. Then there is the constant letter writing and the special emphasis put on telephone calls. Funny and charming in an unintentional way.As in some of the other installments, Dalgliesh is not the official investigator of the crime at hand. Instead he is on holiday and a crime just happens to take place while he¿s there. This is our first meeting of his formidable Aunt Jane, but she does not help solve the crime as above. Adam does, but only because he gets caught in a situation that forces the killer to act. Perhaps if he had shared some of his suspicions with the official investigator, some of what occurred could have been avoided.But Dalgliesh is very conscious of his presence on the headland and his proximity to the case. He is superior in rank to the investigating officer, but has no official role and is viewed more as a rival than as an asset. There are no cozy confidences or bouncing of ideas from Inspector Reckless. Instead his dealings with Dalgliesh are those of cop and citizen. Not quite suspect, but he gets very little in the way of special treatment. Neither man likes the other and they both know it, but they do respect the other¿s abilities.The case wraps up fairly typically of James ¿ one of the horde of closely tied suspects is guilty. Many clues are given for us to ferret it out. There is more than one death. Each of the suspects presents his or her side of things and perspective on the deceased. There¿s an omnipotence to the writing that allows this. Great stuff.