P. D. James, the undisputed queen of mystery, gives us an intriguing, inspiring and idiosyncratic look at the genre she has spent her life perfecting.
Examining mystery from top to bottom, beginning with such classics as Charles Dickens's Bleak House and Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, and then looking at such contemporary masters as Colin Dexter and Henning Mankell, P. D. James goes right to the heart of the genre. Along the way she traces the lives and writing styles of Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, and many more. Here is P.D. James discussing detective fiction as social history, explaining its stylistic components, revealing her own writing process, and commenting on the recent resurgence of detective fiction in modern culture. It is a must have for the mystery connoisseur and casual fan alike.
About the Author
P. D. James was the author of twenty books, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She was 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.
“[P.D. James’s] literary sensibility—calm observation and exact description—is on ample display here.”—Wall Street Journal
“An avid book-length essay on the roots, ethics and methods of the detective story . . . Her opinions are often surprising and determinedly contrary . . . Refreshingly outspoken.”—New York Times
“An amiable, personal appreciation of the genre by someone who has been one of its most accomplished and popular exponents.”—The Times, London
“It’s like sitting across from P. D. James over tea, and that, naturally, is a delight.”—Booklist
“Anyone who is interested in P. D. James’s own fiction will want to read this, but it stands in its own right as a deeper, more thoughtful enquiry into what it is we get out of detective fiction . . . Elegant and thoughtful.”—The Independent, London
"A master class on British mysteries . . . It's hard to imagine a better guide."--Christian Science Monitor
“Talking About Detective Fiction has biblical heft. . . . The style is clean, thoughtful and full of grace. . . . Incisive.”—New York Times Book Review
"Fascinating. . . . Her writing shows a vast knowledge and abiding love for the genre she describes."—USA Today
“P. D. James is the undisputed grande dame of the modern mystery . . . She presents an energetic, insightful, and often witty history of the genre.”—Boston Globe