PD James- 1920 – 2014
Like many, many crime readers across the globe, I was saddened to hear of the death of P. D. James today- a consistently entertaining and hugely influential crime writer whose books have been a constant source of pleasure for readers and fellow authors alike. I can offer no better tribute to this remarkable writer than this selection of her finest moments broadcast across the BBC that perfectly illustrate her talent, integrity and the wonderful feistiness that defined her character. She will be greatly missed.
P D JAMES at the BBC
Famous for her detective Adam Dalgliesh, James penned more than 20 books which sold millions around the world, with many adapted for film and TV. Her best known novels include The Children of Men, The Murder Room and her Pride and Prejudice continuation Death Comes to Pemberley. BBC Arts presents a selection of PD James highlights from the archive.
PD James joined Sue Lawley in 2002 to share a pick of music she couldn’t do without. Her choices included the Agnus Dei from Faure’s Requiem, Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Gilbert & Sullivan, Is Life a Boon? from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard and A String of Pearls by Gerry Gray.
In 2003 she met James Naughtie and an audience of readers at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to discuss her novel Original Sin. Set in Wapping in London, the novel centres around the city’s oldest publishing house, Peverell Press, headquartered in a mock-Venetian palace on the River Thames.
PD James was a guest editor on the Radio 4 Today programme in December 2009. She lambasted Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General, over the high salaries received by senior executives, which the Sunday Times observed, “left him filleted like a fish.”
PD James appeared on Start the Week in 2009 to discuss her non-fiction title Talking About Detective Fiction, exploring the historical conventions of the crime novel. “However ambitious you are for your book as a novel… you still have to make it fair and give the reader a puzzle they can solve” she said.
To mark the reissue of The Maul and the Pear Tree, James joins Mark Lawson in 2010 to discuss her only book about a true crime. It was originally published in 1971. She explained here, in her 90th year, why she was sadly too nervous to write another Adam Dalgliesh novel.
A great Jane Austen fan, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice in 2013, PD James took part in a special edition of World Book Club. The author penned a murder mystery continuation of Austen’s novel, with Death Comes to Pemberly in 2011.
PD James (Getty)
PD James always rejected the notion that detective novels were not proper literature. She proved her point with a string of well-researched and beautifully constructed crime stories.