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P.D. James
MWA's 1999 Grand Master
"A first-class novelist...with a literary flair and an eye as perceptive as her heart."
  -- New York Times Book Review


P.D. JamesP.D. James is the author of fifteen best-selling, critically acclaimed books, nine of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in Great Britain and the United States. In a 1995 review of her novel Original Sin, Booklist commented: "Like a poet committed to sonnets in an age of free verse, P. D. James continues to show the younger, more rambunctious crime writers...that there's still some life left in the classical detective story. Of course, it helps when the sleuth injecting most of that life is the inimitable, ever-suave Adam Dalgleish, critically acclaimed poet and Scotland Yard commander..."

P.D. James (Phyllis Dorothy James White) was born in Oxford, England in 1920. Although she always wanted to be a writer, WWII put a detour in her career path. She spent thirty years in various sections of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of the Home Office. James has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. She retired from the Civil Service in 1972.

James publisher her first novel, Cover Her Face, in 1962. It is the first of her ten books to feature Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh, a cerebral, reserved detective who is also a published poet. Her latest Dalgliesh novel is Certain Justice.

Cordelia Gray, a minor character in the Dalgliesh series, became the protagonist of James' 1972 bestseller, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. The young, newly-fledged female P.I. returned in James' The Skull Beneath the Skin.

The Christian Science Monitor writes, "One reads a P. D. James novel in something like the same spirit one reads a novel by Zola, Balzac, Thackeray, or Dickens." Certainly other critics and a wide readership agree with this assessment. Rarely has a mystery writer been accorded such respect in the literary world.

P.D. James is the recipient of many literary prizes and honors. A three-time winner of the British Crime Writers' Association's Silver Dagger, she has also been awarded their John Creasey Award for best first novel and in 1987 received the Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts as well as the recipient of several honorary doctorates in literature. In 1983 she was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire; in 1991 she was created Baroness James of Holland Park.

In 1999, the Mystery Writers of America bestowed upon her their highest honor, the Grand Master Award, for lifetime achievement in mystery writing.


The Commander Adam Dalgliesh Novels
A Scotland Yard detective and published poet
Cover Her Face, 1962 ISBN: 0446312215
A Mind to Murder, 1963 ISBN: 0446314803
Unnatural Causes, 1967 ISBN: 0446312193
Shroud for a Nightingale, 1971 ISBN: 0446313033
The Black Tower, 1975 ISBN: 0446315028
Death of an Expert Witness, 1977 ISBN: 0446314722
A Taste for Death, 1986 ISBN: 0446323527
Devices and Desires, 1989 ISBN: 0446359750
Original Sin, 1994 ISBN: 0446602345
Certain Justice, 1997 0-345-43057-3

The Cordelia Gray Novels
A female P.I. in London
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, 1972 ISBN: 0446315176
The Skull Beneath the Skin, 1982 ISBN: 0446353728

Other Works
Innocent Blood, 1980 ISBN: 0446311774
The Children of Men, 1992 ISBN: 0446364622

All 1999 Nominees  >>