One of the most prolific and beloved of British crime novelists, P.D. James, passed away today in Oxford, England. Best known for her series of detective novels centering around Scotland Yard Commander/poet Adam Dagliesh, James was 94. Her non-Dagliesh book, Children Of Men, was the basis for Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 Oscar nominated film of the same name. She also recently was the impetus for Death Comes To Pemberley, a BBC and Masterpiece miniseries based on her novel that imagines Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice characters later in life and faced with a murderous scandal. Several of her earlier books were also transferred to the small screen including Death Of An Expert Witness, Unnatural Causes, A Taste For Death, Devices And Desires, A Mind To Murder and Death In Holy Orders.
Phyllis Dorothy James White was born in Oxford in 1920 and began writing in the mid-50s. Her first Dagliesh novel, Cover Her Face, was published in 1962. In 1991, she became Baroness James of Holland Park, but was better known as “the Queen of Crime.” Her publisher, Faber & Faber, today announced her passing with the following statement: “This is a very sad day for us at Faber. It is difficult to express our profound sadness at losing P.D. James, one of the world’s great writers and a Faber author since her first publication in 1962. She was so very remarkable in every aspect of her life, an inspiration and great friend to us all. It is a privilege to publish her extraordinary books. Working with her was always the best of times, full of joy. We will miss her hugely.”