Friday, November 28, 2014

Rest in Peace P.D. James: 'The thing about being a writer is you need to write.'


P.D. James, one of the world's greatest crime writers, died on November 27th. The British writer was 94. My mystery-loving mother introduced me to James and her series of books featuring Scotland Yard's Adam Dagliesh, a complex poetry-writing detective, a few decades ago. Several of the Dagliesh books have been adapted for film and television including Death of an Expert Witness, Shroud for a Nightingale, Original Sin, Murder Room, Cover Her Face, Death in Holy Orders and The Black Tower.


One of her James' non-Dagliesh books Children Of Men, became Alfonso Cuaron's 2006 Oscar nominated film of the same name starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Chiwetel Ejiofor.


Her final book, Death Comes to Pemberley, the novel that imagines Austen's Pride and Prejudice' Darcy and Elizabeth later in life and embroiled in a murder scandal, has been adapted for television by the BBC with Matthew Rhys and Anna Martin Maxwell as Darcy and Elizabeth. I haven't been able to see this yet but I intend to.


Published in 2011, James told NPR the novel "combined my two great enthusiasms. One is for the novels of Jane Austen and the second is for writing detective fiction."


Affectionately called the Queen of Crime, James didn't publish her first novel until she was in her early forties. About writing as she grew older, James had this to say ...
"With old age, it becomes very difficult. It takes longer for the inspiration to come, but the thing about being a writer is that you need to write," she said. 
"I hope I would know myself whether a book was worth publishing. I think while I am alive, I shall write. There will be a time to stop writing but that will probably be when I come to a stop, too."

Rest in Peace P.D. James; I like the image of you in your last days with a pen in your hand.

Oh and on the off chance heaven is real, would you please give my mother a hug for me? If she's not working in the garden, chances are you'll find her reading one of your books.

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