James, P D

Tagged: Author

(1920-    ) UK writer whose detective novels, beginning with Cover Her Face (1962) and generally featuring Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard, comprise a literate, conservative, elegiac defence of traditional English civility; her one sf novel, The Children of Men (1992), filmed as Children of Men (2006), carries that bent of mind into a twenty-first-century Britain crippled by universal human infertility and dominated by a dictatorial "Warden". The ending – couched in guardedly Christian terms – offers some chance of redemption from what is very close to a classic Dystopia, though laced with melodrama. James endured some controversy for her insistence that the tale – whose resemblances to Brian W Aldiss's Greybeard (1964) had been noted – was not actually sf. P D James was made OBE in 1983 and created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991. [JC]

Phyllis Dorothy James

born Oxford, Oxfordshire: 3 August 1920




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