Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

P.D. James, R.I.P.

Nov 28, 2014

The Queen is dead. The Queen of Crime that is, P.D. James.

Ms. James, who passed away earlier this week, age 94, was the author of many much-admired crime novels, most of them featuring the poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh. I've enjoyed them all though my favourite remains Original Sin, probably because it is set in the book publishing industry and most of the characters come to work by boat.

If you wish to honour her memory you could do worse than read this interview in the Paris Review from 1995. "The only way to react is to get up in the morning and start the day by saying four or five vastly politically incorrect things before breakfast."

The Paris Review calls Dalgliesh "the most famous detective since Sherlock Holmes." I'm not sure how they could arrive at such a conclusion. Has someone done a poll? What about Maigret? Marple? Poirot? Nate the Great?