​Passage: Mystery writer P.D. James

It happened this past week . . . the passing of the writer widely regarded as "The Queen of Crime."

For we learned of the death in England of Phyllis Dorothy James White . . . known to her readers as P.D. James.

She first showed her hand at an early age when, after hearing the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty," she wondered: "Did he fall, or was he pushed?"

However, it was not until age 42 that she published "Cover Her Face," the first of her 18 murder mysteries.

Erin Moriarty talked to P.D. James back in 2011:

Moriarty: "Do you have any idea of how many untimely deaths have happened at your hand?"
James: "Quite a number!"

By that time James had long won critical praise for the high literary quality of her writing:

"You can be a good novelist and you can say something true about men and women and the society in which we live, as well as providing a good and credible and exciting mystery."

Several of her stories provided not just a good read, but good television as well , as in "The Murder Room," a BBC production seen here on the PBS "Mystery" series, with Martin Shaw as police Commander Adam Dalgliesh.

Given her popularity, and her years of public service, including a stint as a wartime Red Cross nurse, it's no mystery why she was made a baroness in 1991.

P.D. James . . . Baroness James of Holland Park . . . was 94.

Books by P.D. James:



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