It is perfectly possible to remain within the constraints and conventions of the (crime and mystery) genre and be a serious writer, saying something true about men and women and their relationships and the society in which they live.

P.D. James -3 August 1920; died 27 November 2014

The Grand Dame of British crime fiction, P. D. James, died peacefully in her home in Oxford, England, this morning.  She was 94.

I met Lady Phillis Dorothy James of Holland Park in Bristol, England in May of 2012, where she gave a presentation on her latest novel, Death Comes to Pemberley,  at the UK Crime Writer’ Association’s Crimefest. She was sharp of mind and clear of soul, having lived a life of crime fiction writing for some fifty years. For any not in the know, P.D. James was the author of the famed Inspector Adam Dalgliesh series. Her crime novels explored religious and ethical dimensions rarely seen in crime fiction and even considered ‘passe’ in some circles. For this reason, she is one of my most revered authors, not only for her great artistry, but also for her refusal to bend with the winds of fashion. Spirituality and the nature of good and evil, such old fashioned phrases, were at the heart of her mysteries.

Her books always contained at least one religious character, a sign of her devotion to Anglicanism. This gave way to much discussion in her stories about the nature of good and evil, with Dalgliesh, the son of a vicar, often leading the way.(The Guardian Obituary)

I find that I cannot utter the conventional farewell, Rest in Peace, Lady James, because I couldn’t wish such a fate upon such an agile, perceptive, and critical mind. From the glimmers we have received from those chosen few who have experienced “Near Death Experiences,” it seems apparent that the life of the Spirit is one of lightning speed, ravishing intimacy, profound peace and instant comprehension – freed from the Death-Comes-to-PemberleyLivroconstraints of space time. The heart is at rest in stillness and silence, the profound silence of God, but the spirit is agile and electric. Lady James is now comprehending worlds within worlds within worlds. May she bring us a bit of that sublime peace and the infinite comprehension of things.

She was made a doctor of letters by more than half a dozen universities, and an honorary fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and of both Downing College and Girton College, Cambridge. She was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and president of the Society of Authors. (The Guardian Obituary)

Farewell, Lady James. Remember those of us left behind on this earthly pilgrimage, as you continue on your journey into the Heart of  Infinity. You will be missed.

One thought on “P.D. James Dies at 94

  1. A tribute worthy of the Grand Dame with a heart at rest in the silence of God and a spirit agile and electric. Wonderfully put, Richard.

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