My only regret is that I shan't be alive to savour my retrospective triumph. But that is of small account. I savour it every day of my life. I shall have done the one thing I resolved to do when I was twelve years old - and the world will know it. Follow the 'Queen of Crime' as she takes us into the mind of a man who has waited decades to enact his patient, ingenious revenge on a school bully.
'On the whole, it was easier than I had expected. Only once did I feel myself at risk. That was when the Inspector suddenly intervened. He said in a harsh voice: "He married your wife, didn't he? Took her away from you some people might say. Nice piece of goods, too, by the look of her. Didn't you feel any grievance?" I had been expecting this question. I knew exactly what I would say.' The late, great P. D. James takes us inside the mind of a murderer.
The acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P. D. James, was a past master of the short story, weaving together motifs of the Golden Age of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories contained four of these perfectly formed stories, and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time. As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution. The punishments inflicted on the guilty are fittingly severe, but here they are meted out by the unseen forces of natural justice rather than the institutions of the law. Once again, P. D. James shows her expert control of the short-story form, conjuring motives and scenarios with complete conviction, and each with a satisfying twist in the tail.
P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a short story for Christmas, and four of the best have been drawn from the archives and published here together for the first time. From the title story about a strained country-house Christmas party, to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, plus two cases for detective Adam Dalgliesh, these are masterfully atmospheric stories by the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime'.
St Cedd's Church fete has been held in the grounds of Martingale manor house for generations. As if organising stalls, as well as presiding over luncheon, the bishop and the tea tent, were not enough for Mrs Maxie on that mellow July afternoon, she also has to contend with the news of her son's sudden engagement to her new parlour maid, Sally Jupp. On the following morning the village are shocked by the discover of Sally's body. Investigating the violent death at the manor house, Detective Chief-Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is embroiled in the complicated passions beneath the calm surface of English village life.
When Commander Dalgliesh is persuaded by an old friend to visit the Dupayne, a small private museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath, he can have no idea that he will return to it one week later under very different circumstances. Even before the murder, the museum was in tumult.
Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead. Commander Adam Dalgliesh is called in to investigate.
Acts is the sequel to Luke's gospel and tells the story of Jesus's followers during the 30 years after his death. It describes how the 12 apostles, formerly Jesus's disciples, spread the message of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean against a background of persecution. With an introduction by P.D. James
St Cedd's Church fete had been held in the grounds of Martingale manor house for generations. As if organizing stalls, as well as presiding over luncheon, the bishop and the tea tent, were not enough for Mrs Maxie on that mellow July afternoon, she also had to contend with the news of her son's sudden engagement to her new parlour maid, the sly single mother, Sally Jupp. On the following morning Martingale and the whole village are shocked by the discovery of Sally Jupp's body. Investigating the violent death at the manor house, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh is embroiled in the complicated passions beneath the calm surface of English village life
Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh had been looking forward to a quiet holiday at his aunt's cottage on Monksmere Head, one of the furthest-flung spots on the remote Suffolk coast. With nothing to do other than enjoy long wind-swept walks, tea in front of the crackling wood fire and hot buttered toast, Dalgliesh was relishing the thought of a well-earned break.
However, all hope of peace is soon shattered by murder. The mutilated body of a local crime writer, Maurice Seaton, floats ashore in a drifting dinghy to drag Adam Dalgliesh into a new and macabre investigation.
The young women of Nightingale House are there to learn to nurse and comfort the suffering. But when one of the students plays patient in a demonstration of nursing skills, she is horribly, brutally killed. Another student dies equally mysteriously and it is up to Adam Dalgliesh to unmask a killer who has decided to prescribe murder as the cure for all ills
Commander Dalgliesh is recuperating from a life-threatening illness when he receives a call for advice from an elderly friend who works as a chaplain in a home for the disabled on the Dorset coast. Dalgliesh arrives to discover that Father Baddeley has recently and mysteriously died, as has one of the patients at Toynton Grange. Evidently the home is not quite the caring community it purports to be. Dalgliesh is determined to discover the truth of his friend's death, but further fatalities follow and his own life is in danger as he unmasks the evil at the heart of Toynton Grange.
'More expertise from P. D. James. The writing is excellent, the pitch of final terror beautifully sustained.' Evening Standard 'She writes like an angel. Every character is clearly drawn. Her atmosphere is unerringly, chillingly convincing. And she manages all this without for a moment slowing down the drive and tension of an exciting mystery.' Marcel Berlins, The Time
When a young girl is found murdered in a field, the scientific examination of the exhibits is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggatt's forensic science laboratory. But nothing could have prepared them for the brutal death of one of their own. When the senior biologist is found dead in his laboratory Commander Dalgliesh is called to the bleak fens of East Anglia, where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again.
A Cordelia Gray Mystery Meet Cordelia Gray: twenty-two, tough, intelligent and now sole inheritor of the Pryde Detective Agency. Her first assignment finds her hired by Sir Ronald Callender to investigate the death of his son Mark, a young Cambridge student found hanged in mysterious circumstances. Required to delve into the hidden secrets of the Callender family, Cordelia soon realizes it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister
At eighteen, Philippa Palfrey, the confident adopted daughter of a celebrated academic, exercises her right to find the names of her real parents. What she uncovers is a terrible secret that will for ever change her life.
'Remarkable ... could be read as a mainstream novel, and a considerable one.' The Times 'As suspenseful and tautly written as any of her detective stories - the psychological twists and turns will tantalize the reader as cunningly as a well-placed clue.' New York Time
A Cordelia Gray Mystery Hired to protect a beautiful but neurotic actress, Cordelia Gray soon becomes embroiled in a case as dangerous to her own life as it is mysterious.
Clarissa Lisle hopes to make a spectacular comeback in a production of The Duchess of Malfi, to be played in Ambrose Gorringe's sinister castle at Courcy Island. Cordelia is there to ensure her safety following the appearance of a number of poison-pen letters. But it soon becomes clear that all are in danger. Trapped within the walls of the Gothic castle, the treacherous past of the island re-emerges, and everyone seems to have a motive for sending Clarissa 'down, down to hell'.
Marking the return of Cordelia Gray, The Skull beneath the Skin is a complex mystery which more than lives up to its predecessor, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Two men lie in a welter of blood in the vestry of St Matthew's Church, Paddington, their throats brutally slashed. One is Sir Paul Berowne, a baronet and Minister of the Crown, the other an alcoholic vagrant. Dalgliesh and his team, set up to investigate crimes of particular sensitivity, are faced with a case of extraordinary complexity.