P.D. James

P.D. James BBC Radio Drama Collection
  • P.D. James BBC Radio Drama Collection

    • P.D. James

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Greta Scacchi (Read by)

    • Hugh Grant (Read by)

    • Judi Bowker (Read by)

    • Philip Franks (Read by)

    • Richard Derrington (Read by)

    • Robin Ellis (Read by)

    • Siân Phillips (Read by)

    Seven BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations of P.D. James’ acclaimed mysteries, plus P.D. James In Her Own Words

    This collection includes:

    Cover Her Face
    P.D. James' debut novel, introducing her famous detective Adam Dalgliesh. Starring Robin Ellis as Dalgliesh.

    A Taste for Death
    Dalgliesh investigates when two bodies are found murdered at a London church. Starring Richard Derrington as Dalgliesh.

    Devices and Desires
    Dalgliesh hunts a serial killer in desolate Norfolk. Starring Robin Ellis as Dalgliesh.

    A Certain Justice
    Dalgliesh probes the murder of a brilliant criminal lawyer. Starring Philip Franks as Dalgliesh.

    The Private Patient
    Dalgliesh investigates a high-profile murder at an exclusive cosmetic surgery clinic. Starring Richard Derrington as Dalgliesh.

    An Unsuitable Job For A Woman
    An eminent scientist hires private detective Cordelia Gray to discover why his son committed suicide. Starring Judi Bowker as Cordelia Gray.

    The Skull Beneath the Skin
    With her life in danger, actress Clarissa Lisle turns to private detective Cordelia Gray. Starring Greta Scacchi as Cordelia Gray.

    Among the supporting cast in these classic dramas are Siân Phillips, Hugh Grant, Anna Massey and Geraldine James.

    Also included is a bonus audio documentary, P.D. James In Her Own Words, in which the author discusses her professional career and private life.

Phyllis Dorothy James (Baroness James of Holland Park) was born in Oxford on 3 August 1920, the eldest of three children. She was educated at Cambridge Girls' High School but was not given the option of attending university. At sixteen, she followed in her father's footsteps and worked in a tax office in Ely. In 1940 she met Connor White, a young medical student. They married and moved to London, and after qualifying he was drafted into the Royal Army Hospital Corps, serving abroad before returning home mentally ill. With two young daughters to support, James worked as a clerk in the NHS for £5 a week and went to evening school to attain her hospital administration diploma. After qualifying she quickly moved up the civil service ladder. She also began writing - getting up at 5am and working at weekends to complete her first novel, Cover Her Face, which was published in 1963. The book was critically praised but didn't provide enough money to live on. The following year, her husband died. James continued working in the civil service, and in 1968 she took a job at the Home Office, where she was initially involved with forensic investigations and later moved to the criminal policy unit. These positions contributed to the strong factual detail for which her books are well known. She built up a following with a string of novels including A Mind to Murder (1963), Unnatural Causes (1967), Shroud for a Nightingale (1971) and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972). But it was the American publication of her novel Innocent Blood, in 1980, that pushed her onto the bestseller lists and gave her the financial freedom to support herself solely through writing. Her later books include The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982), Devices and Desires (1989), Original Sin (1994), A Certain Justice (1997), Death in Holy Orders (2001), The Private Patient (2008) and Death Comes to Pemberley (2011). She did not, however, give up her interest in the public sphere. She served as a BBC governor, Booker Prize judge and chair of the literature panel of the Arts Council. In 1983, James was awarded an OBE, and in 1991 she was awarded her barony. She has also received a number of honorary university degrees, and was awarded the Silver Dagger three times from the British Crime Writers' Association - as well as the Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement in 1987. In 1997 she was appointed Chairman of the Society of Authors, a post she held until 2013. She died in November 2014, aged 94.