Crime Novelist PD James Dies At 94

Crime novelist PD James died at age 94 on Thursday.

The author, who wrote more than 20 books, “died peacefully at her home in Oxford,” according to her agent.

James is known for creating the character Adam Dalgliesh in her debut novel Cover Her Face. The character would take cases in 14 of her books.

Some of her most famous novels include The Children of Men, The Murder Room, and Death Comes to Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice spin-off.

The crime novelist won various awards for her work, including the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger and the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster award. She sold millions of books, and some of her stories were adapted to television and film.

Before her death, she was writing one last novel. She told the BBC in an interview last year, “I think while I am alive, I shall write. There will be a time to stop writing but that will probably be when I come to a stop, too.”

Publishers Faber and Faber expressed their grief that PD James died. They have published her books since the first one she wrote in 1962 when she was 42 years old.

In a statement they said, “She was so very remarkable in every aspect of her life, an inspiration, and a great friend to us all. It is a privilege to publish her extraordinary books. Working with her was always the best of times, fully of joy. We will miss her hugely.”

Fellow writers shared their sadness on Twitter.

Phyllis Dorothy James began writing when her husband returned from World War II with mental health problems and her daughters attended boarding school. She supported her family by working in hospital administration during the day, but her evenings were dedicated to her craft. She intended for her first detective story to be a stepping stone to writing more “serious” novels.

The stepping stone genre became her life. James leaned toward crime novels because she appreciated their structure and organization. Even so, some have described her writing as the border between crime and literary fiction.

Even with her success as a writer, James worked for the Home Office until 1979. She was employed in the forensic science department and then the criminal law department.

Though crime novelist PD James died, writers can take solace in her advice: “Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.”

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