It was a real treat to listen to PD James the other night when she was interviewed by Irish crime novelist Declan Burke. It was put on by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Trinity’s School of English, and the crowd in the Examinations Hall were treated royally by the Queen of Crime Fiction. For a woman who turned 93 in August she was very clear and precise, and as the person beside me said quietly ‘she’s as sharp as a tack’. I could only agree.
She was talking about her latest book ‘Death Comes to Pemberley‘ which is an homage to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. James has always loved Austen’s work and wrote her book as a sequel to Pride which is celebrating 200 years (published in January 1813). All the usual characters are in it and James’s inclusion of a murder should make for an interesting read.
During the Question & Answer session that followed the interview she told us that she was inspired by Dorothy L Sayers rather than Agatha Christie. ‘A good book is a good book, whether it is a detective book or not.’ She found writing crime novels ‘reassuring and a chance to bring order out of disorder’. And, being a fan of her policeman character Adam Dalgliesh, it was great to find out that he may appear in her next book. ‘Let’s hope there will be one last one to come.’ Again, I must agree.