News reaches Fedora that PD (Phyllis Dorothy) James, creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray, has died at the age of 94. She made her debut in 1962 with Cover Her Face and was soon trumpeted as a major innovator for her utilisation of real surrounding and a more naturalistic style, and usually mentioned in the same breath as Ruth Rendell. More recently she had come to be seen as a bastion of the more traditional whodunit, perhaps the fate of any innovator who around for long enough – though Rendell succeeded better perhaps in keeping up with the times.
She did though successfully branch out into other genres beyond the detective story, including psychological suspense (Innocent Blood and The Skull Beneath the Skin), the historical mystery (a Jane Austen follow-up, Death Comes to Pemberley) and even science fiction with Children of Men.
Many of her books were filmed for television and the cinema, most notably the long-running TV series starring Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgliesh and Alfonso Cuaron’s highly impressive version of Children of Men.
The ultimate accolade perhaps is that after 50 years as a published author, all her work is in print and still being read.