is the author of twenty previous books, most of which have
been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other
countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British
Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments of Great
Britain's Home Office. She has served
as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she celebrated her
eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of
Holland Park in 1991 and was inducted into the International Crime Writing
Hall of Fame in 2008. She lives in London and Oxford.
James began writing in the mid-1950s. Her first novel, Cover Her Face,
featuring the investigator and poet Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard,
was published in 1962.
Many of James's mystery novels take place against the backdrop of the UK's
vast bureaucracies such as the criminal justice system and the health
services, arenas in which James honed her skills for decades starting in
the 1940s when she went to work in hospital administration to help support
her ailing husband and two children. Two years after the publication of
Cover Her Face, James's husband died and she took a position as a
civil servant within the criminal section of the Department of Home
James worked in government service until her retirement in 1979, and her
experiences within these bureaucracies add a complex stratum of insider's
knowledge to her writing. Her 2001 work, Death in Holy Orders,
displays a grasp of the inner workings of church hierarchy: she is an
Anglican and a Lay Patron of the Prayer Book Society. Her later novels are
often set in a community closed in some way, be this in a publishing house
or barristers' chambers, a theological college, an island or a private
clinic as with her latest work. Her prose is very clear and precise. Her
most recent Adam Dalgliesh novel, The Private Patient, was
published in August 2008 in the U.K. by Faber & Faber and in November 2008
in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf.
[ Summary - The Children of Men ]
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