So I've been discovering P.D. James. How have I missed her work before now? She's 91 years old and has been writing mysteries for fifty years, and yet somehow I just stumbled upon her last year.
I first read her non-fiction book Talking About Detective Fiction, a great little collection of essays/thoughts/reflections on the mystery writing genre. That inspired me to want to read more of her work, but somehow I didn't manage it until the recent publication of Death Comes to Pemberley. Intrigued that such a renowned mystery author would move into Austenalia, I read and enjoyed that.
But I kept hearing that what I really needed to do was read her Adam Dalgleish novels. I tried one several months back, but it was firmly in the middle of the books she wrote about him and had him acting (or so it said) "out of character." I didn't want to get to know a character when he was acting out character before I'd even made his acquaintance in character. So I finally decided to do the sensible thing and track down the first Adam Dalgleish mystery. It turned out to be James' debut novel from 1962: Cover Her Face.
The mystery was terrific. James knows how to plot, and she's an excellent writer. (My review of the book posted at the above link.) Dalgleish just intrigues me...a very quiet man with a lot of depth. We're given tiny glimpses of that depth in Cover Her Face, enough that I will definitely continue on with the books in which he features.
I suspect I will be adding Adam Dalgleish to a line of literary and dramatic sleuths I already love. My list of male detectives (I'll have to do a separate post on female detectives sometime) includes Peter Whimsey, Hercule Poirot, Christopher Foyle, Sherlock Holmes, Brother Cadfael, Adrian Monk, and Luke Thanet. Oh, and Encyclopedia Brown. Hmm. I know that list could be much longer. I will have to see if my tired, middle-aged brain comes up with the rest. If so, I'll be back to edit.