P. D. James World Literature Analysis
A skilled novelist, eloquent and erudite, influenced by the introspective style of Jane Austen and the Victorian novelists, P. D. James is one of England’s most prominent mystery writers. Her works are restrained, their internal tensions resulting from close associates facing painful and unforgiving inquiries into secret fears and obsessions. Keen and inquiring, James faces unpleasant truths about human frailty, the complex and sometimes self-destructive relationships among people, and humankind’s potential for psychic and physical violence. Kindly characters murder to protect family, hearth, or reputation, and innocent suspects prove culpable of lesser and greater transgressions. Despite credible plots, meticulously provided clues, and convincing details and motives, “Whodunit?” is secondary to ambience and character, the creation of a realistic world of professionals whose jealousies and rivalries in the close confines of narrow communities produce Byzantine relationships.
James’s novels build on a strong sense of place, inspired by a desolate coastline, a sinister house, an atmospheric London neighborhood, and such closed communities as a nursing home, an isolated village or island, a publishing house, a nuclear power station, a forensic science laboratory, and a small, specialized museum—each location transformed into an organic and vital element of the crime. For example, the personnel of her hierarchical medical communities share a...
(The entire section is 3798 words.)
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