2009: 118. An Unsuitable Job For A Woman

“On the morning of Bernie’s Pryde’s death - or it may have been the morning after, since Bernie died at his own convenience, nor did he think the estimated time of his departure worth recording - Cordelia was caught in a breakdown of the Bakerloo Line outside Lambeth North and was half an hour late at the office.”

An Unsuitable Job For A Woman, P.D. James

      Here we have one of the elusive non-Dagliesh mysteries, a story about Cordelia Gray, the private detective.  James only wrote two Gray mysteries, which I think is a shame, because I liked her, but maybe she felt it was was too difficult to keep coming up with justifications for a private investigator to be examining murder, that most official of crimes.  Or maybe she just prefers her poet detective.  Either way, this book, though it has a brief cameo by Adam, is mostly police-free.  It is the story of Cordelia’s first case.  It opens with her ex-police partner having committed suicide, leaving her on her own with the agency, wondering whether she’ll be able to make a go of the business of detecting.  She is, however, hired to investigate the suicide of a young man who has recently come down from Cambridge - no one suspects murder, but his father would like to understand the reason the boy took his life.  This sets Cordelia off, and by the end she has not only solved a crime but decided that while detecting may be an unsuitable job for a woman, it one that suits her fine.

      I like this book.  I like the other Gray novel better, I think, but I like the book, and I like Cordelia.  I wish James hadn’t dropped her - I’d like to know  more about her, and what she’s up to.

Date/Place Completed:  August 2009; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, P.D. James Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017