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An Unsuitable Job for a Woman [Hardcover]

P. D. James
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1981
Meet Cordelia Gray: twenty-two, tough, intelligent and now sole inheritor of the Pryde Detective Agency. Her first assignment finds her hired by Sir Ronald Callender to investigate the death of his son Mark, a young Cambridge student found hanged in mysterious circumstances. Required to delve into the hidden secrets of the Callender family, Cordelia soon realizes it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"P.D. James is unbeatable."--"Ottawa Citizen ""P.D. James is an addictive writer, [with] a quality of intelligence, a genuine curiosity about character, and an ability to describe the density of little known lives."--Anita Brookner "One of the most compulsive and acutely observed thrillers of the year--a why-dunnit, rather than a who-dunnit; a study of the complex motives that make up the cold mind of a killer."--"Daily Express ""James is assuredly the most gifted crime novelist writing in English today,"""--"The Toronto Star ""A top-rated puzzle of peril that holds you all the way."--"The New York Times" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"P.D. James is unbeatable." -Ottawa Citizen

"P.D. James is an addictive writer, [with] a quality of intelligence, a genuine curiosity about character, and an ability to describe the density of little known lives." -Anita Brookner

"One of the most compulsive and acutely observed thrillers of the year--a why-dunnit, rather than a who-dunnit; a study of the complex motives that make up the cold mind of a killer."  -Daily Express

"James is assuredly the most gifted crime novelist writing in English today."-The Toronto Star

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm re-reading P.D. James, and loving it! May 31 2002
Format:Paperback
I've been re-reading P.D. James this summer, more or less in sequence, a project that I highly recommend. "An Unsuitable Job for a Woman" is number five, and the first of two to feature a protaganist other than Adam Dalgleish. Instead, we're introduced to private detective Cordilia Grey, a plucky and determined young heroine, in her first solo case. The story is impecably plotted, told with a sure hand, not without its humor, psychologically credible -- a pleasure to read.
There are certain themes (e.g., the inability to love) and preoccupations (e.g., an interest in architecture) that recur throughout the P.D. James series, as is apparent when you read a bunch of them over a short period of time. Though her later novels are longer and more elaborate, I also admire the more straightforward, meticulously crafted early works. Rereading the series is a great summer project!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE FINEST Dec 21 2001
Format:Paperback
"An Unsuitable Job For a Woman" is not just the best P.D. James crime novel I've read. It is absolutely one of the finest crime novels I've read by any author. It is also one of the finest novels (crime or not) I've read this year.
The plot keeps us guessing through a wild ride of surprises that do not stop, not even in the final pages. James' characters are always fully and well drawn, but here she really outdoes herself. From the title character, Cordelia Gray, the sole owner (against her will) of a detective agency, to every suspect, to the police superintendent (James' already famous Adam Dalgliesh) to those "minor" characters who help Gray "solve" (if "solve" is the correct word) this heinous crime and who appear in only one chapter. They are all human beings, complicated and not easily categorized, nor judged. Even the "well brought-up gentleman," Mark Callender, whose suicide Gray is hired to investigate, is as complex a character you'll find in any work of modern fiction, although we never really meet him since he is dead weeks before the novel begins.
Gray's empathy with people in trouble, her desire to do right by her client and by the dead man with whom she has no previous history, her knowledge of what is good & moral and what is not all combine to make her a fascinating protagonist. And sadly, very much like the detective Dana Andrews played in the brilliant film noir, "Laura," Gray falls in love with the man whose death she is looking into. I want very much to read the other novels of James in which she appears. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first P. D. James book March 11 2002
Format:Paperback
I've come somewhat late to reading P.D. James, since she's been writing mysteries for about 25 years now, and I've been reading books for almost twice that amount of time. She's my father-in-law's favorite author, so I finally decided to read one of her books, and I'm very pleased that I selected this one, because it is excellent! Even though it may have been her first published book, the quality of writing is first class, and the mystery and suspense are just right! At times it was easy to discern where the author was going, but there was always some unexpected twist or turn of the plot that kept you on your toes, and reading until much later in the night than you had originally planned. Now that I've finished this book, I intend to read more of this remarkable author's works, and I expect to enjoy them as much as I have this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever written of P.D. James April 2 2002
Format:Paperback
This book is now currently one of favorite. It introduces the best character I personally think the author created (though unfortunatly she has only written two books with her the rest except one with Commander Adam Dalgalsh I think this might be because of the T.V. show getting her pregent).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book. May 23 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great story and very strong characters. Wish the print of this book was bigger. Would recommend to anyone who wants to appreciate James' talent.
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