An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading An Unsuitable Job for a Woman on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman [Hardcover]

P. D. James
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.



Book Description

November 1981
Handsome Cambridge dropout Mark Callender died hanging by the neck with a faint trace of lipstick on his mouth. When the official verdict is suicide, his wealthy father hires fledgling private investigator Cordelia Gray to find out what led him to self-destruction. What she discovers instead is a twisting trail of secrets and sins, and the strong scent of murder. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman introduces P. D. James's courageous but vulnerable young detective, Cordelia Gray, in a top-rated puzzle of peril that holds you all the way (The New York Times).
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed


Product Details


Product Description

Review

People [P.D. James is] the greatest living mystery writer. --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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
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!
Was this review helpful to you?
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
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).
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cordelia, I do wish we had more Dec 12 2003
By Robert D. Inderman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I suspect most authors committed to a mystery genre often grow tired of their creations. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes at one point, only to resurrect him at the demand of his fans. Elizabeth George too has recently attempted to bypass her Inspector Lynley, much to her fans chagrin (include me among that list). With "An Unsuitable Job for a Woman," I suspect we find the same motive with P.D. James' divergence from the Dalgliesh novels. Instead of the inimitable and formidable Dalgliesh, we have the 22-year-old, sometimes uncertain Cordelia Gray attempting to jumpstart a detective agency willed to her through the suicide of her benefactor and mentor, Bernie Pryde.
In the course of "Unsuitable" and a companion book "The Skull Beneath the Skin," Ms. James produces one of the great characters of detective fiction. Lacking very little professional experience, Cordelia uses instinct, a sharp mind and surprising courage to unravel the truth to murders that on the surface seem so obviously solvable.
It is not until the conclusion of the "Unsuitable" case that Dalgliesh shows up to clear away some of the messy details, but its clearly Cordelia's story that Ms. James is focused upon.
Read this book, and then immediate procure "Skull," the far superior book in the very short two-book series. In my mind, they both are far better written, more exciting than any of the Dalgliesh series (I can't believe I am saying that - that's like saying an orange is better than an apple).
Ms. James never returns to Cordelia, other than a couple of brief mentions in later Dalgliesh stories. Once, she sends Dalgliesh flowers and a short note while he is recovering from an illness, and there is a slight hint of romantic interest - moreso on her part than perhaps on the continual mourning Dalgliesh.
About a year ago, Ms. James was in my hometown promoting her autobiography (a nice read, but not particularly well put together). Numerous questions were posed regarding Cordelia. Her response was that she is constantly amazed how popular a character is Cordelia, and admits that yes, SHE too loved her. But, she said, Dalgliesh pulled her back. I personally asked her during the book autographing stage whether Cordelia any chance of reappearing. Keeping in mind that Ms. James is well into her 80s, it was probably a silly question. But she said she had considered it, but that she made an awful mistake. She said she had "inexplicably sold Cordelia" to the BBC, who had promised her that when dramatizing "Unsuitable" and "Skull," they would keep the character true to the book. They did so until the actress portraying her came up pregnant during filming, so they wrote into it that Cordelia was also pregnant from a liason with a lover that she no longer was seeing. Anyone who has read and loved these books know that that would have been totally out of character for Cordelia. Ms. James said she was so angry that she traveled the book circuit saying Cordelia of the BBC was NOT the Cordelia of her two books. Unfortunately, she said, "I don't know how I can bring her back onto the pages. She's dead to me now."
So read the books, but never no never go near the televised series. Cordelia is very much alive in these pages, and you will be ever so glad.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE FINEST Dec 21 2001
By MOVIE MAVEN - Published on Amazon.com
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.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective Writing at its Best July 15 2000
By Elsie Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An excellent thriller/mystery with a twist. With several twists. The hero of some others of James' books, the poet/superintendent Adam Dalgliesh, apart from a brief and probably unnecessary appearance at the end of the book, is merely a brooding presence over the plot. Dalgliesh inspired Cordelia Gray's dead detective agency partner in every way, and his remebered quotes give Gray the ability to uncover the solution to the problem laid before her: Why did the young son of a very successful scientist drop out of Cambridge and commit suicide? Every character is coherent and supportable in their actions and words; every line and thread of the plot is believable and woven inexorably into the whole. This is detective writing at its best.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to P.I. Cordelia Gray Jan. 5 2003
By Fred Camfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a reprint of a novel copyrighted in 1977. It predates Sue Grafton's novels about P.I. Kinsey Millhone, and introduces London P.I. Cordelia Gray, a young woman with a family background even more unusual than Kinsey's. Having grown up in foster homes and a Catholic boarding school, at the age of 16 she began traveling through Europe with her father's band of left-wing revolutionaries. Finally settling in London, a job with a temp agency took her to the office of P.I. Bernie Pryde. She is now 22, and had become an associate of Pryde, inheriting the business on his death.
This is Cordelia's first independent case. She has been hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a prominent scientist's only son. The case takes some unexpected twists and turns, and she finds herself in danger before the case winds down to a conclusion. At the end, she meets Chief Inspector Dalgliesh, the main character of other novels by the author.
The monetary amounts mentioned (i.e., five pounds a day plus expenses) may seem strange to U.S. readers, even taking into account the 1972 time frame, but one must keep in mind that things were cheaper than they are today and that pay standards in the U.K. have always been less than in the U.S. - one reason for immigration (the old World War II complaint about U.S. servicemen was "overpaid, oversexed, and over here")
The sequel to this novel is "The Skull Beneath the Skin." Sue Grafton's fans should enjoy these novels.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Whodunit Sept. 6 2005
By Colleen A. Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
P.D. James, aka Phyllis Dorothy James White, has painted the mystery genre with a literary hue which has delighted fans for decades. Her writing is stylish and extremely well-crafted. Her characters are so fully developed that they seem almost like friends the reader delights in meeting again. James' heroine in this book, Cordelia Grey, lacks the long and rich legacy of Adam Dalgliesh - the author's usual sharp-witted and charming P.I., but she does pack a wallop in the two books she appears in.

Mature and wise beyond her years - Cordelia is only 22 when we meet her - this heroine knows how to draw us into the murder at hand - in this case the neglected but privileged son of a powerful scientist. Brave and insightful sometimes, scared and confused often, Cordelia soldiers through this mystery from one deduced fact to the next and arrives at a somewhat unusual (for this genre) denoument. I won't tell you what that is but it causes a bemused Adam Dalgliesh to pop up at the end of the book in a half-hearted attempt to break down Cordelia's defenses.

Cordelia is an appealing and well-drawn character who only appeared in two of James' novels. She later, mistakenly she says, sold Cordelia, or the rights to her existence anyway, to the BBC, which subsequently did a TV series based on the character.

I picked up this book as a dog-eared paperback in a used book store because the title kept popping up in lists of "bests" for this genre - most recently in an essay by Anna Quindlan. I haven't read a mystery in years but found myself really enjoying this one - for the story, the lovable Cordelia, and for the craftsmanship of the author. Recommended.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xb39b1810)

Look for similar items by category


Feedback