Among the masters of crime writing stands P.D. James, 80 years old, read by millions, and still selling (better than ever). She got her peerage in 1991 and sits in the House of Lords as the Baroness of Holland Park, on the Tory side opposite her rival Ruth Rendell, who is, incidentally, probably the better writer. Proclaimed as the Queen of mystery, P.D. was constrained by straightened circumstances to enter the British civil service. There she worked her way up eventually ending in the Police and Criminal Law Departments of the Home Office. Along the way she has also served as a Magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. All of which experiences she brings to bear on her wonderful, entertaining, and innovative fiction. Need I remind anyone that Baroness Holland Park in 1971 invented Cordelia Gray, the world's first female private eye and showed that women can have the same intelligence, powers of observation, and deductive sense as men? A Taste for Death, her best book, takes us into the world and minds of all characters, expresses their complex beliefs, psychological attitudes, and interesting thoroughly British behaviors so that we understand why these people are taking every fatal step. Some have found PD's writing slightly flat and wordy and have thought that this book, which runs 211,000 words, could have benefited from the kindly ministrations of a good editor. But who would dare edit her? It would be like pinching one's grandmother. Personally, I like reading how London homes look on the inside and I enjoy all those hallmark details of tea preparation and descriptions of elegant and not so elegant gardens. It's like reading Barbara Pym with the additional benefit of a horrible set of murders thrown in. Yes, friends, this is crime fiction at its very best. It goes beyond that fine achievement into another realm, the redemptive realm of art.