An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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Top Customer Reviews
A risky decision at the end is a doozey, flying against the formula of the mystery. I love authors who turn from the trod thoroughfare! My obstructions to becoming emotionally involved are that I scarcely empathized with Cordelia and cared for no other characters. I don’t think anyone could connect with her, by design or not, because her personality wavered in making itself known. Most notably, she was glum; a heavy tone that will have to lift. Three stars balance some drabness with the gifted narrating voice I enjoyed. Just when I felt pages dragging, excitement would perk them up. Cordelia was always working out something.
Observational skill and intelligence inform readers of murder. Such complexities distinguish a standard mystery from the single avenue, “cozy” type. For example, why would a thorough personality quit a nearly-finished flowerbed row? Why handcraft a soup but kill oneself before partaking of it? I love that we begin in 1977, although England twisted my impressions towards historical fiction. In her twenties, Cordelia suited Cambridge University. I love her frequent remarks that “her interviews must be the strangest ever conducted”, perched upon campus lawns! Bernie could not have achieved what she did.
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Great story and very strong characters. Wish the print of this book was bigger. Would recommend to anyone who wants to appreciate James' talent.Published on May 23 2014 by Francine