Now 91, PD James retains a special place in the hearts of fans – who include fellow authors – so we invited her readers to pose the questions for our interview. Here, the author talks about our appetite for detectives and her Jane Austen sequel
It is splendid, she volunteers, to be answering questions from readers and fellow authors. She avoids being insulting yet her view is implicit: journalists are less likely to be armed with surprising questions. As a crime writer, surprise is PD James's forte. Her ability to keep readers guessing has not failed her in half a century. And it is characteristic that, towards the end of her writing life, she should elect to spring a new surprise on us. It would have been pardonable – admirable indeed – to have published another novel starring policeman poet Adam Dalgliesh. But Death Comes to Pemberley (now out in paperback) is a plucky new adventure, a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that doubles as a murder novel.
PD James has been an Austen devotee all her life. She can hear Austen's voice with her inner ear, become her echo on the page. Death Comes to Pemberley is a masterly pastiche. It is more streamlined than her other fiction, involving only one murder and one suspect, but it fills us in on Elizabeth and Darcy and their marriage and satisfies that curiosity one has as the reader of a classic romance: did they live happily ever after?
Read the rest and the interview at The Observer