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P.D. James
My Choice...

The quote that has inspired me to date goes as follows.

""This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Hamlet Act 1 Scene iii
William Shakespeare

To thine own self be true". What actually did he mean by that? Apparently it meant be constant, don't be wavering, but I didn't read it quite like that, I thought there were other possible meanings:

Be true to whom you are, be true either to the ideals by which you try to live or be true to your own nature. And if you want to be true to your oWn nature you have to understand what that nature is. So really it means know yourself, examine yourself, examine your motives.

In crime writing it is particularly important to look at the motives which people might have if they're suspects. Finding a motive that is credible is important because at the end of the book people feel they can understand why the character committed the crime. Motive lies at the heart of the detective story and it's the classical detective story that I write.

Shakespeare for me is always new, is always fresh and is always modern. That is because he deals with the great absolutes of life. He deals with the emotions which we still feel because we are human. Admittedly he writes it in a language which is sometimes difficult for us, but he also writes it in a language which is accessible to us because it is great poetry.


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Facts on P.D. James

P.D. James is the bestselling author of nineteen books.

She is one of the most successful British crime writers.

Her influences include Jane Austen, Dorothy L. Sayers, herself a well-known British author of mysteries, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh.


More about P.D. James...
Writing crime novels

P.D. James grew up in London where she still lives now. She received the OBE in 1983 and in 1991 became a life peer.

She wrote her first novel in her thirties after working in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office. Many of P.D. James' mystery novels are set against the backdrop of Britain's vast bureaucracies such as the criminal justice system and the health services.

Her books are critically acclaimed and their appeal stretches far beyond the crime genre to stand alone as contemporary novels in their own right.

Her novels have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries.

P.D. James
Her own Moving Words

"The greatest mystery of all is the human heart, and that is the mystery with which all good novelists are concerned.".

PD James is best known for her inspector Adam Dalgleish, though she was also one of the first to write about a young female private detective. She says "We as a sex are very much better at detecting lying than men are... I think that women make very, very good detectives."

"The detective story is admittedly an artificial form. But all fiction is artificial, the selection of the writer's internal compulsions and preoccupations and external experience in a form that he or she hopes will satisfy the reader's expectations…"

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"All the motives for murder came under the letter. L: love, lust, lucre and loathing. They'll tell you, laddie, that the most dangerous emotion is hatred. Don't believe them. The most dangerous emotion is love." A senior detective to Adam Dalgliesh.