Author and Peer PD James dies aged 94

The crime novelist and Conservative Peer PD James has died at home, aged 94.

Phyllis Dorothy James’ first novel was published when she was 42 years old, and she had various jobs, including working for the Home Office as a Principal in the Forensic Science department.

James wrote more than 20 books including the dystopian novel The Children of Men and Pride and Prejudice spin-off, Death Comes to Pemberley.

Christian worldview

Dr Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said James’ writing was “deeply steeped in the Christian worldview”.

He said she was drawn to the detective story because of what it shows about human sinfulness and the “endurance of a moral code that wasn’t invented by humanity, but rather given to us”.

“PD James deeply cared about morality, about right and wrong, because she believed that they were transcendent values and she believed that because of the Christian worldview”, he added.

Significant contributions

An obituary in the New York Times quoted her saying that people turn to detective fiction for reassurance as much as entertainment “because they do affirm the intelligibility of the universe, the moral norm, the sanctity of life”.

In 1991 she was made a Conservative life peer, Baroness James of Holland Park, and made some significant contributions to Parliament that reflected her faith.

She voted against the repeal of Section 28 in 2000, which prevented local authorities spending money on the promotion of homosexuality in schools, and supported an amendment in 2002 to keep adoption for married couples only.

Stand for truth

In a speech in 2008 James spoke out against “the cult of political correctness”, and in 2010 she voted to protect churches’ freedom to employ only Christians.

Responding to James’ death, a spokesman for The Christian Institute said: “We are sad to hear about the death of a successful author who made a stand for truth in her role as a life Peer.

“She made positive contributions, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”


She is said to have greatly admired the Christian author Dorothy L Sayers, who also wrote crime fiction.

Writing in the Daily Mail, A N Wilson who was a friend of PD James, said: “Few individuals in recent memory were quite so wise” as James, and that she was a “generous-hearted woman, who gave freely of her money and her time”.

PD James is survived by her two children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.