Friday, November 12, 2010

An Unsuitable Job For A Woman - P. D. James

An Unsuitable Job For A Woman
By: Phyllis Dorothy James
Published: 1972
Audiobook Read by: Davina Porter
My rating: Delightful

I stumbled across this author accidentally when I was looking up the title of a book by a different author and accidentally found a like named book by P.D. James. I decided that I couldn't refuse fate and so I tried her first Adam Dalgliesh book: Cover Her Face, and very much liked it. This is the first of only two books featuring Cordelia Gray and I am so glad to have found it!

Cordelia is really too young to have the responsibility of running a private detective agency alone but has determined to give it the best she can, win or lose. It looks like losing is inevitable as there are no cases coming in and very little money left, but fate has a different plan for her. Out of the blue she is hired to look into the reason a prominent scientist's son decided to commit suicide. Grateful for a case to solve, Cordelia jumps in with both feet but has no idea what she is getting involved in. Since she has never handled a case completely alone she does her best to remember all of the teachings of her late partner and mentor who in turn learned from the great Dalgliesh himself. At every turn she finds herself having to systematically go through her training to figure out her next move. No amount of training, however, could have prepared her for what awaits her as she delves deeper into the case! She is determined to uncover the truth even though it puts her own life in jeopardy.

I loved the way Cordelia works this case, constantly reminding herself of the "rules" she has been taught. She obviously was an attentive student who learned her lessons very well. This is one of the few mystery novels I have found that reveals every single clue exactly the way the detective finds them, giving the reader the same opportunity to solve the case. This wasn't the most complex of plots but I still hadn't figured out the crime by the time Cordelia did. Once the culprit was revealed I was able to see all of the clues that led to the conclusion but, to my untrained mind, had lined up differently. It was refreshing to have the author hold nothing back for the sake of shock value but still build a compelling mystery that challenged the intellect of the reader.

I listened to the audiobook read by Davina Porter and was very pleased with her performance. Her voice was so easy to listen to but she gave each character enough personality of their own so as to easily distinguish between them. I hope to hear more from her!

Overall, this was a fun look at the amateur ways of a new, although very intelligent, detective while still following a very serious plot with a lot of depth. I am sad to see that there are only two books featuring Cordelia, therefore I will save the next one for a special occasion when I particularly want to listen to a really delightful book!


  1. Ok I have NEVER heard of this book but really want to read it now!

    ♥ theMRS.

  2. I really enjoyed this one! I loved how it showed the way she was unsure of how to proceed but fell back on her mentor's teachings to get her through.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and following me! I'll be coming to your place for a visit in just a couple minutes! :)

  3. Oh, you fooled me! :) I didn't connect your user name with your blog! :) I have now followed you as well! :)