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Crime writer PD James has died at the age of 94

Her books, many of which featured detective Adam Dalgliesh, sold millions of copies around the world.

PD James pictured in 2005.
PD James pictured in 2005.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE ACCLAIMED BRITISH writer PD James has died at the age of 94.

The crime novelist, who wrote about the changing British society in her detective stories, died peacefully at her home this morning, her publisher said.

She was best known for her books featuring sleuth Adam Dalgliesh, which sold millions of copies around the world.

“It is with great sadness that the family of author PD James, Baroness James of Holland Park OBE… announce that she died peacefully at her home in Oxford on the morning of 27 November 2014, aged 94,” Faber and Faber said in a statement.

James, whose full name was Phyllis Dorothy James, was born in Oxford in 1920 and worked for three decades as a civil servant, first in Britain’s National Health Service and then in the policing and criminal policy department of the Home Office.

She began writing in the 1950s and her first novel was published in 1962. It was an immediate critical success, but she continued to work in the civil service until 1979.

Her works were adapted into popular television series from the 1980s onwards.  Her dystopian novel The Children of Men was turned into a 2006 film starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.

Her books were strong on character, avoided stereotypes, and touched on modern problems including drugs, child abuse, and nuclear contamination.

Her publisher described her as “one of the world’s great writers”.

“She was so very remarkable in every aspect of her life, an inspiration and great friend to us all”.

“Working with her was always the best of times”.

In an interview in 1997, James said that her focus was always on people.

“The greatest mystery of all is the human heart,” she said, “and that is the mystery with which all good novelists, I think, are concerned. I’m always interested in what makes people the sort of people they are”.

Additional reporting by AP and AFP

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