London: Faber and Faber, 1962.
London: Faber and Faber, .
First edition of the author's first novel. Octavo (7 1/4 x 4 7/8 inches; 185 x 125 mm). -254, [2, blank] pp.
Publisher's full green cloth. Spine lettered in gilt. Cloth with some browning to edges, and foxing to boards. Endpapers and text black edges with some foxing. In original dust jacket. Jacket with light toning and some minor chipping along edges. Jacket with a 1 3/8 -inch closed tear at fold. A few light marks to front panel of jacket. Overall a very good copy.
Phyllis Dorothy James [P.D. James] was a British crime novelist and public servant. "Her literary career was launched when her agent, Elaine Greene, learned from Charles Monteith, a director of Faber and Faber, that they were seeking a replacement for their leading crime novelist, Cyril Hare, who had recently died. Greene sent him the manuscript of James's first novel, Cover Her Face (1962), which she had just read. The telephone call informing James that Faber had accepted it was, she remembers in her 'fragment of autobiography', Time to Be in Earnest (1999), 'one of the most exciting moments of my life... I knew that evening, as I pranced up and down the hall, that people do literally jump for joy' (p. 15). Faber's choice to fill the gap at the top of their crime list couldn't have been wiser. With fourteen novels between 1962 and 2008 featuring her poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh and two in 1972 and 1982 starring a young female private investigator, Cordelia Gray, P. D. James (the name she chose to write under because 'it was enigmatic and would look best on the book spine': Time to Be in Earnest, 11) won both high critical acclaim and an immensely wide readership.