Shades Of Words

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman


PD James is quite popular on the blogosphere. I now know why. I was lucky enough to get a hardback edition of “An Unsuitable Job for a Woman’ for less than a dollar at my local library sale . The book turned out to be a Cordelia Gray mystery. Yay for me! I have always loved stories with strong and independent female characters since my Nancy Drew and Anne Shirley days.

The book opens on a dismal day when Cordelia walks into her dusty detective agency office to discover that her senior partner and co-owner , Bernie, has killed himself.

Cordelia has now become the sole owner of this extermely non-profitable business. However, soon enough, Sir Ronald Callander, an upcoming scientist, hires her to take a closer look at his son’s death, Mark Callander. Mark disappeared from Cambridge and took an unlikely position as a gardner with the Marklands. Within a few months he had hung himself.

That, my dear readers, is two suicides in 50 pages. ( I wasn’t very hopeful about liking the book at this stage).

Things start getting interesting from the very first interview with Ronald Callendar. Though he is curious to know why his son would kill himself, he is not very forthcoming with this information. Things start getting disturbing when Cordelia visits the cottage and decides to stay there till she resolves the case. I would not want to be in a place where someone just hung themself ! In Cambridge, she meets Mark’s bohemian friends who though very cordial are definitely hiding something.

Since its a mystery book I won’t give away too much of the plot. And though the story is complex enough to make it interesting that is not the reason as to why I liked the book so much.

For me the writing was just beautiful. Some of the conversations were pure brilliant. I think the last conversation between Inspecter Digalesh and Cordelia Gray was as nerve wracking for me as it was for Cordelia.

Verdict : Recommended for anyone who loves mysteries

PS – For a counter view , read out Zoya’s blog at


Author: Vipula

Before talking about who we are, we’d like to tell you a bit about how and why Shades of Words came into being. It all started with the idea of “A place where we could share with likeminded people about things we enjoy. From books to music to movies to travel; Shades of Words was to be a place about the best of our experiences” We thought about why should anyone read us? The answer was that whatever we review would be a mix of our experience of the thing along with interesting and useful information about it. So in case you are reading us regularly or even checking us out once in a while then we have succeeded in our efforts someway somewhere. Who are we? Known as Kapil Sood and Vipula Gupta, we thought of Shades of Words on one fine Sunday afternoon. Tired of writing interesting RFP’s and project documentation; we decided to give this a shot. Yes! We work in Indian IT industry. Cupid struck us while were innocently slogging together on the highly intricate job of formatting and beautifying documents! And since then, we have been working together to establish Shades of Words as a place that we can claim as ours. (Because buying a house is still years away!) What else? Kapil also writes some blogs which you can read here and here.

3 thoughts on “An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

  1. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by PD James, though I’ve not yet read this one. I was just looking at it the other day as I’ll be picking a new mystery to read soon. Glad you liked this one. I wonder if it is the only Cordelia Gray novel?

  2. Danielle – I believe there is are only two Cordelia Gray novels though I dont know which the second one is. Which other PD James would you recommend?

  3. Its interesting how she makes the investigator live in the house where the victim was murdered. She does the same in Black Tower. This book sounds more interesting though, will look it up in British Council.

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