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 http://silvermists.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/an-unsuitable-job-for-a-woman/