Time to be in Earnest
Faber & Faber(October 1999)
In this intriguing and very personal book, part diary, part memoir, P.D. James considers the twelve months of her life between her 77th and 78th birthdays, 'a time to be in earnest', as Dr Johnson said at the comparable moment of his very different life two centuries ago. In recording the events, thoughts and reflections of her present, Baroness James has found herself simultaneously remembering the past of her remarkable career. She recalls what it was like to be a schoolgirl in the 1920s and 1930s in Cambridge, then giving birth to her second daughter during the worst of the Doodlebug bombardment in London during the war, working as an administrator in the National Health Service, entering the Home Office in the forensic and criminal justice departments, serving as a Governor of the BBC, an influential member of the British Council, the Arts Council and the Society of Authors, and eventually entering the House of Lords.
Along the way she deals with her burgeoning reputation as a novelist, starting with COVER HER FACE in 1962, and with the craft of the classical detective story. During this busy year she also published one of her most intriguing and carefully researched books, A CERTAIN JUSTICE. This record of twelve months in a life of creativity and public service, told with honesty and perception, will enthral aficionados of detective fiction. It will also appeal to those who themselves have lived through the turbulent years of the twentieth century.
'Deeply moving' -- The New York Times
'Delightful... touching... It is like a string quartet in which themes appear, slide away and recur. The result is a memoir of charm and feeling which retains its dignity and reserve. For that, in an age that seems to relish notoriety above all else, three cheers.' -- Scotland on Sunday
In the UK TIME TO BE IN EARNEST is published by Faber & Faber, and in the USA and Canada by Random House. Foreign Rights have also been sold to the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden.