September 2001 Book Review
    In An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, first published in 1977 and re-issued in an American paperback edition in 1998, British mystery writer P. D. James introduces the character Cordelia Gray, a young woman working as a private investigator.  Cordelia had entered into a partnership with an experienced detective and inherited the agency upon his suicide.  In this novel, she confronts her first case on her own.

     The case involves the apparent suicide of a young man who had left his studies at Cambridge University to work as a gardener.  The young man's father, a noted scientist, hires Cordelia to investigate the reasons for the death.  She uses the cottage in which the body was found as her base of operations.  Her investigation brings her into contact with undergraduate friends of the young man, as well as with the young man's father and individuals working with him.

     P. D. James writes very well, and, despite the sad premise of the story, the book has some very amusing humor.  Cordelia Gray's character is depicted somewhat fully, the other characters somewhat less so.  I found the book interesting throughout, a pleasure to read.  I recommend the book to anyone seeking to read a traditional English murder mystery.
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
by P. D. James
Warner Books
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman is available from
You can read this review at
and other reviews on the same topic at
Page List
My e-mail address:

Click here for a review of The Skull Beneath the Skin, another Cordelia Gray mystery of P. D. James
Click here for a review of Death in Holy Orders
click here