Monday 5 October 2009

Crime and P D James

There was an interesting interview with P D James on the radio this morning, in the course of which she said that she created her setting and characters some time before deciding on her plot. I found this very heartening, as while I shall never be a P D James (shame, that) I have done the same in my current (crime) novel, even to the point of not deciding 'who dunnit' until a third of the way through. Hitherto, I thought that maybe this wasn't the way to go about things - ie that crime novels should be plot rather than character-driven - but maybe I haven't got it all wrong after all. A nice beginning to the week.


  1. I'm not surprised that PD James does it this way, I've always thought she was one of the most literary of crime novelists - easily as interested in character as in plot. That's why I like her books so much. Hope yours is going well, Frances?

  2. I seem to remember Minette Walters saying she didn't decide "whodunnit" until the end of the first draft - and Agatha Christie too (although in this latter case we can't attribute it to excessive interest in her characters...)

  3. Alis - You're right, and I must read some more P D James (I haven't for ages). The book's going ok I think, thanks, tho' I need to pop down to see Graham at the Police Headquarters again. Graham is wonderful, and answers all my questions very patiently.

    Tim - I seem to remember the same about Minette Walters. I'm surprised about Agatha Christie, though. I'd have thought she would have had it all sorted from the start.