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Publisher's Summary

A Cordelia Gray mystery

Meet Cordelia Gray: 22, tough, intelligent, and now sole inheritor of the Pryde Detective Agency. Her first assignment finds her hired by Sir Ronald Callender to investigate the death of his son Mark, a young Cambridge student found hanged in mysterious circumstances. Required to delve into the hidden secrets of the Callender family, Cordelia soon realizes it is not a case of suicide, and that the truth is entirely more sinister.

©1972 P.D. James (P)2014 Faber Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of the most compulsive and acutely observed thrillers of the year - a why-dunnit, rather than a who-dunnit; a study of the complex motives that make up the cold mind of a killer." ( Daily Express)
"A very ingenious, absorbing detective story of star quality." ( Evening Standard)
"Through a language which is always sensitively precise and often more, she keeps up a ripple of subterranean humour which would sustain a whole series as good as this one.... Miss James has the eye for detail which is an absolute requirement for a detective writer. She also has tolerance and experienced wisdom." (C.P. Snow, Financial Times)

What listeners say about An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

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A complex plot delivered with style

I have been a fan of PD James and read and enjoyed this book in print years ago. I found Katie Scarfe’s excellent narration, actually enhanced my enjoyment of the novel. She is an excellent narrator and was a perceptive choice for this mystery; her addition to the story gave the character an added dimension.

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  • Mrs
  • 03-09-2019

A More than Suitable Job for a Woman

PD James has left her mark on the detective genre for decades, and the introduction of Cordelia Gray is perhaps one of the bear things to come out the genre altogether. Cordelia is such a great character, it was impossible to not like her. She’s smart, fun, incredibly brave, and she knows her way around. It was quite fun having a character of the same age as the reader to go along the mystery with.

As to the mystery: the clues definitely do their work. I was able to work it out before the reveal. And that’s what the crime story ought to do: the clues are fairly laid and the reader ought to arrive at the solution before the end logically. In some stories I haven’t, but with PD James, I have most of the time.

This is the only time I have not sympathised with the killer in her books. Most of the time the killer is often more sympathetic than the victim, and this was not the case. Thought the victim, the more I learned about him, wasn’t entirely likeable either. But I feel that, had he more time to grow, he might have been better as a person.

This is a first rate mystery with intrigue, beautiful writing, tense plot, and a genuinely diamond quality yarn. It’s more a whydunnit than a whodunnit, but that’s what makes it all the more interesting.

9 people found this helpful

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  • peregrine
  • 09-12-2014

WOW

If you could sum up An Unsuitable Job for a Woman in three words, what would they be?

Original, unexpected plot

What was one of the most memorable moments of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman?

most of the last few chapters

Have you listened to any of Katie Scarfe’s other performances? How does this one compare?

First time listening to Katie Scarfe, spellbinding performance

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

2 sittings

10 people found this helpful

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  • Nicola
  • 04-02-2021

Good start

Loved the way Dalgleish is brought in to this newer series. Looking forward to Book 2.

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  • The daily cook
  • 20-12-2020

A. FAVORITE STORY FROM P D James

Although somewhat dated as it is many years since it was published this remains a favourite.
Cordelia is an unusual detective and this story holds the readers attention. I have read the book more than once and enjoyed the story in this format. The reader has a detached tone which compliments the characters.

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  • Bennett
  • 16-12-2020

very good story

A good story and we'll read by Katie Skarfe.
Kept my interest throughout. Would highly recommend.

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  • Gaynor MM
  • 01-08-2020

Thoroughly enjoyed this book

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, on occasion you need to leave reality behind, but a good story.

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  • WomanoftheWorld
  • 28-05-2021

Nice engaging crime novel

This well written crime thriller displays PD's strength with prose. I also think the narrator did a good job despite what some other reviews indicated. I do not think I have heard many audio books without some mispronunciation. There were maybe five or so, surely not a catastrophe. Her multiple voices were quite good. So, in all a pleasant way to occupy a few hours.

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  • "katrina1304"
  • 10-05-2021

Slow start but then a good mystery

This is the first PD James book that I’ve read/listened to and so I have not listened to any of her other well known books. This book is a bit slow starting off, but I really like the detail and description, and the narration of the voices is excellent! Cordelia is quite a self-contained person who has little connection with other people except to her now dead business partner, Pryce. The book would benefit from more fleshing out of Cordelia, especially of her work with Pryce, but there are some snippets later on in the book which help you understand her a bit better. Once the story gets going and you start learning about Mark you want to know more about his life. Cordelia has a natural instinct about investigating. The conclusion to the mystery about Mark is satisfying, although I wish that Dalgliesh wasn’t so prominent at the end, but I bet that this is something very welcome for readers of her other books. I would like to continue with the Cordelia Gray series.

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  • W. King
  • 01-05-2021

Great narration.

Loved it! First class story, plot twists and characters. This is the first P D James book I have 'read' - her writing style is so descriptive - things, people and places are conjoured up strongly in your mind's eye. I will definitely read the next Cordelia Grey book.

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  • Christopher
  • 30-08-2021

Disappointed

Contrary to most of the other reviews, I found this book very disappointing. The story was adequate but no more and I found the references to Adam Dalgleish contrived and unnecessary. The narrator was average but didn't add anything to bring the story to life.

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