book cover of Time to Be in Earnest
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Time to Be in Earnest

A Fragment of Autobiography
A non fiction book by


Originally loathe to embark on a full autobiography, P.D. James decided to chronicle a year in her life - the twelve months between her 77th and 78th birthday - and in so doing found the daily events and reflections of the present a springboard into the past. The result is a unique and very personal book - part diary, part memoir - that spans almost the full century.

She recalls, with insight and warmth, what it was like to grow up in post-Victorian England in a poor family, to be a schoolgirl in the 1930s. She recreates memories of giving birth to her daughter during the Doodlebug bombardment of London; struggling to support her family while trying to write; working in the Home Office in the forensic and criminal justice departments; serving as the Governor of the BBC, and eventually entering the House of Lords. And she explores the craft of the classical detective story of which she is a master.

Through a life of hard work, creativity and public service her reputation grew. During the busy year in which this memoir was penned, she published the #1 bestseller, A Certain Justice.

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