This leader (link above) in today's Times is a paean of praise for the novels of P. D. James. Whether or not one finds these particular novels the pinnacle of crime fiction, one cannot disagree (well, I can't) with the sentiments expressed in the editorial. Surely this article marks a turning point, in which crime fiction is truly out of the genre box and can stand up to be considered on its own merits (as its aficionados already knew). From the article:
In negotiating his way through the pathways of human destructiveness, Dalgliesh is also a guide to our times. Lady James is a perceptive chronicler of the changing landscape of London; the flux of urban development and the housing market; the corrosive culture of sink estates; the ruthless politics of the professions; and even the use of the internet for hedonistic purposes…….it is her literally forensic insight into crime that remains her most distinctive fictional device. Like Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allan Poe, she has looked at the darkness of the human psyche, and created from it not just entertainment but literature.