The scar on Rhoda Gradwyn's face was to be the death of her... When the notorious investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn books into Mr Chandler-Powell's private clinic in Dorset for the removal of a disfiguring and long-standing scar, she has every prospect of a successful operation and the beginning of a new life. But the Manor holds a secret and deadly enemy. While she lies drowsily recovering from the anaesthetic a white-shrouded figure stealthily enters her bedroom and within minutes Rhoda is dead. Dalgliesh and his team, called in to investigate the murder, and later a second equally horrific death, find themselves confronted with problems even more complicated than the question of innocence or guilt.
P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.
She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.
She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.