It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.— P. D. James
The most viral P. D. James quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.
Not so much two ships passing in the night as two ships sailing together for a time but always bound for different ports.
In 1930s mysteries, all sorts of motives were credible which aren't credible today, especially motives of preventing guilty sexual secrets from coming out. Nowadays, people sell their guilty sexual secrets.
A picnic may well be a metaphor for life.
The essentials for happiness are the right company, moderate if sanguine expectations and a reasonable standard of physical sustenance and comfort, the whole being bedeviled by the belief that there is always something better to be had if only one presses on.
I knew the facts of death before I knew the facts of life.
There never was a time when I didn't see the skull beneath the skin.
I find it extraordinary that a straightforward if inelegant device for ensuring the survival of the species should involve human beings in such emotional turmoil. Does sex have to be taken so seriously?
When I heard, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, I thought, Did he fall or was he pushed?
What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.
Every island to a child is a treasure island.
We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.
A politician is required to listen to humbug, talk humbug, condone humbug.
The most we can hope for is that we don't actually believe it.
There comes a time when every scientist, even God, has to write off an experiment.
Authors always take rejection badly. They equate it with infanticide.
If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride had been subdued and prejudice overcome?
What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give.
Work did bestow dignity, status, meaning.
Wasn't that why people dreaded unemployment, why some men found retirement so traumatic?
Charm is always genuine; it may be superficial but it isn't false.
Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people.
Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.
If our sex life were determined by our first youthful experiments, most of the world would be doomed to celibacy. In no area of human experience are human beings more convinced that something better can be had only if they persevere.
The equally is a political theory, but no a practical politics.
Human kindness is like a defective tap, the first gush may be impressive but the stream soon dries up.
A man who lives with nature is used to violence and is companionable with death.
There is more violence in an English hedgerow than in the meanest streets of a great city.
If from infancy you treat children as gods, they are liable in adulthood to act as devils.
First-class travel, provided one hasn't to pay for it oneself, is the most insidiously addictive of life's luxuries.
God gives every bird his worm, but He does not throw it into the nest.
Perfect love may cast our fear, but fear is remarkably potent in casting out love.
Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty-five years, two months and twelve days.
We English are good at forgiving our enemies;
it releases us from the obligation of liking our friends.
Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft.
Without the hope of posterity, for our race if not for ourselves, without the assurance that we being dead yet live, all pleasures of the mind and senses sometimes seem to me no more than pathetic and crumbling defences shored up against our ruin.
I am fifty years old and I have never known what it is to love.
I can write those words, know them to be true, but feel only the regret that a tone-deaf man must feel because he can't appreicate music, a regret less keen because it is for something never known, not for something lost.
Time didn't heal, but it anesthetized. The human mind could only feel so much.
Read widely and with discrimination. Bad writing is contagious.
It's possible to fight intolerance, stupidity and fanaticism when they come separately. When you get all three together it's probably wiser to get out, if only to preserve your sanity.
[My father and his friends] believed in equality for women without troubling to acquire the basic domestic skills which would have made that equality possible.
Great literature cannot grow from a neglected or impoverished soil.
Only if we actually tend or care will it transpire that every hundred years or so we might get a Middlemarch.
A regime which combines perpetual surveillance with total indulgence is hardly conducive to healthy development.
The greatest mystery of all is the human heart.
It's easy to get a reputation for wisdom.
It's only necessary to live long, speak little and do less.
Ambition, if it were to be savored, let alone achieved, had to be rooted in possibility.
If all power corrupts, then a doctor, who literally holds life and death in his hands, must be at particular risk.
Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments.
When governments are generous it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future.
Crime fiction confirms our belief, despite some evidence to the contrary, that we live in a rational, comprehensible, and moral universe.
There is no point in regretting any part of the past.
The past can't now be altered, the future has yet to be lived, and consciously to experience every moment of the present is the only way to gain at least the illusion of immortality.
I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism .
. . The only way to react is to get up in the morning and start the day by saying four or five vastly politically incorrect things before breakfast!
In youth we take egregious risks because death has no reality for us.
Youth goes caparisoned in immortality. It is only in middle age that we are shadowed by the awareness of the transitoriness of life.
It shows considerable wisdom to know what you want in life and then to direct all your energies towards getting it.
No government can act in advance of the moral will of the people.
Childhood is the one prison from which there's no escape, the one sentence from which there's no appeal. We all serve our time.