british crime fiction
Ruth Rendell and PD James: giants of detective fiction
Rendell and her great friend James, who died last November, brought the genre critical respect, and they not only wrote about the law – they changed it, too
By Mark Lawson

A lovely appreciation of two giants of crime fiction.

For five decades, the two women were the George Eliot and Jane Austen of the homicidal novel: different minds and style but equal talent. They were responsible, in joint enterprise, for saving British detective fiction from the position, after the era of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers, in which its popularity with readers was matched only by its unpopularity with most serious literary critics.