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Pondering two great writers

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webmaster | 02/13/13

Phyllis Dorothy James, aka Baroness James of Holland Park, aka P.D. James, the crime writer, is 92, and was still turning out exquisitely crafted novels in 2011, when she wrote “Death Comes to Pemberley,” which I bought a couple of weeks ago and am looking forward to reading once I finish the novel I’m reading now.

I also have the first book in her series about detective and poet Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard. It’s called “Cover Her Face,” and it introduces not only Dalgliesh but also P.D. James as arguably one of the best and most appreciated novelists in the English language ... or perhaps any language, since her works are so widely translated. Those of us who are her fans would hope that another great P.D. James novel soon will be in print.

I also would hope another great writer, who announced his retirement this week from his demanding day job, will continue to turn out the eloquent and masterly works of theological commentary for which he has become famous.

I am talking, of course, about Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked many in the world this week by announcing he will retire at the end of this month at age 85. He will be the first pope to have stepped down in 600 years.

Before he was elevated to the papacy in 2005, he was widely known as a brilliant theologian and gifted writer, as much among non-Catholics as among Catholics.

Although I don’t happen to be Catholic, I find the works of his that I have read to be incisive, inspirational and a pleasure to read. His publisher, Ignatius Press, is headquartered in San Francisco, so one living in this part of California feels a connection with him.

Let’s hope that like Baroness James he has more books to give us for our pleasure and edification. After all, he’s only 85.


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