From P.D. James, the creator of beloved Detective Adam Dalgliesh, comes Cordelia Gray (Helen Baxendale, Friends), a young, aspiring private detective learning the ropes from her mentor, disgraced ex-policeman Bernie Pryde. But when Prydeís sudden suicide leaves Cordelia the sole proprietor of his ramshackle agency, she is forced to continue her education on the job. With only Mrs. Sparshott, the agencyís longtime secretary and Cordeliaís new assistant, on her team, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman thrusts Cordelia headfirst into unfamiliar waters. Includes all four mysteries from both seasons, with Mystery! introductions by host Dame Diana Rigg.The Sacrifice: A prominent scientist hires Cordelia to investigate why his son suddenly gave up a life of privilege for one of passion, only to kill himself weeks later.A Last Embrace: A jilted wife needs a female detective to lure her philandering husband and reveal his misdeeds, but Cordelia finds herself trapped when she begins to fall in love.Living on Risk: Cordelia accepts what she thinks is a routine surveillance job, only to discover she may have been hired to help commit a crime, not prevent to one.Playing God: Superintendent Fergussen hires Cordelia to investigate his daughterís boyfriend, but is the evidence Cordelia turns over really all that the Superintendent was after?
P.D. James' plucky detective heroine Cordelia Gray should be careful what she wishes for. At the beginning of the fabulous British series An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
, Gray is a young assistant to a longtime private detective, hoping to learn the ropes as an investigator. But getting her wish plunges her, ready or not, into the murky worlds of passion, philandering, surveillance, and murder. Gray's career is truly one learned--and earned--by fire. Helen Baxendale (snippy Emily from Friends
) plays Cordelia with nuance and pluck--she's what Helen Mirren's Jane Tennison (Prime Suspect
) might have been as a very young, idealistic, wet-behind-the-ears novice. Cordelia suddenly inherits a detective firm when her mentor commits suicide, so she's thrust into investigation with little besides her own wit, and the help of her flinty assistant, Mrs. Sparshott (Annette Crosbie). "We may not look the part," deadpans Mrs. Sparshott, "but appearances can be deceiving."
Can they ever. In this four-episode boxed set, Cordelia, assisted by Mrs. Sparshott, takes on what seem like matter-of-fact investigations, only to realize that the crimes lurking below the surface are ever more serious, and deadly. Each episode is based on a different James book and include Sacrifice, A Last Embrace, Living on Risk, and Playing God. Cordelia's character grows professionally and personally over the course of the episodes, including falling in love and expecting a child. But through it all, Baxendale's performance sparkles, and mystery fans will be glad Cordelia never listened to the advice that investigating might be "unsuitable." Not bloody likely. --A.T. Hurley