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PD James

The Skull Beneath the Skin

Faber 1982
Jacket design Pentagram

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PD James

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Simon Lessing stood at the open window of his study at Melhurst and gazed out over the wide lawns to where the river cut its slow stream between the horsechestnuts and the limes. In his hand he held Clarissa's still unopened letter. It had arrived by the morning post, but there had been an excuse for not opening it then. He had had an early practice period. And that had been followed by the sixth-form seminar. He had told himself that he would wait until break. But the morning had passed and now it was the lunch-hour. In less than five minutes the bell would sound. He couldn't delay indefinitely. It was ridiculous and humiliating to be so afraid, to stand like a first-former holding a dreaded school report, knowing that, however long and cunningly deferred, the moment of truth must come at last. He would wait until the bell actually sounded, and then he would read it, quickly, uncaring and with his mind on luncheon.

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