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It is six years after the final scene in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy are living happily ever after in Pemberley with Jane and Charles living happily nearby. Their lives are running smoothly, until the eve of the social event of the season when a carriage approaches Pemerbley at full speed. When it stops, Lydia tumbles out in hysterics claiming her husband, Wickham, has been murdered, plunging the Darcy’s once idyllic life into uncertainty and chaos.
This is an enjoyable read. I liked reacquainting myself with some of my favorite literary characters of all time! You do have to be vaguely familiar with Pride and Prejudice for this mystery (either from watching the movie, mini-series or wikipedia), after that P.D. James does a great job in refreshing your memory about the characters and their histories without ever becoming mired down in the details. She also passes on her keen insights, as an Austen fan herself, into the motivations of the characters, such as who really could have informed Darcy’s aunt about the possibility of a marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth and why.
Then she gets to the murder and the intrigue, which obviously the book is set around, and it fits that Wickham and Lydia would be at the heart of the all the problems, since Lydia and Wickham continued on living the wild and unrestrained life which they showed no interest in altering in Pride and Prejudice.
I am a huge Austen fan and have read a large number of the books based on the cannon. This is one of the few which was written with Austen’s characters which I think did a great job with keeping the feel of the original writing, while adding a new author’s twist on an old classic. The mystery itself is engaging and fast paced, using the legal system during the period to explore and solve it.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Austen or wants a good mystery.--Amber
In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state—shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same.
About the Author
P. D. James is the author of twenty previous books, many of which feature her detective hero Adam Dalgliesh and have been televised or filmed. She is the recipient of many honors, including the Mystery Writers of American Grand Master Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, and in 1991 was created Baroness James of Holland Park.
Praise for Death Comes to Pemberley…
“A magnificent novel. . . . Incomparably perfect.” —USA Today
“A glorious plum pudding of a whodunit.” —NPR, Fresh Air
“The queen of mystery has taken on the queen of literature, [and] the combination sings. . . . [James’] elegance and sly wit are in top form.” —The Plain Dealer
“The greatest pleasure of this novel is its unforced, effortless, effective voice… Not infrequently . . . one succumbs to the impression that it is Austen herself at the keyboard.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[James] is the greatest living writer of British crime fiction, and probably that genre’s most talented practitioner ever.” —The New York Times
“A novel of manners par excellence.” —The Boston Globe
“A major treat for any fan of Jane Austen . . . [and] a solidly entertaining period mystery.” —The Washington Post
“A novel of dark intrigue. . . . [which] Ms. James presents with informed assurance and in fine period detail.” —The Wall Street Journal
“If you appreciate mysteries as well as the Mighty Jane, this pleasant entertainment will do nicely. . . . It is a universe of dark meanings [and] hidden relationships.” —Los Angeles Times
“James rises well above the ever-growing pack of Austen-inspired authors, not only for her intimate familiarity with Austen’s work, but for her faultless replication of time, place and, most notably, Austen’s trademark writing style.” —Newark Star-Ledger
“With well-laid clues, James weaves a credible tale with a satisfying conclusion. . . . She stamps this enticing blend of two authors’ minds with her formidable intelligence and the generosity of spirit that has marked all her work.” —Richmond Times Dispatch
“Dazzling . . . Meticulously plotted . . . In my view Death Comes to Pemberley is as good as anything P.D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed… Long may she continue to delight and surprise us.” —Simon Brett, Sunday Express
“Brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James’s imagination.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“James takes Pride and Prejudice to places it never dreamed of, and does so with a charm that will beguile even the most demanding Janeite.” —London Evening Standard
“The final working-out shows all James’s customary ingenuity. . . . The stylistic pastiche is remarkably accomplished.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A pleasing and agreeable sequel… Historical mystery buffs and Jane Austen fans alike will welcome this homage… Attentive readers will eagerly seek out clues to the delightfully complex mystery, which involves many hidden motives and dark secrets.” —Publishers Weekly
“Satisfying. . . . [James is] an impeccable stylist and a psychological ins-and-outs maven.” —The Huffington Post