Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

James, P. D.

language: English

Publisher: Vintage

Publishing date: Dec 1, 2011

Words: 91534
Pages: 369


A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel *Pride and Prejudice* into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem. It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball. Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery. Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of *Pride and Prejudice,* electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it. ** ### From Booklist Really, gentle reader, there are limits. When mystery grande dame P. D. James felt the mantle of Jane Austen fall on her shoulders, why didn’t she simply shrug it off? Instead, she has produced a straight-faced mystery—no zombies—in which a murdered body is found on the grounds of Darcy and Elizabeth’s stately home, Pemberley. James places a template of Austen characters and Austen-like language over a traditional mystery plot and even takes on the role of the omniscient Austen narrator herself. The mystery is set in 1803, six years after the wedding of Elizabeth and Darcy, with ample space given to catching us up on the recent doings of the Bennet family. On the mystery side, there’s plenty of action, from the discovery of Captain Denny’s body, through a trial, assorted deceptions and mix-ups, and love affairs. Unfortunately, though, if this is meant as an homage, it’s a pretty weak cup of tea, starting with a greatly diluted version of Austen’s famous “truth universally acknowledged” opening. James’ many fans will be pleased to see any kind of new book from the 91-year-old author, but discriminating Austen devotees are unlikely to appreciate the move from social comedy to murder. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This late addition to Knopf’s winter list will require some last-minute marketing, but it has two very bankable Englishwomen on its side: Austen and James. --Connie Fletcher ### Review **"Dazzling. . . . A book that combines the grace of Jane Austen with the pace of a thriller. . . . As good as anything P. D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed." *Sunday Express*** "The best-loved crime writer and best-known romance in a magic meld. . . . P. D. 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* **"Brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest. . . . An exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of P. D. James's imagination." *The Sunday Times*** "In a stroke of genius, [James] has combined our love of Jane Austen and a good murder story." Daily Mail