- Publisher: Faber & Faber Crime
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 154mm x 228mm x 28mm | 422g
- Publication date: 1 March 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0571283608
- ISBN 13: 9780571283606
- Sales rank: 29,636
The world is classic Jane Austen. The mystery is vintage P.D. James. The year is 1803, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth Bennet's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. Two great literary minds - master of suspense P.D. James and literary icon Jane Austen - come together in Death Comes to Pemberley, a bestselling historical crime fiction tribute to Pride and Prejudice. Conjuring the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mark Darcy and combining the trappings of Regency British society with a classic murder mystery, P.D. James creates a delightful mash-up that will intrigue any Janeite. From the bestselling author of The Murder Room, Children of Men and A Certain Justice, comes a wonderful mixture of the nation's greatest romance and best-loved crime fiction. In 2013, this novel was adapted as a miniseries by the BBC, starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Jenna Coleman as Lydia Wickham.
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P. D. James was a bestselling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray, and their long and successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011). James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors, and stood down from this role in 2013.
By S Levy 17 Aug 2012
This is a fairly one-dimensional book with a simple linear plot. A man is killed near Pemberley and the obvious suspect is tried and convicted.
I was disappointed in the book because I expected it to contain some of Austen's wit and sparkle, though admittedly it is difficult for a family under such severe stress to be at all witty and sparkling.
I found James' long descriptive passages very ponderous; rich in detail to the point of excess. She examines everyone's thoughts, feelings and motives in intricate detail rather than letting them speak for themselves.
Furthermore, halfway through the book James throws in a clue so obvious that the reader sits and reads on, waiting for the matter to come to light. I won't spoil the plot by elaborating on this point.
Having said that, the ending is clever. James has drawn on Austen's work in unexpected ways and drawn obvious conclusions that Austen never considered.
So do I recommend the book to Jane Austen adherents? Probably not. They are likely to be rather disappointed, as I was.