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Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) P. D. James

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  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Crime
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 238mm x 32mm | 599g
  • Publication date: 3 November 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0571283578
  • ISBN 13: 9780571283576
  • Sales rank: 1,648

Product description

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth 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's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.

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Author information

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Customer reviews

By S Levy 21 Jul 2012 3

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.

Review quote

#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER"A sparkling curio that will appeal to both Janeites and Jamesites." --"Daily Telegraph"" ""Jane Austen herself would have applauded." --"The Spectator" "A great joint achievement, and a joyous read." --"The Independent"" ""Death Comes to Pemberley is as good as anything P. D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed." --"Sunday Express" "A delight. It reads happily and, as ever in P. D. James's novels, the settings are beautifully and thoroughly imagined, the descriptions and exact. I can't think that it could be better done." --"The Scotsman"" ""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" "Of all the other pens to take up where Austen left off, P. D. James's is head and shoulders above the rest." --"Evening Standard"