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Death comes to Pemberley by Phyllis Dorothy…

Death comes to Pemberley (edition 2011)

by Phyllis Dorothy James

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2,4782312,470 (3.04)288
Title:Death comes to Pemberley
Authors:Phyllis Dorothy James (Author)
Info:London Faber and Faber 2011
Collections:Bücher, Read but unowned
Tags:Gelesen 2012

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Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James


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Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
A good attempt at pastiche, but I'm afraid this one fell a bit flat for me. While I liked the allusions to Austen's novels (and not just Pride & Prejudice but the others too), the mystery plot just wasn't very interesting, and its consequences were somewhat silly. Most of the characters, including Elizabeth and Darcy, just seemed one-dimensional and without any of the energy that they had in Austen's original, which is a great shame.

Entirely skippable, I think. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 28, 2015 |
Enjoyed this book immensely. First of P.D. James that I have ever read (unthinkable to many I'm sure). The tone of the book was instantly familiar and very much in keeping with the tone of Pride and Prejudice. I would recommend this to anyone that is a fan of that book and to the mysteries that this author is so wonderful at writing. ( )
  jMitty | Mar 25, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this! Pride & Prejudice is not only my favorite Jane Austen novel but one of my all time favorite books!Going back to the characters was like going to see old friends I hadn't seen in years. ( )
  michele.juza | Feb 25, 2015 |
I've never read P. D. James, although I know her excellent reputation as a mystery writer. I also avoided the tidal wave of books based in Austen's world, not out of a sense of snobbery about spin off fiction (I've read tons of Star Wars and Star Trek spin offs), but because of my deep affection for Austen. I couldn't see anyone writing in her world with the same sense or sensibility. After the wave crested and many people had read many of the books, I chose two that most folks seemed to think stood out from the crowd...and they sat on my TBR shelf for months. Then Masterpiece Theater showed the BBC adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley and I had to read the book before I watched the show.

I had a mixed reaction. I truly enjoyed James'imitative voice and her clever inclusion of characters from Austen's other books in this world through gossip and back story. I particularly liked her sly pokes at the original material by pointing out some of the inconsistencies in emotional through lines (why did Charlotte marry the odious Mr. Collins?) and filling in the gaps with explanations. However, I found the central story or supposed mystery boring. I guessed a couple of the main plot points early on and read primarily to confirm my predictions.

From a craft point of view, I found the characters rather shallow. No amount of telling me how horrific the murder was convinced me that any of the major characters had more than a surface reaction. The endless repetition of the "facts" by various people for an initial police inquiry, then a coroner's inquest, and finally a trial (not to mention the various conversations between characters), was just plain annoying. So I read the first two-thirds with appreciation for the style, but bored by the story, and raced through the final third as various characters told us the missing pieces--which turned out to be deliciously twisty. Too bad some of the that fun couldn't have been included in the earlier bits. The last third rescued the book from an "OK" rating. ( )
  MarysGirl | Feb 8, 2015 |
It's a bold writer who takes on the characters and settings of Jane Austen. And even bolder, I think, to switch genre to Mystery.

So perhaps this was always going to be an uphill task for PD James. With that in mind, I enjoyed her writing voice (definite moments of Austen-like wit) and the insights into the justice system and forensic capabilities of the time were extremely interesting. (I will simply assume the author did her research and got those parts right.) And I suppose the eventual explanation of the death was satisfying enough, if not overly-brilliant... Full marks also for the clever mentions of characters from other novels – I spotted familiar names from Persuasion and Emma but there may have been more. I also enjoyed the introduction, which was a skilled synopsis of Pride and Prejudice.

But alas, that's where my appreciation for the book started to go downhill. The narrative-heavy style of the intro, where much was explained and described but nothing was acted out, continued throughout. Although I listened to the audio version, I could imagine that on the printed page, this would be an extremely dense, text-heavy experience. I also disliked the pace (surely Jane Austen's novels aren't really this slow?), with almost every moment after the initial discovery of the body accounted for - again, mostly in descriptive prose, not dialog. And very few of these painstakingly described events were actually relevant to the overall plot.

Next up, who was the protagonist? Was it Darcy? It certainly wasn't Elizabeth, whose fans will be appalled at her being relegated to a supporting role, where she doesn't actually get to do much of interest at all. And I’m not sure the protagonist was even Darcy, since he was arguably not the one most changed by the events in the book. In fact, I was disappointed that the plot seemed so passive: things simply unfolded, happened or were revealed, without the main characters doing much, puzzling much or uncovering much. This was a missed opportunity for Elizabeth to exercise her brain cells and for some more rewarding interactions between her and her husband. On that note, the scenes between Mr. & Mrs. D were so minimal as to become almost irrelevant, and as such were a huge disappointment.

If you love historical mysteries, don’t mind mostly “telling” not “showing”, don’t expect your main characters to have any real role in the unfolding action except as observers, and have never read Pride & Prejudice, you might enjoy this book. Otherwise, I doubt you’ll find this a fulfilling experience.
( )
  paulinewiles | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
. . . an excellent period mystery, replete with all manner of mayhem, and a most welcome way to revisit Elizabeth and Darcy. . .
added by 4leschats | editBookPage, Sukey Howard (Apr 1, 2012)

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estrella, JuanjoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauhanen, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SheilaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ragnhild EikliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trond Peter Stamsø MunchNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Joyce McLennan
Friend and personal assistant who has typed my novels for thirty-five years
With affection and gratitude
First words
It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr and Mrs Bennett of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters.
Author's note: 
I owe an apology to the shade of Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation, especially as in the final chapter of Mansfield Park Miss Austen made her views quite plain: 'Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.' No doubt she would have replied to my apology by saying that, had she wished to dwell on such odious subjects, she would have written this story herself, and done it better.
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Originally published: London : Faber and Faber, 2011.
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Book description
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy's magnificent state. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. 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 Pemberly. 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 with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.

[from the back cover]
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Pemberley is thrown into chaos after Elizabeth Bennett's disgraced sister Lydia arrives and announces that her husband Wickham has been murdered.

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