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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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Death Comes to Pemberley (edition 2011)

by P.D. James

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2,9532631,945 (3.03)310
Member:nohrt4me2
Title:Death Comes to Pemberley
Authors:P.D. James
Info:Knopf (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

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English (258)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  English (263)
Showing 1-5 of 258 (next | show all)
I've read novels by both Jane Austen and P. D. James, but it has been a while for both. Still, when I saw a Goodreads recommendation for Death Comes to Pemberley, I thought it would be an interesting read. It's a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and it's a murder mystery keeping with P. D. James' genre.

Sometimes when listening to an old Lennon/McCartney song, I find myself guessing whether it was John or Paul who wrote it. I did something similar when reading this book. I know P. D. James wrote the entire novel, but I wondered which sections she wrote with Jane Austen's style in mind and which ones show her own style exclusively. I would guess that the parts where the dispute between George Wickham and Fitzwilliam Darcy was described were Austen and the trial was mostly James. Those two guesses probably come from an oversimplification, but it was fun to think about when reading the novel.

Death Comes to Pemberley had some moments when the action slowed enough to start to lose me, but it came back. Yet, the trial was great and, unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't figure out the mystery until P. D. James let me know. I think it's fun to find out what has happened to the Bennet sisters since we left them and it's always fun to read a good P. D. James novel.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy books set in the early 19th century and like mysteries. Much of Pride and Prejudice is about which young woman will end up with which young man. Although there's a little of that revolving around Georgiana Darcy, it isn't emphasized here. But the mannerisms, the style, and the morality of the time are all in this story.

Steve Lindahl – author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul ( )
  SteveLindahl | Nov 27, 2016 |
I listened to this rather than read it and liked it quite a bit. Not enough Lydia. I wanted some bad behavior. But a clever reworking of the P&P characters, nonetheless. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Hmmm. Probably the best "sequel" to P&P since it's written by PD James, but I think I've learned my lesson: one should not fuck with the real thing. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
Not great literature, and I didn't always think that James did a great job with Austen's characters or voice, but it's clear that she's having a great time and I enjoyed myself as well. I also loved the references to Walter Elliott and Harriet Smith. Worth picking up if you're an Austen fan. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
In this extraordinarily elaborate piece of fan fiction, James imagines a sequel to Pride and Prejudice within the traditions of the detective novel. Complicated, and quite a lot of fun, but the delayed resolution feels artificially postponed fro dramatic effect (event the author seems to have been uncomfortable about it because she goes to some lengths to explain it). ( )
  sjnorquist | Oct 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 258 (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)
 


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? James places a template of Austen characters and Austen-like language over a traditional mystery plot. 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. 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.
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Estrella, JuanjoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauhanen, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SheilaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ragnhild EikliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trond Peter Stamsø MunchNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Here we sit at the beginning of a new century, citizens of the most civilised country in Europe, surrounded by the splendour of its craftsmanship, its art and the books which enshrine its literature, while outside there is another world which wealth and education and privilege can keep from us, a world in which men are as violent and destructive as in the animal world. Perhaps even the most fortunate of us will not be able to ignore it and keep it at bay for ever.
Simon Cartwright’s management of the prosecution was now apparent and Darcy could appreciate its cleverness. The story would be told scene by scene, imposing both coherence and credibility on the narrative and producing in court as it unfolded something of the excited expectancy of a theatre. But what else, thought Darcy, but public entertainment was a trial for murder? The actors clothed for the parts assigned for them to play, the buzz of happy comment and anticipation before the character assigned to the next scene appeared, and then the moment of high drama when the chief actor entered the dock from which no escape was possible before facing the final scene: life or death. This was English law in practice, a law respected throughout Europe, and how else could such a decision be made, in all its terrible finality, with more justice? He had been subpoenaed to be present but, gazing round at the crowded courtroom, the bright colours and waving headdresses of the fashionable and the drabness of the poor, he felt ashamed to be one of them.
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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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