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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Death Comes to Pemberley (edition 2011)

by P.D. James, Rosalyn Landor (Reader)

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3,1202671,806 (3.03)315
Title:Death Comes to Pemberley
Authors:P.D. James
Other authors:Rosalyn Landor (Reader)
Info:Random House Audio (2011), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:historical fiction-take off of Jane Austen

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Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

Recently added byPaul_and_Jane, top10, Sayshell, LauraK623, jenevolves, The_Book_Nook, private library, wimvandorst

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Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
Not bad. I was glad to see the book didn't have the stupid scene from the mini-series of Elizabeth running to the gallows at the very last minutes. We got a better explanation of the story of the sister. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jun 1, 2017 |
Eh. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 2, 2017 |
Really just an excuse to imagine what happened to the Bennet sisters and friends after Pride and Prejudice - a murder mystery because that's what James mostly writes. An enjoyable trifle. A little difficult to read at first - you have to get used to the attempt at early 19th century grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure.
  FKarr | Mar 6, 2017 |
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as I’ve read some disappointing sequels and reimaginings of Pride and Prejudice, but from the start I found myself pleasantly surprised by the tone of characters. James has done an excellent job keeping the narrative voice true to the original and the characters behaved as I think they would have should Austen have decided to pursue this genre. I expected a murder mystery involving the Darcy family would have been a bit hokey, but I was interested in the story and constantly trying to guess who the murderer was.

James sets the scene by revisiting some of the events from the original novel and detailing how Elizabeth and Darcy have children now and how they’ve fared since their marriage. There’s also some speculation from the neighborhood as to why Elizabeth and Darcy married and this felt like a natural follow up to the end of the original. James also has Mary happily married and though she’s really not mentioned beyond that in the book, it was nice to see her settled rather than turned into an even more obnoxious character, as is common in other renditions of Pride and Prejudice. As usual, I can’t stand Lydia or Wickham and James managed to make me dislike the couple even more throughout the events in her book.

Lady Catherine even makes a small appearance and has a fantastic little monologue on life and death which made me chuckle:

“The de Bourghs have never gone in for prolonged dying. People should make up their minds whether to live or to die and do one or the other with the least inconvenience to others.”

There’s even a nod to characters from Persuasion and Emma, implying they run in some of the same social circles as the Darcys.

The mystery turned out to be more complex than I expected and my only real complaint with this book is with the latter portion where all is revealed. A murder trial is held and of course the witnesses are asked to speak and in doing so they repeat a lot of what has already been revealed to the reader. After the trial, even more details are revealed and due to the conversational nature of how everything took place, it turned into a massive infodump. The book really slowed down and was dull for me, despite the interesting details being discussed. I don’t think there was any other way the story could have wrapped up other than everyone talking about what happened, but it was tough to get through.

If you’re an Austen fan and the idea of her characters being involved in a murder trial sounds interesting, I think you should give this book a chance. It didn’t disappoint me and if James has any other Austen-inspired work I’d certainly read it. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Feb 27, 2017 |
For Jane Austen ("Pride and Prejudice") and P .D. James Fans. I'm still waiting for the latest Adam Dalglish installment... This book is not vintage P.D James, but it's still a fine addition to her bibliography. Elizabeth Darcy should have been more full-fleshed that it is in the book. For me it's the only caveat of the book. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 262 (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 (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Danielsson, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Demange, OdileTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eikli, RagnhildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Estrella, JuanjoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grabinger, MichaelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauhanen, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SheilaReadersecondary 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.
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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