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Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P. D. James
In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780307950659
ISBN-10: 0307950654
Publication Date: 1/8/2013
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 56 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

cathyskye avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 2040 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
First Line: It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters.

In her Author's Note, P.D. James apologizes to the shade of Jane Austen who, in her final chapter of Mansfield Park stated, "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery...." Although Austen would have no truck with murder, I had the highest of hopes that this Grandmaster of Mystery would mine one of my all-time favorite books-- Pride and Prejudice-- and strike literary gold.

The book begins well with gossip of how everyone has fared since the end of Austen's classic, and James did provide a surprise or two. She also proved that her writing could sound like her predecessor's. However, the gossip went on too long, and I was beginning to wonder if anything was going to happen.

Finally Lydia arrives at Pemberley in a cloud of dust, the coach rocking wildly, the horses foaming at their bits-- and Lydia screaming and babbling. Captain Denny had the coachman stop in the woods! Denny got out of the carriage! Her dearest Wickham followed! There were shots fired! Her most wonderful Wickham is killed!

It is the eve of the ball at Pemberley. Colonel Fitzwilliam and the Bingleys are spending the night. Elizabeth and Jane gather the witless Lydia and take her into the house. Colonel Fitzwilliam gives orders, and he and Darcy have the coachman take them back into the woods. They find Denny dead and a bloodstained Wickham over the body. Wickham mumbles what could be a confession, but since he's three sheets to the wind, Darcy isn't certain. What he is certain of is that Wickham will be going on trial for his life.

I realize now that I really didn't know what I expected from this book. Whatever it was, I didn't get it. Austen's marvelous characters are curiously lifeless in Death Comes to Pemberley. Darcy, who thought nothing of taking charge in the matter of Lydia's elopement with Wickham, is quite content to be quiet and on the sidelines here. And Elizabeth? She of the sparkling wit and pithy comments? She practically blends into the wallpaper and scarcely says a thing.

After finishing the book, I did feel distinctly cheated, and I worked hard to deduce exactly why I did. I went down a list of "I wish___________." I wish Colonel Fitzwilliam hadn't turned into such a snob. I wish Darcy had shown more backbone and taken a more active part in things. I wish Elizabeth and Jane had done more than play nursemaid to Lydia. Why was everyone so blasted passive?

Then it dawned on me. James had to be true not only to the period of time in which the book takes place but to the class of people the Darcys are. A Darcy doesn't turn sleuth and question everybody and look everywhere for clues. That's what those other classes are for. And why-- outside of preserving reputations and social standings-- would they want to help someone like Wickham anyway... a man who'd already tried to bring disgrace to their families?

In the end, I found that James stayed true to the era, but it was like wearing a heavy, tight pair of handcuffs. Only Jane Austen, a woman of those times, could have succeeded in writing the type of book I'd anticipated-- and she was wise enough not even to try. I give credit to James for her attempt. I merely wish she'd been more successful.
leSahraBird avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Totally predictable. I'm pretty bad at predicting murder mysteries, but because the author repeats the "clues" three to four times, it's hard to miss them. Also, no red herrings. Dry writing avoids all the subtlety of Austin's writing, and sucks out all the character. POV switches from Darcy to Elizabeth, giving all their thoughts and feelings. It seemed more like a historical fiction on trials of the era that happened to borrow the cardboard figures of "Pride & Prejudice" rather than an actual story.
natalexx avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a bit of a slow read, with a somewhat less satisfying payoff than a story written by Austen. Overall, it's a skillfully written sequel to Pride & Prejudice, though Mr. Darcy has perhaps become here TOO perfect (and his perspective seems the most nuanced). This book is not quite a murder mystery and not quite a romance, which makes it difficult to either describe or recommend. I can only suggest that if the concept sounds interesting to you, then yes, go ahead and read it! But I would not, perhaps, put it at the top of your list (particularly in the summer; this one goes much better with a hot cuppa).
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hardtack avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 1956 more book reviews
While admitting I had a good idea who might have committed the murder about half way through the book, I still enjoyed the story.

I just didn't know why that person would have done the deed until it was explained. Then it all make sense due to the mores of the time.
2252steph avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 12 more book reviews
Loved it. Author kept true to Jane Austen.
njmom3 avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 1247 more book reviews
Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/07/death-comes-to-pemberly.html

Death Comes to Pemberley tells of a death - possibly a murder - at Pemberley, the home of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Many of the characters from Pride and Prejudice feature in this book as well as some new ones. Lydia and Wickman, of course, are at the center of the trouble. It is a mystery in the lives of the beloved Jane Austen characters.

I was hesitant to read this book because I love Pride and Prejudice, and often, it's difficult to then read what happens in the "ever after" where a book like that ends. However, a while ago, I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and ended up enjoying the book. That book told the same basic story as the original but went completely off the wall with zombie mayhem galore. So, I decided to give another take-off story a try.

This book tells what I would consider a more real story. It occurs well after the marriages at which Pride and Prejudice ends. The characters are living through day to day life facing issues we all face. The supposed murder throws them into the middle of a mystery. The "reality" of the story to me is what makes it different from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That one was so completely out there as to not draw me into comparisons with the original where as this one does.

I did not really enjoy the book not necessarily because of the book but more likely because I did not enjoy reading about what happens after the "happily ever after." So, I won't say that Death Comes to Pemberley was a bad book. It just wasn't a book for me.
artsncrafts avatar reviewed Death Comes to Pemberley on + 52 more book reviews
If you are a fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice, I think you will enjoy this book, a continuation of a short space of Mr. & Mrs. Darcy's married life. I did enjoy it, very much so. Though written by a modern author in the murder mystery genre, the sensibilities of the style, dialog, etc. feel true to Austen form while adding a modern edge - a bit of humorous subtextual comment on the social strictures of that era - to the story. A fine and fast read, highly recommend.


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