As I’ve admitted before, I am a sucker for Jane Austen and all of her books, as well as the many many many many many re-tellings of her classics. I am a particular sucker for Pride and Prejudice. Book, movies (I like Firth, but I kinda like Macfadyen a little bit more), and Bridget Jones, I’ll take them all.
When I heard that PD James — the wonderful British writer who has brought us so many excellent classic mysteries, as well as Children of Men — had written a mystery taking place several years after the end of P&P, I couldn’t resist.
Death Comes to Pemberley has all of our favorite characters from P&P (as well as some of the characters we might not have liked so much). Lizzy and Darcy are happy with their children at Pemberley, Jane and Bingley are right down the road with their family, and Mary is happily married to a reverend not far away. And then there are Lydia and Wickham.
The mystery tells the story of a tragic murder that occurs on the grounds of Pemberley, a night before Darcy and Elizabeth are to host a lavish ball. The Darcys, the Bingleys, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and young Georgiana’s new suitor, Mr. Alveston, are all at the house when Lydia shows up screaming that there has been a murder out in the woods and that they must save her Wickham.
The book slowly unfolds the mystery, answering the usual questions: who is dead, how were they killed, who was the murderer, and why?
And while I enjoyed the book and was somewhat surprised when the killer was revealed and what his motives were, I found that I really didn’t care all that much. Sadly, I just wasn’t really excited about the book as a whole, and was a bit disappointed.
One thing I didn’t care for were the shout-outs to Persuasion and Emma. I really could have done without those.
If you love P&P and all things Austen, by all means, read this. If Austen isn’t really your thing, I would probably skip it.