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Death Comes to Pemberley [Hardcover]

P.D. James
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 6 2011
In a marvellous, thrilling re-creation of the world of Pride and Prejudice, P.D. James fuses her lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen with her own great talent for writing crime fiction.

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome, healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth's happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual autumn ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered.

Death Comes to Pemberley is a powerful work of fiction, as rich in its compelling story, in its evocation of place, and its gripping psychological and emotional insight, as the very best of P. D. James. She brings us back masterfully and with delight to much-loved characters, illuminating the happy but threatened marriage of the Darcys with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted mystery.

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Product Description


LONGLIST 2013 – IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

“A sparkling curio that will appeal to both Janeites and Jamesites.”
Daily Telegraph
“Jane Austen herself would have applauded.”
The Spectator
“A great joint achievement, and a joyous read.”
The Independent
Death Comes to Pemberley is as good as anything P. D. James has written and that is very high praise indeed.”
Sunday Express
“A delight. It reads happily and, as ever in P. D. James’s novels, the settings are beautifully and thoroughly imagined, the descriptions and exact. I can’t think that it could be better done.”
The Scotsman
“Brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James’s imagination.”
The Sunday Times
“Of all the other pens to take up where Austen left off, P. D. James’s is head and shoulders above the rest.”
Evening Standard

About the Author

P. D. JAMES was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of the Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council, and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She is an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature (US). She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983, and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors. She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hybrid of a book... Nov. 10 2011
As a longtime "Jane-ite", I have always considered Jane Austen's work to be sacrosanct and not to be touched by other, lesser writers. I've stayed away from modern attempts to bring Austen's characters and stories - particularly those of "Pride and Prejudice" - to life in sequels. No one, I thought, had the literary "chops" to take Austen's characters and write a competent sequel. Then I heard that PD James, a mystery writer I had long admired, had taken a stab at writing a sequel.

The resulting novel - "Death Comes to Pemberly" - is an awkward combination of mystery and comedy-of-manners and doesn't quite come off. The two genres don't quite come together, even in Ms James' deft hands. Maybe it was the choice of centering the story on George Wickham and a murder he is being tried for having committed. Wickham has never been a particularly interesting character in the original novel; he was the center around which events took place, but I never wanted to know more about what happened to him after the novel ended. And, in fact, that raises a particular question in my mind. Who ARE the characters in "P&P" I would want to read about? I can't think of a single one, actually.

Maybe that's because I figured a long time ago that "Pride and Prejudice" was a completed story. There's a reason an author doesn't write sequels; maybe everything that can be said about a cast of character has already been said. That's what Margaret Mitchell always felt about "Gone With The Wind". And Jane Austen certainly didn't return to any of older books when writing new ones. (In this book, James writes a little about the "Eliot" family").

So what about PD James' book? It seemed like an "adequate" mystery and an "adequate" comedy-of-manners.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different for PD James, and it's great! Jan. 23 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
P.D. James has always been one of my favourite authors and her newest book is a delightful change from her regular characters. Her prologue, to review what we know of the Darcy Family, was perfect - enough to remind us of the characters but not too much to be boring. Then she carries on with an excellent who-dunnit that comes up to her past standards. I couldn't put the book down it was so good! And she kept us guessing right to the end! You won't be disappointed with this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it! Sept. 17 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a Jane Austen fan, and a P.D. James fan this was a book that I had great expectations of -- and I got everything I hoped for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read July 1 2012
PD James captures Jane Austin's world and her prose perfectly. While keeping with the favorite characters the new story brings a light, fun touch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P.D. James Alias Jane Austen March 3 2012
Despite having written this book when she was 87 years old, P.D.Jmes hasn't lost a stroke. She can still keep us glued to the story and maintains her highly intelligent, analytical approach. This book is Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" five years later. A number of Austin's characters re-appear and, in the course of a murder and its solution, we even get a few questions answered that perplexed us in the original. To me, the most remarkable achievement of "Death Comes to Pemberley" is the precise rendering of Jane Austin's style and of the social mores of the period. You'll love it; I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen Deja Vue Jan. 6 2012
By Carolyn
Format:Audio CD
_Death Comes to Pemberley is a treat for die-hard Austen fans as it reads like one of her works with just enough suspense to keep the reader interested.In some parts was rather slow reading but that too is an Austen characteristic.I found it good entertainment.I would,however,recommend that a reader have some prior knowledge of the works of Jane Austen in order to fully appreciate P.D.James creation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P.D. James Still Going Strong at 91 Dec 29 2011
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
In "Death Comes to Pemberly," the great P.D. James imagines what happens after the end of Jane Austen's famous novel, "Pride and Prejudice": Elizabeth and Darcy are married, the parents of two young children and the wealthy owners of the Pemberly estate. Elizabeth's sister Jane is married to Bingley and they live not too far away; sister Lydia has married the reprehensible Wickham and they are Not Received at Pemberly due to Wickham's previous behaviour with Darcy's younger sister, Georgiana. All seems settled and quiet, until Lydia appears one night, uninvited, screaming that Wickham has been murdered. Darcy and the other males in the household mount a search and find Wickham very much alive, but his soldier companion, Captain Denny, is quite dead and worse, Wickham (in his cups) keeps stating that "I've killed him" and "it's my fault!" Naturally he is arrested and brought to trial, and Darcy and Elizabeth must try to untangle the complicated situation and find proof of the much-disliked Wickham's innocence.... I hate to confess that I've never read "Pride and Prejudice" (although I've seen films based on it), but I *have* read other novels written in Austen's time and it seems to me that James gets the style perfectly; and her always clever plotting and deep characterizations are up to the mark here too. At 91, this lady is still producing exquisite work; I imagine that those who know Austen's original novel will pick up on nuances that I didn't, but either way, "Death Comes to Pemberly" comes highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
James is an extremely good writer and good at bringing Jane Austen's character to life
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed
I have in paperback all the books written by P.D. James and have loved every one, except this one. It is very well written but the story was just not my "cup of tea".
Published 3 months ago by hezzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Did you ever wonder?
Now I can imagine what happened to Elizabeth and Mr.D'arcy after their wedding. haven't you? It is exciting to read.

Love reading it!
Published 5 months ago by Heidi
1.0 out of 5 stars Death Comes to Pemberley
I find the narrator speaks far to quickly. I love PD James and Jane Austin, so it was so disappointing.
Published 6 months ago by Patricia A. Mcclellan
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Comes to Pemberley
I've read it - I bought it for my sister for her birthday. If it comes from anything I've read from P.D. James - it's excellent.
Published 7 months ago by D. M. Clifton
2.0 out of 5 stars Death comes to Pemberley
My book group didn't think this mystery was up to P.D. James standard. We felt the mystery was weak and poorly developed.
Published 19 months ago by Pauline Drinkwater
5.0 out of 5 stars P D James
This was a much wanted gift for a P D James fanatic. According to her this book has not been a disappointment and worth the wait.
Published 21 months ago by Tyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Really good book. As P.D. James books always are. I enjoyed the characters and was surprised by the killer. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Emma
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming
As a P.D. James fan and a lifelong Austen lover, I had hopes that this would be a fun read. Unfortunately, the 'mystery' hardly qualified as such and the attempt at a sequel showed... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2012 by iWife
2.0 out of 5 stars An unsatisfying mystery and Jane Austen-esque novel
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and the mystery genre. I have been reading Stephanie Barrow's Jane Austen mysteries series for over a decade now and was excited at the prospect of... Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2012 by ses278
3.0 out of 5 stars `It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr... the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters.'

This novel is set in 1803, some years after `Pride and Prejudice' was written, but before publication. Read more
Published on June 20 2012 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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