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Knopf Death Comes To Pemberley Hardcover – Nov 3 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Knopf (Nov. 3 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307959856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307959850
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,794,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.   It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. 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 Pemberley. 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 it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 10 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By Barbara F on 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 By S. J. J. Freeman on March 3 2012
Format: Hardcover
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 By Carolyn on Jan. 6 2012
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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Format: Hardcover 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. It's `Pride and Prejudice' revisited and expanded with hints of `Emma' and `Persuasion', and an overlay of murder. Elizabeth Bennet has married Fitzwilliam Darcy, and is now the mistress of Pemberley. The couple has two sons - Fitzwilliam (nearly 5) and Charles (just 2)
It is the eve of the annual Lady Anne's ball when the tranquillity of the Darcys is shattered. An unexpected carriage careers up the driveway, containing Elizabeth's sister Lydia (the one who eloped with George Wickham) screaming that her husband is dead. A search party is despatched, and finds George Wickham in the woods, drunk, dishevelled, and bloodstained, beside the body of his friend Captain Denny. It looks a lot like George Wickham has murdered Captain Denny (he even admits that it's his fault). But is it? And what's the truth about the mysterious woman seen prowling around the Pemberley woods?

As the obvious suspect, Wickham is hauled off to gaol. Yet Darcy considers him innocent, despite the fact that he has nothing but contempt for Wickkham. After all, Wickham had tried to seduce Darcy's 15 year old sister to try to get her fortune. Elizabeth has her own uncomfortable recollections: she once found Wickham attractive and had temporarily detested Darcy as a consequence.

I'm happy enough to think the worst of George Wickham, and quite enjoyed the various twists in solving the murder case. I liked the portrait of Pemberley and the relative happiness that Elizabeth has achieved, despite the onerous responsibilities associated with running the Pemberley household and her social obligations.
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By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 15 2012
Format: Hardcover
'The familiar and well-loved landscape looked alien, the river winding like molten silver ' mysterious and eerie, where nothing human could ever live or move.' As P.D. James' scenic description suggests, death has indeed come to Pemberley. James' newest murder-mystery resurrects the characters of "Pride and Prejudice": witty, practical Lizzy, arrogant, caring Darcy and dashing, villainous Wickham. Each displays interests, fears and prejudices while pursuing self-satisfying goals and exhibiting a preoccupation with wealth. The supporting cast of servants also features prominently and garners necessary attention.

When Lydia Wickham arrives at Pemberley, uninvited and screaming that her husband has been murdered, an investigation ensues. But the body turns out to be that of Captain Denny, a friend of the incoherent, grief-stricken and alcohol saturated Wickham. Suffice it to say, numerous suspects appear, false leads come up, a court case follows and the guilty party is finally uncovered.

P.D. James told The Daily Telegraph that she wanted to combine her 'two lifelong enthusiasms, namely for writing detective fiction and for the novels of Jane Austen.' At 91, James certainly displays mastery of her material and writes a competent, historically accurate sequel to a beloved classic. Unfortunately, the middle 50% of the book could be summed up in a single paragraph, not quite making up for the excitement of the first and last two sections.
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