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Knopf Death Comes To Pemberley [Hardcover]

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

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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

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 4 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 6 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 8 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 on Oct. 16 2012 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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